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Felon voting rights restoration clears Iowa House panel

DES MOINES — The House Judiciary Committee’s chairman called it a “rare moment.”   Republicans and Democrats on the committee unanimously embraced a plan from Governor Kim Reynolds on felon voting rights on Wednesday night.

The proposed constitutional amendment would automatically restore the right to vote to felons who’ve completed their sentences. Backers hope the proposed amendment could be presented to voters in 2022.

Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton says House Republicans will meet soon to discuss how to legally define what sentence completion means.

“Because I believe the voters should know what they’re voting for,” Kaufmann told reporters this evening.

Kaufmann said he’s interested in keeping felons who’ve done time for murder, rape or child sex abuse from voting.

“I don’t think that certain classes of criminals should ever have the opportunity to get these rights back,” Kaufmann said.

Other Republicans have discussed requiring felons to pay any restitution to their victims before they’d be allowed to vote.



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