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S.F. No. 355 - Restoration of the Right to Vote to Convicted Felons Upon Release From Incarceration (Second Engrossment)
Author: Senator Bobby Joe Champion
Prepared By: Chris Turner, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-4350)
Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
Date: March 11, 2015


Section 1 provides that an individual convicted of a felony is eligible to vote upon completion of any incarceration imposed and executed by the court.  If the person is later incarcerated for the same offense, the individual’s right to vote is lost only during the period of incarceration.

Section 2 is a conforming amendment that changes the voter registration application requirements to reflect the right of felons to vote under the circumstances provided in section 1.

Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6 make conforming changes to statutory provisions related to the maintenance of voter registration lists.

Section 4 is a conforming amendment regarding data provided by the Commissioner of Corrections to the Secretary of State for the purposes of determining the restoration of the right to vote of convicted felons.

Section 5 requires the Secretary of State to develop an electronic publication with complete and accurate information about the voting rights of people who have been charged with or convicted of a crime.  The publication must be made available to the state court administrator for distribution to judges, court personnel, probation officers, and the Department of Corrections for distribution to corrections officials, parole and supervised release agents, and the public.

Section 6 amends the Voter’s Bill of Rights to reflect the right of convicted felons to vote provided they are not currently incarcerated.

Section 7 is a conforming amendment to reflect the right of felons to vote under the circumstances provided in section 1.

Section 8, subdivision 1 requires the chief executive officer of each state and local correctional facility to designate an official within the facility to provide the notice required under this section to inmates who have had their civil right to vote restored.

Subdivision 2 requires notice of the restoration of the right to vote be provided to inmates being released from a correctional facility following incarceration for a felony-level offense.  Requires probation officers and supervised release agents to provide the notice for all offenders under correctional supervision for a felony offense.

Subdivision 3 stipulates the form and content of the notice of the restoration of the right to vote.

Subdivision 4 provides that failure to provide notice as required by this section does not prevent the restoration of the person’s civil rights.

Section 9 is a conforming amendment stating that Minnesota Statutes, section 201.014, subdivision 2a (section 1 of the bill) governs the restoration of voting rights for persons whose right to vote has been lost due to a felony conviction.

Section 10 repeals Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 201.155, requiring the state court administrator to report to the secretary of state certain information about persons convicted of a felony for the purpose of determining the restoration of their right to vote.  It also repeals Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 201.275, regarding the investigation and prosecution of voter registration violations.

Section 11 provides that the bill is effective August 1, 2015, and applies to elections held on or after that date.  Notices required by this bill must be provided to individuals released from incarceration on or after August 1, 2015.  

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