Rep. Andy Smith’s Statement on House Passage of the 'Restore the Vote' Act
Saint Paul, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota State House of Representatives passed HF28, the Restore the Vote Act, after an over 3-hour floor debate and a final vote of 71-59. The bill would restore voting rights to individuals convicted of a felony upon completion of any incarceration imposed and executed by a court for the offense.
State Representative Andy Smith (DFL – Rochester), who is a co-author of the legislation, released the following statement following the passage of the bill:
“I believe that voting is not a privilege, but a fundamental right of citizenship. It is an obligation and a duty that should not be taken away or used as a cudgel to punish,” Rep. Smith said. “The Restore the Vote Act is a critical step forward in reducing disenfranchisement, racial disparities, and recidivism, and I was proud to vote in support tonight. I also believe that inmates, who are citizens, who are counted in the census, and who are still subjected to involuntary servitude, also deserve the right to vote while imprisoned. I urge members to embrace truly universal suffrage for all Minnesotan citizens.”
Video of the debate, Rep. Smith’s floor comments, and the final vote can be found on the House Public Information page. The bill now awaits action by the Minnesota State Senate, which heard the counterpart bill, SF26, in the Elections Committee last month.