BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order to restore felon voting rights, but said the move needed to be made permanent.
At a press conference announcing the executive order, Reynolds said she was still going to push for a permanent restoration of felon voter rights.
“An executive order is at best a temporary solution. It can be changed by a stroke of a pen by the next governor, which is not good enough.”
The order requires that Iowans with felonies complete in prison, probation, parole or special sentencing requirements, and requires those who committed felony homicides to still individually apply for voting restoration.
Reynolds thanked legislators, the NAACP, ACLU, Americans For Prosperity and advocates for working to move both chambers of the Legislature on a permanent solution, even though that hasn’t been realized yet.
She said at this point, the order is the right thing to do and makes a difference allowing a lot of people to participate in the election process.
“It boils down to our fundamental belief in redemption and second chances,” she said.
Reynolds created a task force lead by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg to keep working on issues of racial profiling with a goal of making recommendations by October for her program next year.
“We cannot ignore how negatively and significantly the current process has impacted the lives of so many Iowans of color,” she said.
Iowa was the only state in the country that prohibits a convicted felon from voting or holding public office for life unless they petition the governor.
Reynolds said she will continue to fight for an amendment to the state’s constitution and has delayed signing the executive order through the legislature as she pushed for a permanent change over the temporary resolution.