Governor Reynolds To Restore Voting Rights To Felons
The Cedar Rapids Gazette is reporting that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will issue an executive order this fall that will restore the voting rights of felons who complete their sentences. Reynolds plans to sign the order before the election this fall according to sources with the ALCU of Iowa and Black Lives Matter of Des Moines.
Governor Reynolds made the pledge on Monday during a meeting with Black Lives Matter organizers, leaders with state chapters of the ALCU and NAACP, and state Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Des Moines. The Gazette reports that the meeting's attendees and discussion were confirmed by ACLU of Iowa director Mark Stringer and Black Lives Matter organizer Matthew Bruce. The governor's spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
The Gazette reports that Reynolds did not present any details of the executive order, including possible stipulations or how it would be done. The main point of the meeting was her pledge to have it issued prior to this fall's election.
Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack restored the voting rights of felons who complete their sentences with an executive order in 2005. Republican Governor Terry Branstad reversed that order in 2010. Since then, felons who had completed their sentences had to petition the governor to have their voting rights restored. Iowa is the only state in the nation that has that requirement.
Governor Reynolds had initially favored the restoration of voting rights for felons to take place by amending the Iowa Constitution, but that process could last up to three years. Her planned executive order will accomplish the same thing.