Dear Governor Dayton, 

On behalf of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) and the constituents we represent, we want to thank you for including restoration of voting rights as a priority for re-inclusion into legislation during the special session. Minnesota citizens who have paid their debt to society, should be given the opportunity to become participating citizens in our democracy. 

What I have found interesting since assuming my current position with AALF is that the considerations of people in Greater Minnesota are often directly aligned with African Americans in the urban environment. While African Americans are disproportionately affected by the loss of voting rights, and the concomitant inability to participate in the election of our leaders, the overwhelming majority of citizens who have lost their voting rights are non-African American. 

What is even more interesting is that while our democracy denies these citizens the right to participate in electing their leaders, we still require them to pay taxes; and, of course, remain law abiding. 

It’s not clear to me why we’re even having this conversation in 2015 about granting our citizens the right to vote after they have paid their debt to society. 

Thank you again for your principled stand on this issue. We urge you to remain steadfast, and we will be at your ready call to support you on this issue. 

Hon. Mark Dayton May 29, 2015 

Very truly yours, 

Jeffrey A. Hassan