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Dayton says he can’t restore felon voting rights on his own

Gov. Mark Dayton says he’d like to restore voting rights for people convicted of felonies, but he can’t.

It’s been a regular topic at the Legislature for years. Minnesota law bans felons from voting until they’ve served out probation or parole.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order last week restoring felons’ voting rights in that state.

But Dayton told reporters Wednesday that legal counsel has told him he doesn’t have that unilateral authority in Minnesota.

Such a change would affect an estimated 74,000 released felons. The Democratic-majority Senate approved a quicker restoration this week, but it faces unlikely odds in the Republican-controlled House.

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