- Calif. tourist community evacuated over suspected explosive device
- Obama to use executive seat to push private companies onto solar
- ‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of sexually abusing a boy
- Tennessee ammunition site explodes, killing 1
- U.N.: Iran cuts stock closest to nuke-arms grade
- Oklahoma gay-marriage case before U.S. appeals court
- Times wins two awards from Society for Professional Journalists
- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
Democrats eye voting-rights extension for former felons
ANNAPOLIS — Democratic lawmakers and church leaders yesterday called for more voting rights for ex-felons in Maryland.
“We’ve got to do everything we possibly can to ensure that these men and women are given every opportunity to be fully and positively reintegrated into our communities,” said Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was joined at the state Capitol by about 400 other religious leaders, including many from black churches.
Maryland law now requires former felons who have been convicted twice to wait three years before they can vote again. Felons serving sentences are not allowed to vote.
Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt and Delegate Justin D. Ross, Prince George’s County Democrats, have proposed barring from voting only felons serving sentences.
Similar proposals have failed in previous General Assembly sessions.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, had breakfast with church leaders yesterday morning. However, administration spokesman Steve Kearney said Mr. O’Malley was noncommittal about the proposal.
“We’ll be reviewing those bills,” he said.
Supporters of the idea referred to the civil rights movement and Black History Month when talking about the more than 85,000 blacks in the state who are barred from voting.
“It’s all about just keeping them wallowing in the mud,” said Sen. Verna L. Jones, a Baltimore Democrat.
Republican lawmakers do not support allowing violent offenders to vote.
“Repeat offenders, who are rapists and murderers and violent offenders, have demonstrated they can’t govern themselves,” said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, Southern Maryland Republican. “Why would [we] let these violent offenders get involved in the self-governance of our democracy?”
It is uncertain whether the proposals will pass.
Sen. Ulysses Currie, Prince George’s Democrat, said party members will have to reach across the aisle to garner support.
“We’re going to have to work with the Republican Party,” he said.
According to the Sentencing Project, one of the advocacy groups supporting the proposals, three states deny voting rights to all ex-offenders, while 48 states prohibit inmates from voting while serving a sentence.
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- DEAN: Team Obama: President Putin's pawns
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.