UPDATE November 2, 2023: The state Court of Appeals just overturned a ruling that could have taken the vote from some Minnesotans. To make it crystal clear, today’s ruling means people on felony probation, parole or supervision can vote next week!
BREAKING NEWS October 26, 2023: The ACLU of Minnesota filed an amicus brief today seeking to help overturn decisions by a Mille Lacs County district judge that could steal the vote from more than 50,000 Minnesotans.
“Shockingly, beginning about two weeks ago, a single judge in one Minnesota county began using the machinery of the judicial process to improperly disenfranchise Minnesota vote,” the friend-of-the-court brief said.
Judge Matthew Quinn ruled that people who are on felony probation, parole or supervision cannot vote. That decision flies in the face of a law the Legislature passed this spring to restore the vote to more than 55,000 Minnesotans once they are no longer incarcerated, and a state Supreme Court ruling that clearly acknowledged the Legislature’s power to do so.
“The district court’s orders are judicial activism that makes Minnesota’s judicial system a cause of voter confusion, suppression, and intimidation,” said the brief filed by the ACLU-MN and a pro bono team from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. The amicus brief urges the state Court of Appeals to immediately halt the ruling and send it directly to the state Supreme Court for a decision “to promptly and conclusively stop the district court from its unlawful and injudicious behavior.”
The brief says that Judge Quinn’s decision:
- Violates the state Constitution.
- Was made without a request from anyone.
- Abandons “all pretense of exercising judicial restraint.”
- Creates chaos right before an election in violation of U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
- Chills the exercise of voting, a core constitutional right, by making 50,000+ Minnesotans’ ability to vote uncertain.
- Disproportionately hurts people of color. At the end of 2021, Mille Lacs County disenfranchised 5% of Black residents and 15% of Indigenous residents, compared to 2% of all people.