Iowa to simplify one of most restrictive processes to restore felon voting rights in country

Iowa to simplify one of most restrictive processes to restore felon voting rights in country

Iowa is implementing a new process that will make it easier for felons who have completed their sentences to regain their voting rights.

Beginning Thursday, felons who have finished their sentence or parole will be given a mostly completed application needed to restore their voting rights, the Des Moines Register reported.

"It’s going to be all auto-populated for them so they don’t have to go back and look for old offenses and dates," Iowa Department of Corrections Director Beth Skinner told reporters Wednesday.

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"The only thing they’ll have to pull from is court fines and what they owe and if they had a deferment ... but other than that, it’s going to become easy so they don’t have to go back and dig up that information," she said.

While they will still be responsible for mailing the application in, Skinner added that officers at the prison will also help them fill out the remaining questions.

Iowa is one of the only states that has a blanket prohibition on felons voting without having their rights restored by the governor, according to the Register.

Kentucky is the only other state with a similar ban, but Andy Beshear, the Bluegrass State's newly elected Democratic governor, was expected to sign an executive order Thursday to restore voting rights to more than 100,000 felons.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has reportedly said she won't sign such an order, but has called for the blanket ban to be lifted. However, her proposal failed to pass Iowa's Legislature earlier this year.