Felons in Iowa would be allowed to register to vote after completing their prison sentences, probation and parole under a proposed constitutional amendment Gov. Kim Reynolds released Tuesday. Reynolds proposed restoring felon voting rights in her Condition of the State address last week. Iowa is one of two states that permanently bar felons from voting unless they successfully petition the governor or president to restore their rights. To be enacted, the proposal would need to pass the Legislature twice and then be approved by voters. “I do think Iowans are at a place that they believe that this is the right direction to go, but ultimately, they’ll be the ones to have a say in that,” Reynolds said.
The text of the amendment would change Article II, Section 5, of the Iowa Constitution to read:
“Sec. 5. Disqualified persons. A person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote or a person convicted of any felony who has not discharged his or her sentence shall not be entitled to the privilege of an elector.”
That would make felons eligible to vote once they have completed their sentences, which is defined by the Iowa Legislature and currently includes probation and/or parole.