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Reynolds. Photo: Saul Loel/AFP via Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said on Tuesday she will issue an executive order before the November elections to restore voting rights for paroled felons in the state, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Iowa has grappled in recent years with its restrictive laws for felon voting access. But recent protests over criminal justice reform have highlighted the lifelong barriers to democracy that some citizens face after finishing their criminal sentences.

  • The Sentencing Project reports that 2.2% of adults in Iowa in 2016 were ineligible to vote due to past convictions, including 9.8% of African Americans in the state overall.

What she's saying: Reynolds stated, "We’re working on that right now, sitting down with various groups, listening to what they think is important, what is contained in that executive order," adding, "and then I’ve got my legal team working on it."

Yes, but: History shows that enacting felon voting reform isn't a quick fix, and the details of Reynolds' proposal are unclear. Reynolds signed a GOP-backed bill earlier this month excluding felons from restoring voting rights who'd committed certain serious crimes, including homicide and sexual offenses.

  • The bill also required felons to pay back restitution before regaining their right to vote, which can take years.
  • It's unknown if these carveouts will persist in Reynolds' executive order.

Go deeper: The sticky web of felon voting laws

Go deeper

Democrats' mail voting pivot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats spent the early months of the coronavirus pandemic urging their base to vote absentee. But as threats of U.S. Postal Service delays, Team Trump litigation and higher ballot rejection rates become clearer, many are pivoting to promote more in-person voting as well.

Why it matters: Democrats are exponentially more likely to vote by mail than Republicans this year — and if enough mail-in ballots are lost, rejected on a technicality or undercounted, it could change the outcome of the presidential election or other key races.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

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