Felons Voting

The Fight Over Convicted Felons Voting Before They’ve Done Their Time

| Despite State Constitution, Minnesota’s Democrat Pols want Convicted Felons Voting Before They’ve done Their Time – The Fight Continues. |

Minnesota’s Democrat secretary of state and Democrat attorney general are adamant about ensuring that convicted felons, still on parole or probation, have more power over the citizenry.

[See Dan McGrath’s essay on felons voting: Should Felons Govern the Law Abiding?]

A statute enacted by Democrats in Minnesota legislature, last session on a party-line vote would confer the right to vote to rapists, murders, child sex traffickers and other truly vile criminals while still under supervision of the department of corrections. They want people who are not allowed to own firearms, or leave the state without permission from a parole officer to help elect county sheriffs, school boards, judges and all the other political offices that create and enforce the laws the law abiding are obliged to submit to. However, Minnesota’s Constitution expressly forbids voting by convicted felons, unless “restored to civil rights.”

Minnesota judges are obligated by law to inform felons, upon sentencing, of their voting status and at least one judge wasn’t comfortable issuing an order he believed contravened the Constitution, regardless of what the legislature said. So, Judge Matthew Quinn of Mille Lacs County ordered two freshly convicted felons not to vote when they were released on probation to serve their “time” instead of doing it in prison.

Full of outrage and indignation, Secretary of State Simon and Attorney General Ellison vowed to stop this scoundrel of a rogue judge, calling his order “unauthorized,” and they swiftly found an appeals court to agree with them. Judge Quinn’s orders to the felons not to vote or register to vote while on probation was overturned by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Thursday, November 2nd.

But, it doesn’t end there!

The Minnesota Voters Alliance, represented by the non-profit Upper Midwest Law Center brought a lawsuit to overturn the new felon voter legislation back in June and that case just came before Anoka County District Court Judge Thomas Lehmann for oral arguments on Monday, October 30th – just a few days before Minnesota’s court of appeals weighed in on Quinn’s order.

Judge Lehmann has yet to issue his opinion in the matter, but it’s guaranteed that whichever way he rules, the decision will be appealed. This is a case destined for the Minnesota Supreme Court and it will take some time to get there.

Article VII Section 1 of the Minnesota Constitution reads:

“Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct. The place of voting by one otherwise qualified who has changed his residence within 30 days preceding the election shall be prescribed by law. The following persons shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state: A person not meeting the above requirements; a person who has been convicted of treason or felony, unless restored to civil rights; a person under guardianship, or a person who is insane or not mentally competent.”

With Simon and Ellison’s Thursday win in the Court of Appeals, felons who are still “on paper” (probation officer jargon for “under supervision of the department of corrections”) will be permitted to vote, probably at least until the state’s high court finally weighs in.

Right now there are about 55,000 such felons – enough to tip many elections, no doubt and academic studies on the voting proclivities of ex-cons who regain the right to vote fall heavily in favor of Democrats – by a whopping 90%! Given that’s it’s no wonder Minnesota Democrats have been so eager to court the votes of the worst class of criminals.

Also see: Voter Fraud in the News.

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