ANOKA, Minn. — After fighting for years for the right to vote, two Minnesotans went into court to prevent that right from being yanked out from underneath them and over 50,000 other Minnesotans. Today, the Anoka County District Court upheld their right to vote.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature voted to restore the right to vote to Minnesotans with felony convictions who were out of prison and living in the community on probation or parole. Jennifer Schroeder and Elizer Darris were among those instrumental in helping win that right – and among the very first in the state to register when voting became legal on June 1, 2023.
The Minnesota Voters Alliance (along with three individuals) sought to revoke that right and silence the voices and the vote of thousands. MVA filed suit in June challenging the new law — contending it violates the state Constitution – and that the Legislature didn’t have authority to end the ban. MVA has continued to work to prevent Minnesotans on probation and parole from exercising their right to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Minnesota, and pro bono co-counsel Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP asked the Anoka County District Court to let them intervene on behalf of Schroeder and Darris to defend the new voting re-enfranchisement law. Today, the judge granted the motion to intervene and dismissed MVA’s petition because of lack of standing and because the judge found that the law was constitutional.
“We are pleased with the decision by the Anoka County District Court,” said ACLU-MN Attorney David McKinney. “We hope that the efforts of certain groups and individuals won’t deter eligible Minnesotans on community supervised release from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Voting is vital to keep us connected, for our communities, and for our democracy to thrive.”
The ACLU of Minnesota is dedicated to the protection and advancement of civil liberties for all Minnesotans. We will continue defending Minnesotan’s voting rights.