Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Senate Republicans have unveiled their proposed limitations if Iowa voters approve a constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights. The plan would still force those convicted of murder, manslaughter or certain sex crimes to apply to the governor to get their voting rights restored and it would force paroled felons to pay ALL their restitution before they’d get the right to vote.
Senator Dan Dawson is a Republican from Council Bluffs.
Opponents say linking voting rights to income is wrong. Currently, felons applying to the governor just have to show they’re keeping up with a payment plan to get their voting rights back. Heather Strachan with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa says she’s survived abuse and disagrees with the approach Senate Republicans are proposing. Strachan says she feels safer if her abuser is participating in society and getting the treatment he needs.
Iowa is now the only state in the country that does not automatically give felons the right to vote once they’ve completed their sentences. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has been pushing the Senate since last year to pass her proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights.