A bipartisan bill that would restore voting rights to Iowa felons who have completed their criminal sentences moved forward Monday in the Iowa House. Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Chariton, co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton. They both agreed to move the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee. “I agree there should be a process as far as for allowing folks who have served their time, who have paid their restitution, for nonviolent felons to be reintegrated back into society, to give them a second chance, to reenfranchise them as far as their voice at the voting booth,” Heartsill says.
Iowa is one of four states that does not automatically allow felons to vote after they have completed their sentences.
Iowans convicted of a felony can apply to have their voting rights restored by the governor. But the process is complex, and the ACLU estimates nearly 6 percent of adults in the state will lose the ability to vote as a result.