Giving the formerly incarcerated a stake in democracy

SEF Chairman Ben Jealous joins with former Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly, a Republican, to argue that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan should expand the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals:

Giving former offenders a stake in democracy
The Baltimore Sun

With a bill to restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals on his desk awaiting a signature, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a chance to do the right thing — and to follow in the footsteps of another Republican governor from a neighboring state.

Last week the Maryland legislature passed a bill that would grant most formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote after their release from prison. Under current law, everyone who has been to prison must wait until they have completed the final terms of their sentences, including probation and parole, to vote. The new law would make it easier for roughly 40,000 people to exercise their democratic rights.

As a Republican, Governor Hogan has a chance to demonstrate bipartisanship by signing a civil rights bill passed by a Democrat-led legislature. If he does sign it, he will be following in the footsteps of another leader from his own party who made this one of his signature issues: former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.

Read the full op-ed at The Baltimore Sun.