Giancola-Durkin, P.A.

Minnesota considering lifting ban on voting while on felony probation

Being accused of drug crimes can sometimes leave a person facing felony charges. The stakes are very high in such cases. Given this, skilled defense guidance is a critical thing for a person to have when facing such allegations.

A conviction on a felony charge has major consequences here in Minnesota. It impacts many things for a person, including his or her right to vote.

Under current state law, individuals convicted of a felony in the state aren’t allowed to vote until they fully complete their probation. This can result in a very long loss of the right to vote, as probation can sometimes last for decades.

Being accused of knowingly violating this ban on voting can expose a person to serious criminal charges.

A bill is before Minnesota’s legislature which would make a significant change to the state rules on felony convictions and voting rights. It would eliminate the ban on voting while on probation. So, under it, once a convicted felon is released from jail or prison, he or she would be eligible to vote, even during his or her probation period.

It is believed that this proposal would restore voting rights to over 50,000 Minnesotans if made law.

Proponents of the bill argue that the change would reduce confusion over when voting rights are restored to people with felony convictions. They further argue that getting voting rights back earlier would help convicted individuals get their lives back on track by making them feel more connected to their community.

The bill has been making progress in the legislature, having recently received a formal hearing and gotten referred to the state house’s Ways and Means Committee. There, however, remains some opposition to the bill. Do you think this proposed legislation will ultimately get passed into law?

What are your thoughts on the bill? Do you think individuals convicted of felonies should be able to vote while on probation? What impacts do you think such a change would have?

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