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Iowa governor signs executive order restoring felon voting rights

(KWWL) — Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Wednesday an executive order that will automatically restore voting rights to some convicted felons.

Reynolds announced back in June that she planned to sign the executive order before the November general election. Iowa is currently the only state that does not give felons voting rights, requiring them to seek approval from the governor.

Several lawmakers insisted on exclusions for people convicted of more serious crimes, such as murder, and that felons be required to pay all victim restitution before they could vote.

For more than a decade, voting rights for felons has been a confusing policy.

In 2011, then Gov. Terry Branstad signed an executive order that required felons to petition for their voting rights to be restored. That action countered an executive order by Governor Tom Vilsack, that restored rights to more than 50,000 felons. So if you were a felon who'd been released from prison prior to 2011, you could still vote. However, if you got out in 2011 then you couldn't.

The executive order Reynolds signed Wednesday will reverse the one by Branstad. The governor said it was vital to restore those rights ahead of election day in November.

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