Rep. Cedrick Frazier testifies in favor of the "Restore the Vote" bill (Youtube/MNHouseInfo)
A bill that would allow felons to vote after serving their time passed its first committee in the Minnesota Legislature Tuesday.
The “Restore the Vote” bill would allow felons released from prison and on probation to vote. It is expected that the bill would return the ability to vote to 50,000 Minnesotans.
“These are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and our neighbors who live in our communities working to provide for their families, paying their taxes and contributing to our state,” said Representative Cedrick Frazier (DFL). “Yet because of a conviction from their past, these individuals are still denied the fundamental right to vote.”
Frazier and 33 other DFLers co-sponsored the bill, and it passed the House Elections Finance and Policy Committee in a split voice vote, with all 7 DFL members voting yay, and all 6 GOP members voting nay.
The ACLU has been pushing for legislation of this kind to be passed since 2019, suing and appealing the state to restore the rights of felons who served time in prison and were released on probation.
In an interview in 2021, Civil Law Attorney Jeff Storms spoke on how the ACLU’s efforts came from a failure of the legislature to pass a bill to restore the voting rights of felons on probation, in part due to republicans maintaining control of one branch of the legislature.
With the DFL in control of the House, Senate and the Governor’s seat, HF28 is now on its way to the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.