Today Gov. Kim Reynolds' two companion bills were introduced that would amend the Iowa Constitution to allow automatic restoration of voting rights for more than 60,000 Iowans with felony convictions in their backgrounds.
Below is a statement from Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director.
“We’re glad to see Gov. Kim Reynolds moving forward on restoring voting rights to Iowans with a felony conviction and we endorse the Governor’s proposed amendment contained in the two companion bills introduced today, HSB 68 and SSB 1046.
The ACLU of Iowa endorses working toward a Constitutional Amendment. It’s a long process that can take years, but it is now the one, best way to permanently reverse this wrong. More than 60,000 Iowans cannot vote because of a felony conviction.
Barring people for life from voting has been destructive to our society. It’s gotten in the way of people reconnecting with their communities and becoming invested in them so that they can once again be productive, contributing citizens.
It’s also been disproportionately destructive to communities of color. Because of the complex web of racial disparities in our criminal justice system, 1 in 10 voting age African-American Iowans is now denied the right to vote because of a felony conviction.
It’s time to join nearly all the rest of the country in automatically restoring voting rights.”