Second Chance Day Held on the Hill in Minnesota

Updated: 03/13/2014 6:14 AM By: Jessica Miles

Hundreds of people packed the State Capitol rotunda Wednesday to say "give us a second chance."

It was Second Chance Day on the Hill, a time when those with criminal pasts push lawmakers to change laws.

The focus this year was on voting rights restoration.

The Minnesotan Second Chance Coalition says Minnesotans lose the right to vote until they've been released from supervision, even if they are living in the community paying taxes, even if they never spent any time in prison or only served a short stint in jail.

Some lawmakers are now pushing to change that, and convicted felons were at the capitol showing support for that change.

"We should have the chance to be a part of the community and have a say in what we believe in, what we feel is right, and not being able to do that feels like we've been outcasted," said one convicted felon.

13 states allow people to vote as soon as they walk out of prison or jail. That's what the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition wants to do here.

More than 50 organizations recently formed as the Restore the Vote Minnesota Coalition.

The group includes the Minnesota County Attorney Association, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, the NAACP of St. Paul and Minneapolis, The Council on Crime and Justice, and other law and public safety, faith-based, and civic organizations.

Opponents say not being allowed to vote is part of the punishment for breaking the law.