Jan 7

Right to Vote

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As the election is just days behind us, you may have received calls from former clients about their voting rights or you may have wondered about your own voting rights. To be eligible to vote, you must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen, and have a residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days just prior to the election. MINN. STAT. § 201.014, subdiv. 1 (a)–(c).

If you have been convicted of treason or a felony and your civil rights have not been restored, a court has revoked your right to vote due to your being under a guardianship, or a court found you legally incompetent, you are not eligible to vote. MINN. STAT. § 201.014, subdiv. 2 (a)–(c). If you know you are not eligible to vote and you vote anyway, you are guilty of a felony. MINN. STAT. § 201.014, subdiv. 3.

Similarly, you are also guilty of a felony if you “cause or attempt to cause the individual’s name to be registered [to vote] in any precinct if the individual is not eligible to vote.” MINN. STAT. § 201.054, subdiv. 2(a).

Those with a felony on their records, however, can get their civil rights (including the right to vote) back:

When a person has been deprived of civil rights by reason of conviction of a crime and is thereafter discharged, such discharge shall restore the person to all civil rights and to full citizenship, with full right to vote . . ., the same as if such conviction had not taken place, and the order of discharge shall so provide.

MINN. STAT. § 609.165, subdiv. 1. The discharge may be by the court after the stayed sentence or after the sentence is over. MINN. STAT. § 609.165, subdiv. 2. Your probation officer will be able to tell you what you have to do to get your civil rights (including the right to vote) back.