Civil rights groups to pursue Iowa felony voting right law


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A coalition of civil rights, voting rights, and religious organizations plans to submit to the Iowa Legislature a bill that would automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of nonviolent felonies.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said Tuesday it’s coordinating the effort of 17 groups including the League of Women Voters, The Iowa-Nebraska NAACP and the Iowa Catholic Conference.

They plan to push lawmakers in January to pass a bill allowing automatic restoration of voting rights once a nonviolent felon completes a sentence. It wouldn’t require payment of court costs, fines and fees which ALCU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis equates to a poll tax.

Felons currently must apply to the governor for voting right restoration.

Gov. Terry Branstad’s office says Iowa’s policy is good and fair.

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