Alliance argues law violates state constitution
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge to the state’s felon voting rights law. The Minnesota Voters Alliance argued that the law violates a clause in the state constitution, which states that felons cannot vote “unless restored to civil rights.” The group contended that this language encompasses all civil rights, not just some.
Judge finds flaw in argument
However, the judge ruled that the major premise of this argument is fundamentally flawed. The constitution does not specifically state “restored to all civil rights.” The judge cited a ruling from February, which placed the burden on the Legislature to determine whether voting rights should be restored to individuals upon their release from prison.
Efforts to restore voting rights for felons
Minnesota was one of more than a dozen states that considered restoring voting rights for felons this year. Advocates for the change argued that the current disenfranchisement disproportionately affects people of color due to biases in the legal system. As a result of the change, an estimated number of individuals regained their right to vote.
Appeal planned by Minnesota Voters Alliance
The Minnesota Voters Alliance, represented by lawyer James Dickey, plans to appeal the decision. The group hopes to take the case directly to the state Supreme Court in hopes of overturning the ruling.
Attorney General welcomes rejection of challenge
Attorney General Keith Ellison expressed his satisfaction with the court’s decision. He stated, “I am extremely pleased that yet another effort to undermine the voting rights of Minnesotans has been soundly rejected.” Ellison had previously seen a different attempt to void the law rejected by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Overall, the challenge to the felon voting rights law in Minnesota has been dismissed, leaving the law intact. The decision may have broader implications for the ongoing debate surrounding the voting rights of felons across the United States.