Felon voting brings arguments from both sides

An organization backing proposals to require Minnesotans to show photo identification before casting ballots says 113 people have been convicted for illegal voting in the 2008 election.

Those convicted were felons not eligible to vote.

“As far as we can tell, this is the largest number of voter fraud convictions arising from a single election in the past 75 years,” said Minnesota Majority President Jeff Davis. “Prosecutions are still under way and so there will likely be even more convictions.”

Those who do not favor photo IDs criticized the report.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office blamed Minnesota Majority for then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a bill that would have required election officials to notify felons when they lost voting rights.

The liberal TakeAction Minnesota group agreed with Ritchie’s office, saying there would be no problem had Pawlenty signed the 2009 bill.

The Second Chance Coalition, meanwhile, took another approach. It suggested that more than 60,000 Minnesota parolees and probationers should be given the right to vote.

“Our system is confusing,” coalition founder Sarah Walker said. “Individuals who have never been to jail or prison are denied the right to vote. Too often, they are unaware of laws. Rather than celebrate participation, we are punishing.”

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