GOP leaders likely to toughen voting rules for felons

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is on the same page as fellow Republican Governor-elect Terry E. Branstad when it comes to rescinding Executive Order 42, signed by former Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack on July 4, 2005.

Executive Order 42 removed the requirement that individuals convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor apply to have their right to vote restored. During the 2010 campaign, Branstad indicated that one of his first actions on his first day in office would be to rescind the order.

The Iowa constitution and the Iowa law code allow a convicted offender, through an application process initiated by the offender, the opportunity to regain their right to vote. Other items included in this process are serving their sentence, remitting to the state their fines, court costs and restitution.

The first step in the process to restore their right to vote must be the application filed by the offender.

“As Iowa’s chief election officer, I see significant benefit in reinstating the requirement that offenders make application to have their right to vote restored. Before an individual convicted of a crime in the state of Iowa should be considered to have their right to vote restored, they should make application and have completed their obligations to Iowa and the victims of the crime,” Schultz said.“Provisions are set forth in our laws for any convicted offender to obtain their right to vote. I strongly believe that these provisions need to be adhered to now and in the future. This will send a message to Iowa’s voters that their voting privilege is sacred and will not be compromised in any way.”