Voting is a privilege given to every American over the age of eighteen. However, if you have a felony conviction, this privilege is revoked. In some states, such as Minnesota your voting rights are restored after you serve your sentence and probation.
Somehow, Theresa Marie Barslou who lives in Ramsey County, Minnesota, wasn’t told that she couldn’t vote in last year’s election. She is one of twenty-three felons charged with voter fraud in the 2008 election.
According to the Ramsey County Attorney, they usually charge on average one or two felons with voter fraud, however, there was a higher turnout last year and that is why the count is higher. For future elections, election officials will be working more closely with the Department of Corrections to provide convicted felons with more information about being banned from voting while on parole. County officials plan to hand out information to felons close to completing their sentences, so they know when their voting rights will be restored.
Until then, Ms. Barslou could face five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. Was this just a misunderstanding by Ms. Barslou or was it truly vote fraud? She was advised when she was released from prison concerning her eligibility to vote. Even when she did vote, the election official allegedly handed her the ballot and did not question her about her felony conviction.
Ms. Barslou will be in court later this month to see if she will be charged with voter fraud.