Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday signed a invoice that may restore the voting rights of hundreds of convicted felons within the state this summer season as soon as they depart jail, as an alternative of after they full parole.

“As we speak, I signed a invoice into legislation restoring voting rights for over 55,000 previously incarcerated folks – the biggest enlargement of voting rights in Minnesota in half a century. Minnesota will proceed to guide within the combat to maintain our elections protected, free, and honest for all,” Walz, a Democrat, mentioned in a tweet.

The legislation will go into impact on July 1 and permit as many as 55,000 previously incarcerated felons to vote from that day ahead.

State lawmakers authorised SF26, in any other case often called Restore the Vote by its supporters, in February. Each chambers of Minnesota’s statehouse are managed by Democrats.

The passage of the invoice adopted a number of years of authorized challenges to the constitutionality of the state’s former legislation, which prohibited individuals who had been on felony supervision or probation from voting even when their jail time period has been accomplished or they’ve by no means spent a day in jail. Eradicating obstacles to voting for former felons has been the topic of partisan warfare in some states due to the notion that this cohort of voters is extra prone to assist Democratic candidates.

In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota challenged that legislation, arguing that Minnesota’s structure assured somebody’s proper to vote robotically as soon as they had been launched from jail. The legislation had prevented greater than 50,000 Minnesotans from voting and disproportionately affected folks of colour, the ACLU mentioned.

Minnesota’s Supreme Court docket in February kicked the problem to the state legislature, which had been contemplating the Restore the Vote invoice since early January, when Democrats took over the state Senate.

Now that the invoice has been signed, Minnesota will be part of 21 different states that robotically restore the correct to vote for some or all ex-felons upon their launch from jail, in response to the Voting Rights Lab, which tracks election legal guidelines on the state stage.

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