Media Contact

Veronica Lorson Fowler, ACLU of Iowa Communications Director

August 5, 2020

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer.

"We're pleased that finally tens of thousands of Iowans can now fully participate in their communities across Iowa. This is a victory for democracy in our state. Iowa no longer is the only state in the country to permanently and for life ban its citizens from voting following any felony conviction. 

"For almost a decade, Iowans with felony convictions were barred from voting, even after completing their sentences. Now, following probation and parole, these Iowans can once again register to vote and participate in elections for their children's school boards, for their city council members, for their state representatives, and more. 

"We're relieved that the Governor's order does not make eligibility to vote dependent on how much money a person has, that is, it's not contingent on paying off fees and fines or other associated debts.

"We are disappointed that those who have served the terms of their sentences for various forms of homicide were not included in the order. This category includes involuntary manslaughter, among others. We will continue to work to ensure that all Iowans who have completed their sentences can once again participate in the democracy that so profoundly affects them.

"While we're delighted that immediately so many Iowans are eligible to register and vote, it's important that we continue to pursue a more permanent fix to the problem of felony disenfranchisement in our state. Another governor could issue a different executive order to reverse this current executive order. That's why we'll continue to advocate for an amendment to the Iowa Constitution."