On Thursday, January 29th Minnesotans came from across the state to call on their elected officials and demand justice. Community members from both sides of the aisle joined forces for one simple cause: restoring the right to vote to felons that have served their time. Currently, forty-seven thousand Minnesotans are barred from the voting booth because, at one time in their past, they committed a crime. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, and colleagues, and their fundamental right to vote has been stripped from them. Every day, they participate in our communities, living with the choices of a government in which they have no voice. They pay taxes, send their children to school and are active community members and they have been deprived of their right to have a say in our government. Our democracy and our government work most efficiently when our Senators and Representatives are elected by our entire community and when all of our community members are represented in the voting process.
This is why groups like Liberty Minnesota, the Second Chance Coalition, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, and over 60 partnering organizations met at Christ Lutheran Church and had a rally to demand the restoration of this fundamental right. After this energizing rally, members met with elected officials to open up this crucial dialogue. While this type of justice may be common sense, nothing will change unless we tirelessly come together and demand change. Change does not simply happen – change is fought for – and we win when we work together. This movement is one of justice, not partisan politics. We are joined by elected officials from both sides of the aisle, non-profits from across the state, and members of law enforcement in this call to give those who have done their time the fundamental right to representation back. The Second Chance Day on the Hill was an amazing, energizing experience, but if we are going to make lasting change we need to keep the momentum rolling.
The next opportunity to make our voices heard in this fight for justice is this Thursday, February 19th, when the Senate Judiciary committee will be hearing this bill. Join the Second Chance Coalition, MPIRG, NOC, and other organizations in illustrating our support
– Samantha Beck