DES MOINES, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that before the Iowa caucuses in February, her administration will review the complete backlog of felons who have applied to have their voting rights restored.
Iowa is the only state in the country that permanently bans convicted felons from voting, unless they appeal to the governor. Reynolds said there are currently 347 people with felony records who have applied for the process.
“We have made the commitment to get them done prior to the February caucuses,” said Reynolds. “We’ll do everything we can to get them through the process and get them reviewed and give them an answer one way or the other.”
Reynolds has been an advocate for the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences. She proposed a constitutional amendment during the 2019 legislative session, but it was opposed by Republican lawmakers and did not pass the Senate. Reynolds has resisted using an executive order to change the law, saying she wants to provide a permanent solution that cannot be changed by a governor.
Passing the amendment will be a legislative priority again for Reynolds in the 2020 session, which begins on Jan. 13.