Join us for a door knock to restore voting rights

Posted on Updated on

This election season over 50,000 people living in our communities will have their voices silenced when they are unable to vote. Our campaign, Restore the Vote, is trying to change that, and we need your help.  We need to bring the message to the streets that we are creating a movement to restore voting rights and we want them to join our campaign. Engaging the larger community, and people who are affected by these bad laws, are critical to the success of our campaign. This is why we need you to join us for a rally and door knock on September 20th.

We will be hitting the doors in North Minneapolis and on the East-side of St. Paul to talk with voters about our campaign, ask them to fill out action post cards (which will be sent to their legislators and the Governor) and to register people to vote.  Register today!

When: Saturday, September 20, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Neighborhoods Organizing for Change – 911 West Broadway Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55411 or Hope Lutheran Church 1340 Hazel St N St Paul, MN 55119 

Please invite your friends and family to join you for this important day of action. Too many of our friends and family members have been excluded from one of our most fundamental rights for too long. Please join us on September 20 for this exciting day of community building.

Minnesota Prison Gerrymandering Strategy Discussion

Posted on

Thursday August 21, 9:00-11:00 a.m., League of Women Voters 550 Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55103.

Please join us for a discussion of strategy to end prison gerrymandering in Minnesota.

RSVP to Mark Haase at mahaase@gmail.com.

The Minnesota State Constitution says that incarcerated people remain legal residents of their home addresses, but the U.S. Census counts incarcerated people as residents of the often-remote prison cells. When Minnesota uses this flawed data to draw legislative districts, the state gives extra influence to the districts that contain prisons and dilutes the votes of every resident in the state who doesn’t live next to a large prison. (A similar, but even more dramatic, problem occurs when rural cities and counties that contain large prisons use this data to draw their city and county district lines.) So far, four states have passed legislation that counts incarcerated people as residents of the prison location, and the U.S. Census Bureau is considering changes as well.

The national expert on prison gerrymandering, Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative, will be in Minnesota the day before for a conference with the Census Bureau and national redistricting experts, so we are setting up this meeting so that Peter can share his work and experience with us. Peter will share his Minnesota research with us and lead a discussion about how the successful campaigns in New York, Maryland, Delaware and California can inform our work here in Minnesota.

This is an issue that the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have worked on in the past, and even had legislation introduced, and now is an excellent time to put together a plan for a successful reform effort in the next legislative session.

We hope you can join us. If you have questions please contact Mark Haase at mahaase@gmail.com.

Next Meeting: July 17th

Posted on Updated on

The next planning meeting for the Restore the Vote group will be on July 17th at 1:00 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Reedemer – 285 Dale St N, St Paul, MN 55103.

For more information or to RSVP contact: Mark Haase at 612-819-0738 or contact@restorethevotemn.org.

 

Planning Meeting – May 28

Posted on Updated on

Hello, Please join us for a meeting to begin planning how we will join together and restore the vote in 2015! Despite the temporary setback this legislative session, restoring voting rights for those living in the community has seen significant increases in support and momentum. With your help, and a large and broad coordinated effort, support will continue to grow and result in the change we seek next year. Please  attend this meeting if you and/or your organization are interested in taking an active role in moving this work forward. RSVP here

When: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
8:30 AM – 10 AM

Where: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
285 Dale St. N
St. Paul, MN 55103

 

2014 Session Update

Posted on

It has been a remarkable few months. We have made great progress thanks to all of your support. However, despite our hard work, the voting rights restoration bill will not pass this session. Bills need to be first voted on in small committees. Even though there were no compelling arguments against the change, and we had bipartisan support, we were not able to get the bill heard in the right committees because there was not enough political will.

Despite this temporary setback, restoring voting rights for those living in the community has seen significant increases in support and momentum. With your help, support will continue to grow and result in the change we seek next year.

We will convene a meeting sometime after this session slows down to discuss next steps. In the meantime, here are some action step ideas for you: Write letters to the editor in local papers regarding this session’s efforts and result; speak to your legislators now and going forward; recruit new organizations; ask people to visit this website and sign up, ask others to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, and look for speaking opportunities.

Thank you so much for all of your work and support!

Here is a list of some of our accomplishments this year:

  • Over 50 organizations have now officially signed on in support. The list of supporters can be found here.
  • The bill was heard and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee where there was no testimony or statements in opposition to the bill.
  • Coalition members met with over 20 legislators from both parties and had very positive conversations (in addition to the many visits made as part of various days on the Hill).
  • Over 300 voting restoration postcards were delivered to legislators.
  • Hundreds of emails and calls were made to legislators. We do not have a good measure of all the contacts made. The Catholic Conference alone, for example, had approximately 80 members send emails and an uncounted number make phone calls.
  • Voting rights restoration was the featured agenda item of Second Chance Day on the Hill, which included a press conference and received favorable coverage on local prime time television news and other media both locally and nationally.
  • Voting rights restoration was a featured item of days on the hill for MPIRG, Recovery Day on the Hill, Organizing Apprenticeship Project’s Racial Justice Day on the Hill, and the League of Women Voters of Minneapolis annual community forum.
  • This website has been created with supporting information and materials such as a Prezi (online Powerpoint style) presentation and information about geographic distribution and the history of disenfranchisement in Minnesota.
  • A Facebook page has been created and now has 927 “likes”. A Twitter account was also created.
  • Due to many party platform resolutions passed during precinct caucuses, voting rights restoration is being considered for part of the Minnesota DFL party platform.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. contact@restorethevotemn.org

 

Where are the felony convictions taking place?

Posted on Updated on

Minnesotans from all corners of the state are barred from voting because of felony convictions. This is not just an urban or rural problem. This is something that affects every single congressional district across the state. In 2012 12,000 people were convicted of felonies. That is 12,000 fewer people on the voting rolls. Many of these 12,000 may never spend a single day in prison yet will still be ineligible to vote. Check out this great pie chart that breaks-out how many felony convictions happened in 2012 in each congressional district. 2012 Felonies by District

Take Action

Posted on Updated on

We need to fill up the mailboxes of our Senators and Representatives asking them to support Voting Rights Restoration. If you are having a large group gathering, have them fill out Rights restoration action post card. After filling out the cards, mail them to the Council on Crime and Justice (who will in turn send them to the right Senators & Representatives). Please note that each person should fill out two postcards, one that goes to their Senator and one that goes to their Representative. (When Restore the Vote prints them we use Avery Post Cards 5689.) If you would like to order some already printed please contact Jana Kooren at jkooren@aclu-mn.org or 651.645.4097 x123. Council on Crime and Justice’s address is: 822 S 3rd St # 100, Minneapolis, MN 55415.