In Iowa, the law regarding which people with past criminal convictions can and cannot vote has been confusing. Whether a person can vote depends on the date they completed their sentence, whether their felony conviction was in Iowa state court, Federal court, or another state’s court, and whether they have paid their fines, fees, and restitution. Some people have had their voting rights restored already and may not know it. Others will have to file an application with the governor to restore their right to vote – a process that many do not know about and the requirements for which have varied over the years. As a result, many Iowans with past convictions who are eligible to vote or restore their vote simply do not know that they can participate.
Based on the most recent estimates Iowa’s law disenfranchises over 52,000 people in the state: 2.17% of the entire statewide voting-age population but nearly 10% of the adult black voting-age population. The good news is that every Iowan who has completed serving their sentence has a path to voting rights restoration.
Campaign Legal Center’s Restore Your Vote campaign is currently working in Iowa to help people with felony convictions restore their voting rights, train community leaders on the rights restoration process, and break down the false notion that a felony conviction means you can never vote again. We have three organizers who are available to provide assistance and trainings around the state. To get in touch, please contact us at [email protected].
If you are an Iowa resident who wants to understand your voting rights, click here to access our tool.
Meet a voter who we helped in Iowa: