100 signatures reached
To: Minnesota Legislature
Restore Voting Rights in Minnesota
Dear Minnesota Lawmakers,
51,000 Minnesota citizens are living in the community, working, paying taxes yet denied the right to vote due to a felony conviction on their record. We are asking that you change Minnesota policy so that as soon as a person is released from physical custody (prison or jail) they are eligible to vote. Currently people are not able to vote until they have finished any probation, parole or conditional release they may have. This means that people could be living in the community for 5, 10 or even 20 years trying to re-integrate into society but still unable to vote.
We need to remove barriers to offenders re-integrating themselves into the community and living productive, crime-free lives. Voting is an indicator of one’s stake in the community. Public safety organizations like the Minnesota County Attorneys Association support this. They ensure people are held accountable, but once released from custody they want people to be positively engaging in their community.
Why is this important?
This policy unnecessarily limits positive behavior and inclusion, which makes our communities less safe. Minnesota statutes should be changed so that, like in many other states, once someone is no longer incarcerated, they are eligible to vote.
African Americans are 7 times more likely than whites to be disenfranchised.
Native Americans are 6 times more likely than whites to be disenfranchised.
A broad cross-section of faith groups, valuing compassion and forgiveness, believe that our criminal justice system should be about not only about punishment, but also about justice. Once offenders have been released, they should be restored fully to family and community, therefore able to be positive examples for their children.