The movement to give the vote to people with felony records

voter registration application forms are display
Minnesota voter registration application forms and informational brochures for "voting with a criminal record" are displayed during the "Restore the Vote" implementation rally at Arlington Hills Community Center on June 1 in St. Paul.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

It’s the first year of restored voting rights for many formerly incarcerated people and people with felony records in Minnesota.

It’s a change that was approved during the 2023 legislative session, which followed a move by several other states to restore voting eligibility.

The new law is estimated to restore the voting rights of 55,000 Minnesotans who are not currently incarcerated but are serving out the final days of their sentence via probation or supervised release.

But it’s also facing challenges. In Anoka County, a conservative group has argued that the state constitution requires people convicted of a felony to complete their full sentence before their civil rights are restored.

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MPR News host Angela Davis and her guests will talk about the effort to register thousands of newly eligible voters, the movement to get those new voters to the polls and the current legal challenges that the law is facing.    

Looking for more information about your local elections? There’s still time to find out which candidates and questions are on your ballot. Enter your address at Minnesota’s ballot finder to see what you’ll be voting on.

MPR News is also tracking some of the local elections and answering questions for voters statewide. You can find more coverage on school board and municipal elections here.

two guest talk about restored voting rights
MPR News host Angela Davis (center) talks with Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, (left) and Antonio Williams (right) at the Kling Public Media Center in St. Paul on Thursday.
Maja Beckstrom

Guests:  

  • Antonio Williams is an alumnus of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and founder of T.O.N.E U.P. Inc, an organization that helps formerly incarcerated people find a place back into their communities. 

  • Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, is serving his second term as a Minnesota State Representative in District 43A. At the Minnesota Legislature, he is Vice Chair of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus (POCI) and serves as the vice chair on the Judiciary Finance & Civil Law, Education Policy, Public Safety Finance & Policy, and Workforce Development Finance & Policy committees. Rep. Frazier authored the Restore the Vote legislation in the Minnesota House. 

  • Brian Bakst is the senior politics editor for MPR News.  

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.