Newsmakers: Rep. Frazier Discusses ‘Restore the Vote,’ Public Safety Bill
Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL, New Hope) is optimistic that the Restore the Vote Act could pass this legislative session. Attempts to move it through the legislature have gone on for several years.
“Not allowing the right to vote to those we have deemed safe to reenter the community does not further criminal justice’s purpose,” said Frazier in a committee hearing this week. “Restoring voting rights to those convicted of a felony crime but not longer incarcerated is one of the ways to help facilitate reintegration into our community.”
The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee passed HF 28 this week and it will go before the House Ways and Means committee on Monday.
Currently, a person’s right to vote is not restored until they are no longer on parole or probation. This change would allow the person to vote when they complete incarceration.
“Who would get the vote are the folks that are no longer incarcerated. You may still be convicted as a felon, you may be on parole or probation, but you would no longer be incarcerated. You would be in your community, working a job, taking care of your family, paying taxes and your vote would be restored so you would have your vote back and be able to participate in democracy and the electoral process,” said Frazier.
Frazier says there’s been a lot of energy around the bill and several people who have testified, even people who would just show up to testify.
When the bill was before the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee this week (see hearing here), the main opposition centered around victims and whether it was a fair to the victims to restore voting rights. Frazier says there have been letters from victims advocacy groups voicing support.
Frazier also authored the public safety bill and says it’s taking “a different track” to focus on intervention and prevention programs.
Also this legislative session: Newsmakers: Sen. Ann Rest Explains Why Tax Bill Passage Makes Her Optimistic