The Last State With a Lifetime Voting Ban for People With Felony Records Just Reinstated Their Rights

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The erosion of voting rights across the country is a chilling fact of our moment, exacerbated by the pandemic and a president whose administration is doing all it can to weaken ballot access and throw fair elections into question. But there’s good news out of Iowa: The governor signed an executive order yesterday reinstating the voting rights of almost everyone who’d completed a felony sentence.

Iowa, the last state with a lifetime voting ban of this kind, joins the rest of the country, an overdue moment but cause for celebration. The executive order is “at best a temporary solution,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said, and “something that is fundamentally right should not be based on benevolence of a single elected official.” The order follows public pressure from advocates and Des Moines Black Lives Matter activists, and it’s a “tribute to the legacy of Congressman [John] Lewis,” said Democratic state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, one of the state’s few Black lawmakers.

If you vote in Iowa, do you think this will fundamentally change any upcoming elections in your state? Share your thoughts at recharge@motherjones.com.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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