Help Restore the Vote to more than 52,000 Minnesotans
This bill restores the vote to 52,000 Minnesotans (who’ve been convicted of a felony) either upon their release from prison, or when they’re on probation, living in the community, working, paying taxes, etc. It also requires notifying people when their right to vote has been restored. Many groups support this bill - law enforcement, correctional officers, attorneys, civil rights groups. It had 35 sponsors in the House. WMM supports it as well, and we are working as part of the Restore the Vote Coalition .
The House version of this bill passed through many committees and is now part of the House Election and Campaign Finance Omnibus Bill (HF1603). However, the Senate version (SF856), introduced by Senator Bobby Champion, has not been granted a hearing. In fact, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, Senator Warren Limmer, says he will not give this bill a hearing.
So, what can you do?
Volunteer a few hours at a weekly phone bank connecting constituents with their legislators. You can do this on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Take Action Minnesota. Sign up here
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Tell your legislators why they should support this bill. Not sure who your representative and senator are? Find out
More info on the problems this bill addresses:
Of the 52,000 Minnesotans this bill will affect, 64% are from Greater Minnesota. 35,000 are white, 12,000 are Black, 3,000 are Latinx and 3,000 are Native Americans. 11,000 are women.
In Minnesota, African Americans are seven times more likely to be denied the vote than white Minnesotans.
Although Minnesota has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the nation, Minnesota probation and supervision rates are among the highest and longest. Some people are on probation for 10, 15, 20, even 40 years. That means they are working and paying taxes but unable to vote.
We believe that once the criminal justice system has determined that a person should be allowed to live in our community, there is no good reason to deny them a voice in our democracy. Civic engagement should be encouraged, not prosecuted.