Restore the Vote (HF40/SF856) - Support this bill in the MN House and help get it a hearing in the Senate

HF40/SF856 is a bill to restore the vote to 52,000 Minnesotans (11,000 women) (who’ve been convicted of a felony) either upon their release from prison, or when they’re on probation, living in the community. It also requires notifying people when their right to vote has been restored. Many groups are supporting this bill - law enforcement, correctional offices, attorneys, civil rights groups, and it has 35 sponsors in the House.

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Here’s how you can show your support too!

Mar 6th: Attend the next hearing of this bill by the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division at 12.45 p.m., Rm 120, State Capitol Building. For more on the event, see https://www.facebook.com/events/610243306089750/.

Whether you can make the hearing or not, please contact your Representative and urge them to support this bill, particularly if they are on this committee.

This document has more information on this bill and the issues behind it (PDF).

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Mar 7th: Attend the Restore the Vote Press Conference, 9-10 a.m., Press Conference Rm B971, State Capitol Bldg, hosted by chief authors Sen. Bobby Joe Champion and Rep. Ray Dehn, and the Restore the Vote Minnesota Coalition - on the 54th anniversary of the March on Selma for voting rights across the nation. Come and support your public officials and organizational leaders. For more details, see https://www.facebook.com/events/2195680670693330/.

Mar 9th: Attend the Ed Owens People’s Movement Assembly at Metropolitan State where Anika Bowie of Restore the Vote Coalition will be speaking. Look out for more calls-to-action on this bill as the RTV Coalition works to get a hearing for it in the Minnesota Senate.

Things to mention when talking to others about this bill:

  • This bill will impact 52,000 Minnesotans, 64% are from Greater Minnesota. 35K are white, 12K are Black, 3K are Latinx and 3K are Native Americans. In Minnesota, African Americans are 7 times more likely to be disenfranchised than white Minnesotans.

  • Although Minnesota has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the US, Minnesota probation and supervision rates are among the highest (and longest). Some people are on probation of 10, 15, 20, even 40 years. That means they are working and paying taxes but unable to vote.

  • Once the criminal justice system has determined that a person should be allowed to live in our community, there is no good reason they should not be allowed to have a voice in our democracy. Civic engagement should be encouraged, not prosecuted.