Iowa’s Republican Governor To Sign Executive Order Restoring Felon Voting Rights

Screengrab / Iowa PBS / Youtube

Sarah Shaiman

Ten percent of Iowa's African American population stands to have their voting rights restored with the executive order.

Governor Kim Renyolds (R-IA) said Tuesdays that she plans to sign an executive order restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions, according to a Hill Report.

  • This decision will restore voting rights to 60,000 people with felony convictions, as well as close to 10 percent of the state’s African American population.
  • Renyolds said, “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, and then I’ve got my legal team working on it.”
  • Officials with the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, and activists affiliated with the Des Moines chapter of Black Lives Matter claimed earlier that the governor said she will have restored voting rights before the November election; however, Renyolds did not personally confirm this until Tuesday.

“We have an important election coming up,” Reynolds said. “We’re working on the language to see what that looks like, but hopefully it would mirror what we would put in a constitutional amendment so that we could be consistent in what we’re trying to do.”

  • Reynolds has pushed state lawmakers numerous times to amend the Iowa constitution to restore felons’ voting rights upon the completion of their sentence, but the Republican legislature has repeatedly struck it down.

While lawmakers claimed the executive order will make a legislative solution unnecessary, Reynolds is seeking legislative action to ensure the change remains permanent. She seeks to put forth an executive order that would mirror parallel action from the state’s Congress.

The governor said she is not going to give up on a permanent solution to the issue of felon disenfranchisement. She said, “I just believe that’s the right thing to do and then it doesn’t matter who’s sitting in the governor’s chair.”

Read the full report here.


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