Letters to the Editor

Restoring voter rights in Iowa is a priority

During the 2019 legislative session, Gov. Kim Reynolds supported a move to change the Iowa Constitution so that felons who have completed their sentences would have their voting rights restored. The effort was approved by the House but did not pass out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This coming session there will be more discussion and a possibility to approve HJR 14, but only if our state senators get the message that this is the right thing to do.

The only other state with such a restriction is Kentucky and the new governor has promised to restore voting rights by executive order within days. This will allow 100,000 Kentucky citizens to vote. Reynolds could also do an executive order to have 52,000 citizens able to vote. She thinks it would be more useful to change the constitution with an amendment so those voting rights are not left to the whim of a future governor. Why is it a good idea to have voting rights restored? These individuals pay taxes, work in our communities and can model good citizenship to their children by voting. They can experience the dignity that comes with participation in our democracy. Active citizenship reduces recidivism. The people of Iowa will vote on this process when it passes out of the Senate. Consider putting pressure on your state senator to give 52,000 Iowans a chance to become full voting citizens.

Bonnie Pitz

League of Women Voters of Iowa

Belle Plaine

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