Iowa Governor Signs Voting Rights Bill Requiring Restitution

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill Thursday that will allow convicted felons to get their voting rights back only after they have paid full restitution to victims. The bill becomes effective if the legislature passes a proposed constitutional amendment automatically restoring voting rights for convicted felons. Reynolds, who has pushed for restoration of felon voting rights, initially opposed Republican lawmakers’ efforts to pass the restitution requirement. However, she changed her position once GOP senators said they would not pass the constitutional amendment unless she agreed to the repayment requirement. It’s unclear if the bill will withstand a court challenge since a similar measure in Florida was struck down as unconstitutional.

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Gov. Reynolds signs Senate File 2348, compromise legislation to push felon voting constitutional amendment forward

DES MOINES – Thursday Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 2348, implementing legislation for HJR 14, a constitutional amendment that would restore felon voting rights upon discharge after completion of their sentences.

“By balancing the rights of victims and the importance of redemption, we can move forward with historic change for voting rights in Iowa,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This legislation allows us to implement our proposed constitutional amendment restoring the voting rights of Iowans who have completed serving their sentence. The right to vote is the cornerstone of being a part of any society, and I am proud of the broad coalition supporting this amendment.”

Iowa is the only state in the nation where all convicted felons lose their right to vote unless they apply to the Governor for restoration. In 2019 and again in 2020, Governor Reynolds called for a constitutional amendment to address this issue permanently.

S.F. 2348: an Act relating to the restoration of voting rights to certain convicted persons and including effective dare provisions.

 

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