Gov. Reynolds Seeking to Restore Felons’ Voting Rights

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State Address Tuesday since being elected in November.

Part of the governor’s speech continued something she’s talked about from her own life experiences -- second chances.

She overcame drunk driving and alcohol addiction.

As governor, she's pushing lawmakers to help her give felons the right to vote again and make the process easier.

The governor laid out her ideas in a 45-minute speech in the House chamber Tuesday morning.

She talked about how rare Iowa's current policy is, where a felon serves time, works toward the restitution process, and then petition's the governor for the right to vote again.

She wants voters to weigh in with a constitutional amendment to guarantee voting rights again, rather than leaving the decision up to a governor.

“Through the power of clemency, the governor can restore those rights, and I have done that 88 times since taking office. But I don`t believe that voting rights should be forever stripped, and I don`t believe restoration should be in the hands of a single person,” said Reynolds.

Democrat Tom Vilsack issued an executive order when he was governor to essentially accomplish what Reynolds is now talking about. But Republican Terry Branstad canceled that when he was elected again.

Reynolds could issue a new order, but instead wants the constitutional amendment where voters decide.

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