Government

Applications to restore felons' voting rights sent to 3,000 Linn County residents

Those convicted of felonies now have streamlined application process

“I voted” buttons lay in a bowl on the voting machine in Coralville, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
“I voted” buttons lay in a bowl on the voting machine in Coralville, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Auditor’s Office has mailed letters to about 3,000 residents with felonies who have completed probation or parole and may be eligible to have their voting rights restored.

The effort by the auditor’s office is in response to a move by the governor’s office to streamline applications for restoring voting rights. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last month that applications would be reduced from three pages to one and the background check and associated $15 fee would also be eliminated.

Iowa is only one of two states that require people convicted of felonies to petition the governor to have their voting rights restored after their sentences are complete. The other is Kentucky.

Linn County’s mailer included an application and an envelope addressed to the governor’s office. Any residents who submit the application and receive a restoration certificate can then register to vote.

While the application process is now simpler, a proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights for felons stalled in the Iowa Legislature this year after failing to meet a key deadline.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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