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Felon voting law goes into effect

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Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 20:04:38-05

In Maryland, tens of thousands of felon voters argued they are paying taxes, but have no voice in who represents them.

It was just weeks ago the legislature overrode one of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes from last year's legislative session.

RELATED: MD General Assembly votes to override veto on felons voting bill

Thursday was the first day felons on parole and probation officially became eligible to vote in the state. It's a change that means as many as 40,000 in the state and 2,000 in Baltimore City, can now register to vote.

Advocacy group Communities United led the charge to see the law passed, and Thursday was the first day of their registration drive.

"We deserve our slice of the pie. We've been paying for it for years. We've been paying into a government that we have no voice in. Twenty-thousand people into the electorate -- they're going to address our concerns," said Perry Hopkins, a representative of the group who is also an ex-felon.

Though it's now law, opponents have said they believe those on parole and probation should finish their sentences before they're allowed the right to vote.

Maryland primary election for Democrats and Republicans is April 26. The final deadline to register is April 5.