Reynolds announces new simplified form to restore felons’ voting rights

A new application opened today for Iowans convicted of felonies. It no longer mandates an application fee or background check.


Joseph Cress

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during her first Condition of the State address in the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

Julia DiGiacomo, Politics Reporter

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a new application Tuesday with which Iowans convicted of felonies can apply to restore their voting rights.

The new form no longer requires a $15 application fee, background check, or collection of financial documentation. The form can be accessed online.

RELATED: Iowa’s road to restoring the right to vote to felons

In a Tuesday press conference, Reynolds announced that the Governor’s Office will strive to grant or deny all received applications within a month. The Iowa Department of Corrections and local Community Based Corrections districts will disperse the forms to Iowans discharged from probation, parole, or prison.

“Iowans believe in second chances and we should help those individuals who want to re-enter society by restoring their voting rights, offering in-demand training, or encouraging additional education,” Reynolds said in a release. “But we also must remember the victims and their families. Their voices continue to be heard as we balance felon rights with forgiveness and another chance at life.”

Iowa is currently one of 12 states in the U.S. that indefinitely bars voting participation for felons unless they are granted by the governor or president. 

RELATED: Bill restoring felon voting rights advances in Iowa Legislature

A bill moving through the Iowa Legislature would amend the constitution to allow Iowans convicted of felonies to have their voting rights restored once they complete their sentence. Reynolds first announced her goal of a constitutional amendment to restore felon voting rights in her Condition of the State Address in January.

A resolution to amend the constitution unanimously passed the Iowa House Judiciary Committee March 6 and is now eligible for debate on the floor.