The Last State With a Lifetime Voting Ban for People With Felony Records Just Reinstated Their Rights

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The erosion of voting rights across the country is a chilling fact of our moment, exacerbated by the pandemic and a president whose administration is doing all it can to weaken ballot access and throw fair elections into question. But there’s good news out of Iowa: The governor signed an executive order yesterday reinstating the voting rights of almost everyone who’d completed a felony sentence.

Iowa, the last state with a lifetime voting ban of this kind, joins the rest of the country, an overdue moment but cause for celebration. The executive order is “at best a temporary solution,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said, and “something that is fundamentally right should not be based on benevolence of a single elected official.” The order follows public pressure from advocates and Des Moines Black Lives Matter activists, and it’s a “tribute to the legacy of Congressman [John] Lewis,” said Democratic state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, one of the state’s few Black lawmakers.

If you vote in Iowa, do you think this will fundamentally change any upcoming elections in your state? Share your thoughts at

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