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‘I Believe Iowans Believe in Redemption,’ Iowa Governor Says After Failed Effort to Change Constitution

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds vowed Tuesday that she will try again next year to convince state legislators to back her push for a constitutional amendment so that convicted felons can automatically have a process to get their voting rights restored.

“Of course, I was disappointed,” Reynolds said as she acknowledged that the Senate–despite having an overwhelming 32 to 18 Republican majority–declined to support her public call for the constitutional change.

The House previously passed the measure 95 to 2.

“I believe Iowans believe in second chances,” Reynolds said as she promised to push again next year for the change.

She said she will not issue an executive order, which could have also established the automatic restoration process. Reynolds maintains that the executive order would not provide the permanent provisions like a constitutional amendment would. Previous Democrats, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, issued executive orders, but Republican Terry Branstad rescinded the guarantees that the executive orders provided.

Consecutive legislatures would have to approve the constitutional amendment efforts before voters could weigh in on the matter. That means it would be at least 2021 before that could happen.

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