The Iowa Legislature failed to take the necessary steps ahead of an April 5 policy deadline to allow offenders who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote in our elections.
House Joint Resolution 14 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and was up for further consideration until the majority party on Senate Judiciary Committee declined to vote on it prior to the second funnel deadline.
The resolution proposed an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would allow felons who have completed their sentences to vote.
Iowa is one of only two states that automatically strips a person of the right to vote for the rest of their life if they are convicted of any felony, even after completing their sentence.
It is important to note that Iowa’s law requires that victims be paid restitution. Restoring felon voting rights will not in any way impact that requirement.
Amendments to the Iowa Constitution must pass two successive General Assemblies and then go to a vote of the people.
Thus, it will still be several years before felons can regain the right to vote in Iowa.