Iowa Felons With Restored Voting Rights Are Not Using Them
Governor Kim Reynolds this summer signed an executive order restoring the voting rights of some 35,000 felons (not convicted of homicide or related crimes) in Iowa who have completed their sentences. It took years of teeter-tottering in the Iowa legislature to make that very controversial restoration possible.
In 2005, then-Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order restoring felon voting rights. Governor Terry Branstad rescinded that order in 2011. Reynolds broke from Branstad on her willingness to restore felon voting rights, but after working with state lawmakers to officially amend the state constitution on the issue and make it more permanent, she simply issued another executive order this past August.
After all that, the Cedar Rapids Gazette says officials are concerned that a disappointingly low number of those with restored voting rights are actually taking advantage of it, and furthermore, they're concerned about why.
Only 2,500 of those 35,000 had even registered as of mid-October. Registering, of course, is only the first step. It seems likely that the main hurdle is that many are still confused about their actual voting rights and processes.
If an individual in these circumstances needs help navigating their eligibility to register and vote, they can visit this website set up by the Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate's office. Another website, called YouCanVoteIowa gives more explanatory information, stating that "as of August 5, 2020, most Iowans convicted of a felony can vote, as long as their conviction wasn't a felony under Code 707, which involves crimes of murder, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide and others". The other requirement for eligibility is:
You have discharged your sentence, meaning you're not incarcerated, on probation, parole, or supervised release or not subject to a special sentence.