WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – A bill recently passing through the Iowa House of Representatives would restore voting rights to felons.
The bill passed 95-2 in the House. It is something Governor Kim Reynolds pledged to do during her Condition of the State Address in January.
Governor Reynolds called House Joint Resolution 14 a “victory for Iowans who deserve a second chance.” She continued to say in a statement that she’ll work with members of the senate to “move the process forward.”
“It’s a right, it’s an American right. Politicians affect the lives of everyday ordinary blues people, even those who are incarcerated, they’re still citizens,” said Abraham Funchess, leader of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission. He said he believes everyone should have the right to vote.
The proposed amendment reads that a person convicted of any felony who has not been discharged of his or her sentence cannot vote.
“Of course, a lot of them want to be able to vote, want to have a say in our democracy,” said Abe Copi, a third year law student at the University of Iowa. He works with those who might want to apply to get their voting rights back.
“Because something we encounter a lot is individuals come and they actually don’t know if their voting rights have been taken away or not, because there’s been some back and forth over the years through different governor executive orders about restoring rights,” Copi said.
Copi said a constitutional amendment could solve the issue once and for all.
The bill has been sent to a committee. It must make it out of committee and through the Senate before making it to the governor’s desk.