When Dexter Stanton got out of prison in 2009 after serving time for a felony drunk-driving conviction, he wanted to get involved in the community in a positive way. He volunteered for political campaigns, worked a phone bank, canvassed neighborhoods and was even elected caucus chairman for the local DFL party. What he couldn’t do, however, was vote. “I was a part of the community, and yet I was separate,” Stanton said. “I wasn’t a community member.” Stanton said it doesn’t seem right for someone to be working and paying taxes in the community, but not have a say in decisions. For someone from a family long active in politics, “it was really frustrating,” he said.
Momentum is building this year in an effort to change Minnesota law to giving voting rights to felons who have completed their jail or prison time but are still on probation or parole.
The bill has the backing of diverse groups ranging from faith-based organizations to county attorneys to the Republican Liberty Caucus.
Supporters of the measure say restoring voting rights to felons after their release would encourage positive behavior and community connections, making them less likely to reoffend. It also would eliminate confusion that often exists over when convicted felons can legally vote.
Full Article: Bill seeks to restore voting rights to felons after release.