Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order Wednesday automatically restoring the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences.
Iowa was the only state denying voting rights to felons until the Governor’s action.
Reynolds tried to get the issue put on the ballot as a constitutional amendment so that it couldn’t be reversed by a future governor, but failed to get Republican support during the 2020 session. Those opposed wanted exclusions for more serious felonies and that all victim restitution be paid before felons could vote. She says she will continue to push for the amendment.
The current action excludes individuals who were convicted of felony homicides; they must continue to individually apply for restoration of their voting rights. The order specifically states that it does not restore the right to own a gun as a felon, nor does it grant a pardon. Felons will still be required to pay restitution if ordered as part of their sentence, but the restitution does not have to be paid off before their voting rights can be restored.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued a statement that said the action was “a victory for tens of thousands of people across Iowa who had been permanently disenfranchised as a result of a felony conviction.” She called the ban “not only the harshest in the nation, but the racial impact of the law was undeniable.”
A link to the executive order can be seen under this story at www.1630kcjj.com.