Restore the vote to people on felony probation who are living in their communities.
When formerly incarcerated people have access to the ballot box, they report a greater sense of investment in their neighborhoods. And when formerly incarcerated people vote, research shows they’re less likely to be arrested for a subsequent crime.
Right now, people on probation for felony offenses are barred from voting in Minnesota, even though they’ve served their sentences and are living in their communities. This isn’t a small problem. In fact, it’s growing: Since 1974, the number of voting-age Minnesotans disenfranchised as a result of a criminal conviction has increased over 400%.
Today, 57,000 people living in our state are having their voices silenced because of past mistakes they’ve already paid for. Even worse, the disenfranchisement of people on felony probation falls heavily on Black, brown, and Indigenous people, creating Jim Crow-like conditions in our state in which 1 in 8 Black men is barred from voting.
Removing a person’s right to vote should never be a punishment, especially for people who have served their time and are living in their communities. People on felony probation raise their families in their communities, work and invest in their communities, and pay taxes to support their communities – all while living under laws in which they have no input, written by lawmakers they have no role in electing.
Taxation without representation is famously unacceptable in the American tradition. And it is no more acceptable (or constitutional) for people on felony probation than it is for anyone else.
Voting is a cornerstone of participation in our nation, our state, and our local communities. Removing that right from people on felony probation is not how we build safe and healthy communities. We support legislation to restore the vote.
Esther Agbaje (D); Hodan Hassan (D); Samantha Vang (D); Steve Elkins (D); Ginny Klevorn (D); Kristin Bahner (D); Sandra Feist (D); Emma Greenman (D); Zack Stephenson (D); Mohamud Noor (D); Jessica Hanson (D); Kaohly Vang Her (D); Cheryl Youakim (D); Jamie Becker-Finn (D); Heather Edelson (D); Kelly Moller (D); Michael Howard (D) Robert Bierman (D); Sydney Jordan (D); Frank Hornstein (D); Mike Freiberg (D); Aisha Gomez (D); Athena Hollins (D); Melissa Hortman (D); Josiah Hill (D); Samakab Hussein (D); Leigh Finke (D); Jeff Brand (D); Andy Smith (D); Kristi Pursell (D); Brad Tabke (D)