Minnesota judge is reprimanded for stripping voting rights from people with felonies

MILLE LACS COUNTY, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota oversight board on Thursday reprimanded a judge who last year declared unconstitutional a new state law restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies.

The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded Mille Lacs County District Judge Matthew Quinn for making an unprompted ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

A spokeswoman for the court said Quinn declined to comment on Thursday’s order.

The law, which took effect last year, says people with felony convictions regain the right to vote after they have completed any prison term.

Quinn ruled the law was unconstitutional in a pair of orders in which he sentenced two offenders to probation, but warned them they were not eligible to vote or to register to vote — even though the law says they were. It was an unusual step because nobody involved in those cases ever asked him to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals found Quinn had no authority to rule on the law and undid his efforts to strip voting rights away from several people.

The Judicial Standards Board on Thursday found that Quinn broke a number of ethical rules by not acting in accordance with the law.

This is not the first time the board has rebuked Quinn.

Quinn was reprimanded two years ago for his public support of former President Donald Trump and critical comments about President Joe Biden.

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