Can a Felon Vote in Maryland?

Maryland is bordered by Delaware, West Virginia, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is also called as “Free State”, “Old Line State”. “Little America” and “America in Miniature”. Its capital is Annapolis but its largest city is Baltimore.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has over 12,000 employees in-charge of 27 correctional institutions. It has six (6) departments which include the Division of Correction, Division of Capital Construction and Facilities Maintenance, Division of Parole and Probation, Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, Police and Correctional Training Commissions and Emergency Number Systems Board.

Former felons in Maryland were not allowed to vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Due to petitions and rallies of those concerned, former felons are now allowed to vote after serving their sentence or upon final discharge. It can be seen in this situation that felon disenfranchisement is a real problem. The court of Maryland in such case sided with the former felons and allowed them to vote.

Can felons vote in Maryland?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, those who have served their sentence or have been finally discharged may exercise their right to vote.

However, those currently incarcerated cannot exercise their right of suffrage. Also those on parole and probation also cannot vote. It is one of the 22 states in America that allows former felons to vote.

Because of this prohibition on felon voting rights, one out of thirteen people in United States are permanently disenfranchised. America has the one of the most disenfranchised individuals in the world.

Pro-felon voting rights advocates assert that felon disenfranchisement is contrary to the main goal of the correctional system and that is to reintegrate the felons into the society.

How can felons restore voting rights in Maryland?

As of March 10, 2016, felons upon completion of their service sentence or final discharge may exercise the right to vote again. However, those who have been convicted of election law violations cannot have their voting rights restored. But there is still a need to re-register before being able to vote again.

Voting registration can be done online or sent via mail. Those who wish to send their application via mail can do the following steps:

  1. Download the Voter Registration Application at the Maryland State Board of Elections website
  2. The application must be fully completed and signed.
  3. The application must be mailed to the State Board of Elections or to the Board of Elections of the county.

Meanwhile, those who wish to do their application online needs a valid Maryland-issued identification card.

Sources

http://www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/application.html

http://www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/restoration.html

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