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GOP Iowa governor to restore voting rights to felons via executive order
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)/(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

GOP Iowa governor to restore voting rights to felons via executive order

Gov. Kim Reynolds plans action after Black Lives Matter demanded this week that she issue the order

Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that she would soon issue an executive order restoring the voting rights of felons in the state, following a meeting with Black Lives Matter activists who demanded that she take such action.

However, Reynolds had been pushing for the Iowa legislature to take up the issue long before Black Lives Matter ordered her to make the move.

What are the details?

On Friday, Des Moines Black Lives Matter wrote an open letter, saying, "Today, organizers from Des Moines BLM met with Governor Kim Reynolds to discuss our demand that the Governor issue an executive order to immediately reinstate the voting rights of every Iowan who has been convicted of a felony."

Gov. Reynolds announced Tuesday that she would do just that. During an interview with Radio Iowa, Reynolds said, "We're working on that right now, sitting down with various groups, listening to what they think is important what is contained in that executive order."

The outlet reported, "Reynolds has met twice with the Black Lives Matter protesters to discuss using her executive authority to grant felon voting rights and she said things were 'a little bumpy' at the beginning."

The governor added, '"We have an important election coming up. We're working on the language to see what that looks like, but hopefully it would mirror what we would put in a constitutional amendment so that we could be consistent in what we're trying to do."

According to the Des Moines Register:

For the past two years, Reynolds has pushed the Legislature to approve an amendment to the state constitution to make the process of regaining voting rights automatic once felons have completed their sentences. But Republicans in the Iowa Senate killed the proposal each year. On Sunday, the Legislature adjourned without the Senate taking a vote on the measure.

Senate Republicans said they did not approve the constitutional language because it appeared that Reynolds planned to sign an executive order, making the amendment unnecessary.

The Hill reported that "Iowa is the sole remaining state that requires felons to apply individually to the governor's office to have their voting rights restored. This currently restricts more than 60,000 residents and close to 10 percent of the state's African American population from voting."

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