Leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said this week they were encouraged by discussions with Gov. Terry Branstad that they hope will lead to changes designed to make it easier for thousands of convicted Iowa felons to get their voting rights restored.
At the start of his current term in January 2011, Branstad issued an executive order rescinding action in July 2005 by former Gov. Tom Vilsack that established a process that gave voting rights and right to hold public office to felons and those who committed aggravated misdemeanors. Branstad’s executive order requires felons to complete a lengthy application process if they want their voting rights restored that includes requirements that they submit a current credit report, provide the address of the judge who sentenced them to prison and other information.
“We find that very problematic. We think that flies in the face of democracy, but we are very much hopeful to work with this governor,” said Jotaka Eaddy, a special assistant to the NAACP national president in Washington, D.C. “It is really not about politics. It is about a fundamental right to vote.”
What’s your take? Are Iowa’s requirements for felons to regain their voting rights too restrictive?