May 19, 2015
Despite broad bi-partisan support and an incredibly strong coalition backing it, voting rights restoration legislation failed to pass this legislative session. The bill did pass the Senate, which marks the first time the bill passed a legislative body in all the years it has been introduced. At numerous points throughout the session the bill generated so much buzz and support that it seemed likely to pass, however, it was never given a hearing in the House. The purpose of the bill is to restore voting rights to individuals with felony convictions who live in the community but are unable to vote because they are still on probation, parole or conditional release.
The following statement can be attributed to Mark Haase, co-chair of the Restore the Vote Coalition.
“While we are incredibly disappointed that 47,000 Minnesotans will not be re-enfranchised this year, we would like to thank all of the sponsors and supporters of this bill. We are proud of the progress that rights restoration made this year, this issue was finally given the attention it deserved. It was heavily discussed and debated not only at the Capitol, but in the public. Many of the major newspapers endorsed rights restoration legislation and thousands of Minnesotans contacted their legislators asking for voting rights to be restored. I would also like to thank all of the hardworking members of our coalition, it was because of our diverse coalition that this issue finally made some progress. We are not giving up, our coalition is committed to making Minnesota more fair, just and equitable for all. We will continue to fight for this issue until rights have been restored to those 47,000 Minnesotans who live in our communities, but are denied their right to vote.”
The Restore the Vote Coalition, is made up of 72 organizations from across the state including, public safety organizations, governmental bodies, advocacy organizations and faith based groups.