Minnesota extends voting rights for 55,000 felony offenders
Minnesotans who are on probation for felony convictions will be allowed to cast a ballot under a new law signed by Gov. Tim Walz on Friday.
The big picture: The law, which was approved by the DFL-controlled Legislature in recent weeks, will extend voting rights to an estimated 55,000 Minnesotans who had previously been barred from participating in elections.
- It's seen as the biggest expansion of voter eligibility in the state in a half century, per MPR News.
What they're saying: Supporters say allowing people to participate in elections once their time behind bars is done gives them more say in their communities and may help reduce recidivism.
The other side: Critics have argued that people who commit crimes should face consequences through the duration of their sentence, especially for more serious offenses.
Between the lines: The issue has been the subject of intense debate at the Capitol and in the courts for years.
- The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a law barring voting during probation in a highly anticipated ruling issued in February, saying it was up to the Legislature to change the statute.
What's next: Secretary of State Steve Simon's office plans to notify people impacted by the change of their right to vote, The Star Tribune reports. Public awareness campaigns are expected to follow.
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