September 27, 2019

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. But the right to vote and participate in our democracy is currently denied to thousands of people in Maryland, those who who are incarcerated. Dating back to the racist Jim Crow era state felony disfranchisement laws were created to prevent Americans with felonies from voting. After the Civil War, there was a concerted effort to incarcerate thousands of newly freed slaves and these laws weakened the political power of Black people. Although the laws have changed so that people who are formerly incarcerated and are not currently serving a felony conviction can register and vote in elections, there is still confusion about these laws, which has also resulted in countless other Marylanders from voting.  

In this episode listen to Lupé Hawkins of Just Us and Yanet Amanuel, public policy advocate of the ACLU of Maryland, discuss some of the threats to our voting rights, explain why we need to improve ballot access for people behind bars, and talk about what you can do to get involved in turning the idea of universal suffrage into reality.

Produced and Hosted by: Amber Taylor, digital communications strategist, ACLU of Maryland

This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

Thinking Freely, ACLU of Maryland's podcast, will inform Marylanders about what's happening politically – from the courts to the streets – so they can get involved and realize a more equitable Maryland for all. 


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