Felon voting rights remain a controversial reform among many but the truth remains that mass incarceration of Americans is historically tied to the nation’s history of slavery. Now good news is coming on this front from an unexpected corner in an article on Radio Iowa by O. Kay Henderson:
“A lot of times what we end up doing is we create a second tier or a second class of citizens and that in and of itself creates problems,” Klein said. “That contributes to the cycle of recidivism that ultimately creates new victims and imposes recurring costs on taxpayers as well.”
The new, one-page application to the governor for voting rights restoration is being presented to felons as they exit prison. Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP, said the governor is taking important steps to give more Iowans access to the political process. “But that doesn’t also mean that we are not very much interested in an executive order for voting,” Andrews said, “because we do think that is important in the interim.”
“Restoring voting rights is more than a trip to the ballot box,” Reynolds said. “It really resurrects dignity and begins re-entry into life as a contributing member of our communities.”
Radio Iowa has the full story. You can also see more on this subject at either the Democracy Chronicles felon voting archive or African-American Voting Rights. Also see our main section on American Democracy and our Voter Access articles focusing more broadly on the ease of voting and the various barriers in the way.