The weather outside is frightful, but that hasn’t stopped Minnesota Republicans from serving up their own frights in Washington and St. Paul. Here are the worst of the week.
Standing in the way of voting rights
This year, protecting our democracy has been at the forefront of conversations across the country. Voting rights leader Stacey Abrams gave the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address, and our neighbors in Michigan and Wisconsin are fighting for fairer congressional districts. Minnesota is proud to be a state with consistently high voter turnout, but some Republicans want to continue to restrict access to the ballot from some Minnesotans.
Every year, tens of thousands of Minnesotans are unable to vote because of a past criminal conviction, even if they’re no longer behind bars. Under current laws, Minnesotans with past felonies–Minnesotans who pay taxes, engage with their communities, and raise families–can sometimes go decades without seeing their right to vote restored. While Democrats are working to restore voting rights to Minnesotans who have completed their prison sentence, Republicans like Senator Warren Limmer are pledging to stand in the way. What do Republicans have to lose from expanding, not limiting, voting rights?
Failing to protect Liberian Minnesotans
Our state’s diversity is part of what makes Minnesota, Minnesota. For 20 years, thousands of Liberian Americans have lived and worked in Minnesota, enriching our communities, representing us in public office, and making Minnesota their home. Unfortunately, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), the program that allows Liberian Americans to stay, is about to expire, and Trump plans to let it. This means that Liberian Minnesotans are at risk of being separated from their families and forced to return to a country they haven’t seen in decades. While DFLers like Senator Smith, Senator Klobuchar, and Representative Omar are working to extend DED, Republicans have failed to act to protect our Liberian friends and neighbors
Minnesotans know that our democracy works best when everyone participates, and that helping our neighbors is part of who we are. When will Republicans catch up?