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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.

Go deeper

Voter suppression then and now

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Barry Lewis/Getty Images 

From its start, the United States gave citizens the right to vote — as long as they were white men who owned property. From counting a slave as 3/5 of a white man to the creation of the Electoral College, there's a through-line of barriers that extends to today based on racial politics.

Why it matters: 150 years after the 15th Amendment — and 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act — people of color still face systemic obstacles to voting.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

How racial politics still suppress the vote

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jeremy Hogan (SOPA Image), Noam Galai (WireImage)/Getty Images

Laws restricting voting are less overt than in the days of segregation. But many impediments — some subtle, some blatant — remain for Americans of color.

The big picture: That's changing at this very moment — slowly, and very unevenly.