Governor Reynolds’ Executive Order Restores Voting Rights for Many of Iowa’s Felons

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed an Executive Order that restores the voting rights for many of Iowa’s felons who have completed their sentences.

Reynolds signed the measure at the State Capitol Wednesday morning surrounded by some of the people who had long advocated for the change, like Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad and president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP Betty Andrews.

The Executive Order restores the voting rights for most felons who have discharged their sentence — meaning they’ve completed parole, probation, or supervised release and completed any special sentence imposed by chapter 903B.

It excludes those who have been found guilty of the state’s most serious crimes, specifically those found in Chapter 707 of Iowa Code. That includes homicide, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and involuntary manslaughter. Those felons can still petition the governor but their right to vote will not automatically be restored on the completion of their sentence.

Another part of the Executive Order also clarifies that full payment of restitution is not required for voting rights to be restored.

The governor also spoke about the need for a constitutional amendment to address the issue as her Executive Order could be overturned by the next governor of the state, as Gov. Tom Vilsack’s was overturned when Terry Branstad became governor again.

Reynolds said she will continue to work toward that goal.

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