Aug 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Iowa governor signs order restoring voting rights to some felons

Kim Reynolds

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed Wednesday an executive order restoring voting rights to some Iowans with felony records, the Des Moines Register reports.

Why it matters: It had been the last state in the country to bar all felons from voting, unless they applied for a special exception from the governor's office.

  • The new order grants the right to vote to felons who have completed their prison sentence, parole and probation — but it excludes individuals charged with certain serious crimes, including murder or sexual abuse.
  • It will restore voting rights to approximately 60,000 Iowans, including 1 in 10 Black adults.
  • Any required restitution will not need to be paid back in total in order for an individual to regain their voting rights.

Between the lines: Shifting laws on felon voting rights isn't a quick process, but officials will have just three months to make the change before the 2020 elections.

What to watch: Reynolds is calling for an amendment to Iowa's constitution in order to permanently enact the change.

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