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District court rejects "fundamentally flawed" effort to overturn Restore the Vote Act

Court dismisses challenge to the voting rights of 55,000 Minnesotans

December 14, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Today, Attorney General Keith Ellison commended the decision of District Court Judge Thomas R. Lehmann to dismiss a challenge to the constitutionality of the Restore the Vote Act (Minn. Stat. § 201.014, subd. 2A (2023)), which provides that a person with a felony conviction “has the civil right to vote restored during any period when the individual is not incarcerated for the offense.”

The district court found that the petitioners’ argument against the constitutionality of the Restore the Vote Act was “fundamentally flawed” and that the organization and individuals that filed the suit lacked standing to challenge the Restore the Vote Act. The petitioners argued that the Act was unconstitutional, claiming that the legislature lacks the authority to restore voting rights. Today’s ruling recognized that, to the contrary, this argument was foreclosed by a February decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court that acknowledged that the legislature has the authority to restore voting rights to people who are in the community under correctional supervision.

“I am extremely pleased that yet another effort to undermine the voting rights of Minnesotans has been soundly rejected,” said Attorney General Ellison. “The legislature has the ability to decide when voting rights are restored to Minnesotans, and today’s ruling reaffirms that right and reaffirms the constitutionality of the Restore the Vote Act. This is a good day for the 55,000 Minnesotans who’ve had their voting rights restored. Today is also a victory for democracy here in Minnesota because our democracy is always made stronger when more people participate.”

 

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