Minnesota To Restore Voting Rights to Over 50,000 People
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, March 3, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed House File 28, a bill which will restore voting rights to over 50,000 Minnesotans on parole, probation or community release due to a felony conviction once the law goes into effect in July. Previously, Minnesota law permitted voting rights restoration after the completion of an entire sentence, which often included years- or decades-long periods of probation. Now, under H.F. 28, voting rights will be restored immediately after release from incarceration.
“Restoring voting rights to those convicted of a felony crime but no longer incarcerated is one of the ways to help facilitate reintegration into our communities by giving these individuals their voices back to participate in the electoral process,” bill sponsor Rep. Cedrik Frazier (DFL) noted at a public hearing in early January. At another hearing, Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell voiced support for the bill: “Voting at its core is a part of pro-social and positive community events and we should have more of it, not less. People released from prison should vote. This will benefit Minnesota.”
H.F. 28 gives the secretary of state the responsibility to procure “accurate and complete information” on rights restoration changes and requires correctional facility officials to provide robust notice of voting rights as part of the re-entry process following incarceration.
H.F. 28 — one of the first legislative priorities advanced by Minnesota’s new Democratic trifecta — passed 71 to 59 in the House and 35 to 30 in the Senate. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2023, impacting thousands of Minnesotans.