Minnesota Voters Alliance to appeal dismissal of their challenge to Restore the Vote Act

A group that describes its members as “election integrity watchdogs” is continuing to challenge a ruling passed in March that allows some felons to vote.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance filed a lawsuit earlier this year claiming that the Restore the Vote Act violates language in the Minnesota Constitution that states felons cannot vote “unless restored to civil rights.” They interpreted that line to mean “all civil rights that a non-felon possesses” and claimed the new law overlooks probation, supervised release and work release as active criminal sentences.

Anoka County District Judge Thomas Lehmann dismissed that challenge last week, but a notice of appeal was filed on Wednesday.

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Executive Director of Minnesota Voters Alliance Andy Cilek said they plan to issue a petition for further review with the Minnesota Supreme Court by Friday.

Since Judge Lehmann dismissed the filing with prejudice, the ruling cannot be filed again in Anoka County.

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After the dismissal, the executive director of Minnesota Voters Alliance shared this statement:

“We believe that for a felon to regain voting rights, the Constitution requires restoration of the civil rights a felon loses upon conviction, and only a constitutional amendment can change that. We are hopeful that the appeals courts will agree.” 

Executive Director of Minnesota Voters Alliance Andy Cilek

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon also issued the following statement:

“With voting starting in the presidential primary on January 19, it is critically important Minnesotans understand their rights. I am grateful for the clarity this decision provides to the more than 55,000 Minnesotans who had their right to vote restored under this legislation. Once again, the law remains that if you are not currently incarcerated – a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and a resident of Minnesota for 20 days – you can vote.”  

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon