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DFL Party Expands Caucus Participation to Non-Voting Minnesotans
Today, the Minnesota DFL Party is announcing that Minnesotans who are not eligible to vote can now fully participate in the DFL Party’s caucus and convention process.
Now, Minnesotans who are Dreamers, non-citizen immigrants, and ex-felons who served their time but remain on parole or probation may attend precinct caucuses, run to be delegates to future conventions, vote on endorsements, run for party leadership positions, and introduce resolutions to the DFL Party Platform and Action Agenda.
Previously, state law restricted caucus participation to eligible voters only, excluding a broad group of Minnesotans from getting politically engaged.
The Minnesota DFL Party filed a lawsuit challenging this unfair statute and ultimately succeeded in obtaining the clarity we needed to empower more Minnesotans to get politically engaged.
A video of the DFL Party’s press conference announcing this important expansion of access to our political process is available here.
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:
“In 2016, I was knocking on doors with a young Latina organizer who told me how hard she was working to turn out the vote, despite the fact that, as a Dreamer, she could not vote. She then told me that she could not even be a delegate to our DFL conventions because of party rules and state law. I promised her right on the spot that I would change that. For the last six years, I worked to change our party rules and then to challenge state law.”
“Today, I am incredibly proud to announce that Minnesotans who are Dreamers, non-citizen immigrants, and ex-felons who served their time but remain on parole or probation can now fully participate in the DFL Party caucus and convention process. They can run to be delegates, vote on endorsements, run for party office, and introduce resolutions to the DFL Party Platform and Action Agenda. No Minnesotan should be denied the right to help shape the future of our party because of where they were born or because of mistakes they made in the past and have paid their debt to society for.
“The DFL Party believes strongly in a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and in re-enfranchising ex-felons who have paid their debts to society. Thanks to our historic rule change and the tremendous work of so many of our allies and partners, we are living those values by opening our caucus and convention process.”
Elizer Darris, Co-Executive Director of the Minnesota Freedom Fund released the following statement:
“Despite everything that I have done, including paying taxes, abiding by all rules, regulations, restrictions, and guidelines created by policy and lawmakers, despite all of that, I have never been able to participate in the process of being able to elect who is going to represent my voice. Whether that is deciding who is going to make sure that the potholes get filled in my community, whether or not we have adequate parks and recreation access for the youth in my community, who is going to be representative on the school board for the young people in my community, who is going to push the laws that are enforced. I have been unable to cast any type of ballot in any way, shape, or form for any of that for all of the years that I’ve been out – because I am on felony probation. This change makes democracy that much more accessible to me, that much closer to me being able to cast a ballot.”
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, Executive Director of Unidos Minnesota released the following statement:
“For way too long, decisions about our lives, our destinies, our communities have been made without us. Restoring the vote and immigration reform are two of the most important legislative proposals of our times. While these two measures continue to be stuck at the federal level, this expansion ruling is a down payment towards a democracy that meets the promises of those who have fought for equality. This year united we caucus, tomorrow we will vote.”