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Voting rights for ex-felons take step forward in Senate

ANNAPOLIS — A bill is moving forward in the General Assembly that would restore an ex-felon’s voting rights while he is on parole or probation.

Senators debated the bill for an hour on Thursday, weighing the appropriate time for the restoration of someone’s voting rights.

Current law states that someone in Maryland convicted of a felony is unable to register to vote for the length of their punishment, including prison time, probation and parole.

The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City, would make a person eligible to register as soon as they leave prison.

Opponents said what needs to be addressed are the administrative gaps that leave the state’s board of elections without updated criminal records and ex-felons in the dark on their voter eligibility.