Letter: Iowa should restore voting rights to felons

Myrna Loehrlein

In a democracy, the right to vote belongs to every adult citizen — period. It is not a privilege that can be regulated or withdrawn by the law, it is a right. Iowa has forgotten that.

Some of our citizens have broken the law in serious ways. Some of our citizens have committed acts that our legislature has defined as a felony. But they are still citizens. Our current law allows one citizen, our governor, to decide whether or not another citizen can exercise his or her absolute right to vote. Our current law, which allows restoration of rights only by approval of the governor, is confusing, against the very base of democracy, and suppresses votes.

The decision of the Supreme Court not to single-handedly solve this issue sends an important message to all Iowans. Not only did the court speak hard truth in interpreting our current law, they gave us a big hint about how to fix the situation. The court’s decision said the situation could be rectified through legislative action.

The League of Women Voters of Linn County calls on the legislature to do just that. Iowa has so much to be proud of in the way we govern ourselves, but the “infamous” crime section must be changed or reinterpreted. We call on the legislature to put an end to this suppression of voting rights. Take action at the earliest possible moment to insure that all Iowa citizens can fully exercise their rights of citizenship.

Myrna Loehrlein

Cedar Rapids

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