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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Voting rights restoration highlights Super Tuesday vote in MN

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024   

More than a dozen states hold presidential primaries on this Super Tuesday. Minnesota is among them, and the election is seen as a big opportunity for those with a past felony conviction who recently saw an expansion of their voting rights.

Last year, Minnesota approved a law change that allows people with a conviction to register to vote immediately after their release from prison, rather than waiting until their probation is completed.

JaNae' Bates, interim co-executive director of ISAIAH, part of a coalition that pushed for the change, said there's been broad outreach to educate those eligible but acknowledges it can be an uphill battle.

"Even though they are back in community with us -- working, going to school, etc. -- they've largely felt like they've been pushed out and have not often gotten to feel engaged," she explained.

Bates also encouraged friends and family of those formerly incarcerated to make them aware of their voting rights.

The Minnesota Secretary of State estimates the new policy affects nearly 55,000 people. And since Minnesota has same-day registration, advocates encourage those newly eligible to try and cast their ballot during today's primary. Polling locations around the state are open until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Organizers also are looking ahead to the November election to get more people registered under the new law. Bates said there's already a heightened mood of cynicism across the electorate, and that it's important to not let that weigh down the trust they're trying to build.

"We're already learning so much from our formerly incarcerated folks who have been engaged in this work about the mechanisms that help them to make better decisions later and what could have helped before they ended up in the system," she continued.

She said they want to learn even more from people they haven't reached yet, or who are reluctant to embrace the voting process. After its passage, the new policy survived a legal challenge brought by a conservative organization.


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