Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

From today’s CBS News:

The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday over a challenge to the state’s restoration of voting rights for felons.

The law passed last year restored the voting rights of 55,000 Minnesotans on probation, supervision and work release. Before the change, they had to complete their probation before they could regain their eligibility to vote.

An Anoka County judge overruled a challenge to that law filed by the Minnesota Voters Alliance. The alliance argued that the law violates a clause in the state constitution that says felons cannot vote “unless restored to civil rights.” The group argued that the language means all their civil rights, not just some. Anoka County Judge Thomas Lehmann ruled that the alliance lacked the legal standing to sue and failed to prove that the Legislature overstepped its authority when it voted to expand voting rights for the formerly incarcerated.   

The group’s appeal of that decision will now be heard by the state’s Supreme Courts. Advocates for the change argued that disenfranchising felons disproportionately affects people of color because of biases in the legal system. 

Twenty-two other states have laws similar to Minnesota’s in which felons automatically have their right to vote automatically restored upon release.

ACLU members and advocates say their fight isn’t over. “We are here asking the court to protect the fundamental right to vote,” ACLU attorney David McKinney said.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals in November rejected a different attempt to void the law along similar grounds, ruling that a lower court judge overstepped his authority when he declared the law unconstitutional.  

Read the complete story here.

By Editor