ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota DFL Party will allow people without the right to vote to participate in precinct caucuses, party officials said Wednesday.
State Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said the move means that felons whose voting rights haven't been fully restored and immigrants who aren't U.S. citizens can attend the party meetings and become convention delegates.
Martin said the change, which was approved unanimously by the party's executive committee, was long overdue, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
“After six long years, our party can finally live its values,” he said in a news conference. “As a party that supports a pathway to citizenship for the millions of dreamers and supports restoring voting rights to millions of ex-felons, this is a huge step in the right direction.”
The change follows a state Court of Appeals opinion that said parties themselves can decide who participates in caucuses and conventions, even if those same people can’t vote in elections.
In spite of the court ruling, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann said voter eligibility is clearly defined in state law.
“If they’re doing it to allow their supporters to break the law to participate in conventions, then they probably have no hesitation about allowing people who are not eligible to break the law when it comes to voting in the general election,” Hann said. “That raises a lot of questions and concerns in our mind.”