Iowa Secretary Of State Announces New Initiative to Review 90,000 Felony Records

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a new initiative involving the state’s felon database. 

“Our goal is to make sure every eligible voter in Iowa has an opportunity to vote, and we want to make sure that our process ensures the voter of just that,” said Pate.

The initiative involves a complete review of the 90,000 files in the database to ensure that no one is included that shouldn’t be, inclusion on the list would prevent an individual from voting. Iowa is one of two states that does not allow convicted felons to do so.

“When it comes to the felon issue, we want to make sure that our records are up to date and they are accessible, and that our local election officials are there to make their voting experience happen,” said Pate. 

This initiative will be funded through the Help America Vote Act which will pay for additional staff to review all the files in the current database. The Secretary’s office has also elicited the help of the state’s Judicial Branch and all 99 county auditors.

The ACLU has come out in support of this initiative but it’s still calling on the state to move forward with a constitutional amendment to allow felons who have served time to vote. 

“Our goal is to continue to work to end felony disenfranchisement in our state and to ensure that everyone has the right to vote, and that eligible voters should be able to vote. And we believe that people who've been convicted of a felony after they've served their time, should also have the right to vote,” said Mark Stringer executive director of ACLU of Iowa. 

The secretary’s goal is to complete the review before the November 3rd, elections.

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