There is a proven fix for Iowa’s felon voting ban that has mistakenly rejected the ballots of law-abiding Iowans: Let felons vote once they’ve served their time, dozens of civil and legal groups say. It’s an idea Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ staff is reviewing with some key lawmakers in her party, a state senator said recently. Reynolds could make the change by executive order, but both the Republican senator and a Democratic House member said they want to look at legislative action to change the system in some way this year. “We need to talk about this in a way that gets rid of those pejorative attitudes about criminal reform that are just getting us stuck,” said Myrna Loehrlein, the chairwoman of a justice committee with the League of Women Voters of Iowa.
Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., automatically restore the voting rights of convicted felons or — in Maine and Vermont — never take them away, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group dedicated to assisting state legislatures.
Florida voters agreed Nov. 6 to amend their state’s constitution, leaving Iowa and Kentucky as the only remaining states that permanently ban felons from voting unless the governor or president individually restores them.