*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Rand Paul

to Host Bipartisan Briefing on Voting Rights Restoration

On TUESDAY, July 22nd, 2014 at 2:30 p.m , U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will host a discussion on solutions to end the disenfranchisement of individuals with past criminal convictions.  Senator Cardin has introduced S. 2235, the Democracy Restoration Act, which would restore Federal voting rights to all individuals when released from incarceration.  Senator Paul has introduced S. 2550, the Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act, which would restore Federal voting rights of non-violent persons under certain conditions.

The right to vote is the most basic right of citizenship.  Regaining the right to vote reintegrates individuals with criminal convictions into free society, helping to enhance public safety and encourage rehabilitation.  The lack of a uniform standard for voting in Federal elections leads to an unfair disparity and unequal participation in Federal elections, and state disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities.  The United States is one of the few Western democracies that permits the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with felony convictions.

WHAT:          Panel Discussion on the Need to Restore Federal Voting Rights to Returning Citizens

WHO:            Opening Remarks by Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Rand Paul

                        Moderated By: Nicole Austin-Hillery, Director & Counsel,

                        Washington, DC office, Brennan Center for Justice

Panelists:

Deborah J. Vagins, Senior Legislative Counsel, Washington Legislative Office, American Civil Liberties Union

Mr. Desmond Meade, President, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and State Director, Lifelines to Healing – PICO Florida

Rev. Dr. H. David SchuringaMinister, Christian Reformed Church; President, Crossroad Bible Institute

                       Mr. Bernard Kerik,  Former New York City Police Commissioner

Mr. Carl WicklundExecutive Director, American Probation and Parole  Association

WHEN:          TUESDAY, July 22nd, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

WHERE:        562 Dirksen Senate Office Building