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Can a Felon Vote in Iowa?

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According to the Brennan Center for Justice, felons lose all their rights for life unless they can obtain approval by the government for voting rights restoration. According the Secretary of State’s website, an individual’s voter’s registration is cancelled if he is convicted of a felony crime in Iowa.

Voting rights may be reinstated by applying to the Governor’s Office once a felon has completed his sentence and any necessary parole, probation or supervised release. All restitutions, courts costs and fees must be paid as well prior to application. Unlike other states, felons do not automatically regain their rights and can re-register to vote upon release from prison.


Felon Voting Law in Iowa

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Iowa remains as just one of three states (Kentucky and Florida also bar rights), that imposes a lifetime ban on voting for felons, even after they have completed their sentences.

The ACLU in Iowa has coordinated its work with the Voter Registration Commission in the state to ensure that the voter registration form itself is clearer and more understandable to read. The organization successfully lobbied that certain wording be clarified regarding the voting rights of felons.

How a Felon in Iowa Can Restore Their Voting Rights

The electoral privileges of felons in Iowa are banned unless the person seeking reinstatement of his rights makes an application for restoration of voting to the state’s governor. In Iowa, a restoration of citizenship reinstates the right of an individual to hold public office or vote. The application for restoration of citizenship is not an application for a special restoration of rights (firearms), or an application for commutatation or pardon. If you wish to apply for a commutation, pardon or a special restoration of citizenship rights, you need to fill out and submit a different form. This form can be filled out by clicking on this link.

If you are applying to restore your voting rights, there is no application fee for receiving clemency. According to the application, anyone can apply for reinstitution of their voting rights or right to hold public office by filling out the application and signing it. All the questions should be answered in their entirety. A release form, which is an addendum to the application, should be signed and dated as well.

Supporting documents should be enclosed, including proof of payment of all fines, restitution and court costs. If the applicant is still paying off the costs, fines and restitution, then he should submit proof as well as an explanation for the non-payment of the fees. A current Iowa Criminal History Record should be included too.

Place the application and back-up details in an envelope and mail the information to – Legal Counsel, Governor’s Office, State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Make sure you keep a copy of the application and supporting paperwork. You can apply online and obtain all the details by following this link.

Other Resources For Felons in Iowa

Getting Started: If this is your first time to our website, we highly recommend that you visit our getting started page to understand everything we have to offer. You can do so by clicking here.

Jobs For Felons: If you’re a felon looking for a job in Iowa, we have all of the resources you need including job listings by city, companies that hire felons, and our own job board. Click Here to learn more.


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