- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

ANNAPOLIS | Delegate Craig Zucker was sworn into the Maryland Senate Thursday morning, filling a vacant seat one day before a critical vote to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of an ex-felon voting rights bill.

Mr. Zucker, Montgomery County Democrat, filled the seat of former Sen. Karen Montgomery, who retired in December.

Senate Democrats have been scrambling to fill the seat before the scheduled override vote on Friday. The Senate is one vote short to override the veto and thereby allow felons to vote as soon as they leave jail, even if they are on probation or parole.

The House of Delegates already voted to override the veto two weeks ago, and Mr. Zucker, who was then a member of the House, voted for the override.

He reaffirmed his commitment to override the veto after his swearing-in ceremony Thursday morning.

“I think it’s important for us to make sure that voters aren’t disenfranchised, and I think you’ve got people that are on track to do the right thing and this gives them the opportunity,” he said.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Calvert County Democrat, said he is confident that, with Mr. Zucker’s appointment, the override vote will succeed, calling it “the right thing to do.”

Mr. Zucker’s casting a vote in both chambers should not present a problem, Mr. Miller said.

“We have an opinion from the attorney general that it’s constitutional,” he said. “Each year is something different. The people are entitled to have everybody vote on an issue.”

After Ms. Montgomery’s retirement, the Montgomery County Central Committee sent a nominee to the governor, who had 15 days to approve it and send the name to the Senate for approval. Mr. Hogan waited about a week and a half before sending the name down to Mr. Miller on Wednesday.

Mr. Miller said despite the delay, he was “grateful” to be able to swear someone in before the vote.

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