St. PAUL, MN — Earlier this week, a Mille Lacs County judge made a brazen attempt to bar two individuals with felony convictions from voting. The attempt comes in spite of the recent signing of the Restore the Vote Act, which returned and maintained voting rights to Minnesotans with felony convictions who are not currently incarcerated.
Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, issued the following statement in lieu of this attack against thousands of Minnesotans:
“Minnesotans of all backgrounds united to pass Restore the Vote – so more eligible voters can have a voice in our democracy. This landmark civil rights bill has resulted in over 55,000 of our friends, family and neighbors statewide becoming re-enfranchised and regaining their right to vote.
Now, one judge’s actions attempt to renege on that success, threatening Minnesota’s democracy in the process.
Felony disenfranchisement laws are antiquated and have a disgraceful past.
These laws not only have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities, but also have no criminal deterrent or rehabilitative value. The rights of our friends and neighbors will not be undermined, and we refuse to go back to the status quo.
We want to be clear: formerly incarcerated Minnesotans still have the right to vote. But it’s important now more than ever to speak up and make sure the actions of one rogue judge don’t cause fear or dissension.
Our right to vote is not a red or blue issue, it’s an American democracy issue. We won’t stop fighting to continue to protect that right.”