I am writing regarding problems that individuals with felonies have in Minnesota. Currently, we have nearly 50,000 people who are on parole or probation not allowed to vote, yet are paying taxes. I believe that if allowed to vote it will help them become members of their society again.
Having worked in a homeless shelter that took in individuals coming out of prison, I learned they have a whole new set of barriers they did not have before their conviction. These barriers can become discouraging obstacles to successfully rebuilding their life. I believe we should remove any unnecessary hindrances that stand in the way.
Parole was designed in the early 1900s to help with the rehabilitation of offenders. Minnesota’s parole and probation laws are some of the longest and unforgiving in the region. Maine and Vermont do not remove the right to vote from convicted felons, not even during incarceration. All people are required to be law-abiding citizens, which if they are, why not give them back their right to vote? Giving them the right to vote can give them hope they are on the right path of rehabilitation.
According to Restore the Vote – Minnesota, a poll in Minnesota in 2015 “found that 46% of Minnesotans believe that individuals living in and paying taxes should be eligible to vote, even if they are on probation or parole for a felony conviction…”
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