Iowa Legislature Wrestles with Voting Rights for Felons


DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Legislature is wrestling with the issue of voting rights for convicted felons.

A Senate committee passed a proposal this week to require felons to complete their sentences along with parole or probation, and pay any fines before being eligible to vote. That measure is tied to passage of a constitutional amendment restoring felon voting rights.

And Thursday, a House panel approved a plan to restore felon voting rights before the 2020 election. It's an amendment to a wide ranging election bill the House is currently considering.

Governor Kim Reynolds has called on the Legislature to create a constitutional amendment that would go before voters to restore felon voting rights .

Iowa is currently the only state that bars anyone convicted of a felony from voting, after Kentucky restored the rights of those convicted of nonviolent felonies in December.

Former Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack signed an executive order in 2005 restoring voting rights for all felons who have completed their sentences. That order was overturned by former Republican Governor Terry Branstad.


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