ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Senate has voted in favor of a bill restoring voting rights to ex-felons immediately after their release from prison.

The vote for the bill was 29-18. It was spearheaded by Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City.

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Under current election law, someone convicted of a felony in Maryland cannot register to vote until they have completed their punishment– which includes prison time, probation and parole.

Conway’s bill would make it legal for someone to register as soon as they have been released from prison.

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Opponents of the proposed change said while they support restoring rights to ex-criminals, what lawmakers should be addressing is the disconnect between the state’s Board of Elections and criminal records databases.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

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