Minnesota Secretary Of State - Secretary of State Steve Simon Visits Voter Registration Drive for Newly Eligible Voters
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Secretary of State Steve Simon Visits Voter Registration Drive for Newly Eligible Voters

July 7, 2023

Eligible Minnesotans can register to vote in minutes at mnvotes.gov

SAINT PAUL – On July 7, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, and Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the District of Minnesota Kito J. Bess visited a voter registration event in Minneapolis for those who are newly eligible to vote after recent changes in legislation. The changes allow anyone with a felony conviction to vote if they are not incarcerated.

“This year, we’ve seen historic election reform that expands and strengthens our democracy, in part by restoring the vote to more than 55,000 Minnesotans,” said Secretary Simon. “Now, we need to make sure we welcome these Minnesotans back into our democracy by meeting them where they are and providing them with easy access to the tools they need to vote.”

The voter registration event was one of seven events held around the state and online, organized by the League of Women Voters Minnesota, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services. In-person events were located in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bemidji, Duluth, Fergus Falls, and Rochester.

In addition to these in-person events, the State of Minnesota and community organizations are working to reach newly enfranchised voters through phone calls, text messages, emails, and visits with parole officers.

“The right to vote allows people to be more involved in their communities and feel more valued by their fellow citizens, two essential components in an incarcerated person’s successful reintegration into society,” said Commissioner Schnell. “We know that people are less likely to re-offend and return to prison when they have strong social connections, which only improves public safety for everyone in Minnesota.”

“The late Congressman John Lewis, once said ‘We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.’ For persons under supervision, you may not have chosen the time, but the time has come where you have an opportunity to share your voice through a systemic process of selecting those to represent you and your respective community,” said Chief Bess. “As criminal justice practitioners, we have an obligation to educate and continue making persons under supervision aware of the law, to include their restored right to vote, while on supervision.”

Minnesotans can learn more about the restoration of voting rights and register to vote online now at mnvotes.gov.