Civil Rights Organizations to IA Governor Reynolds: Restore the Voting Rights of Formerly Incarcerated Iowans ImmediatelyQuad Cities Interfaith & Advancement Project National Office Demand Action to Ensure All Voters Can Safely Participate in IA Elections
Amber Bordolo, [email protected]
Jeralyn Cave, [email protected]
DES MOINES, Iowa – Today, Quad Cities Interfaith, EXPO (EX-Incarcerated People Organizing) QC, and Advancement Project National Office delivered a letter to Iowa Governor Kimberly Reynolds requesting the immediate restoration of voting rights for people convicted of felonies as soon as they leave prison or begin probation, parole, or other community supervision. The letter asks the Governor to do so by signing an executive order automatically restoring voting rights to those with prior felony convictions and supporting an amendment to the Iowa constitution automatically restoring voting rights. Iowa remains the only state in the nation to permanently disenfranchise people with felony convictions. The state disproportionately disenfranchises Black residents excluding nearly 1 in 10 Black Iowans.
“We at Quad Cities Interfaith and Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing QC (EXPO QC) believe in the power of restoration and societal reintegration after individuals have served their sentence. The basic right to vote has been eliminated for many Iowans because of the back and forth nature of administrations on whether to restore permanently the right to vote or continue to deny the citizens of Iowa that basic right,” said Dwayne Hodges, Executive Director of EXPO QC. “We hope the Governor will sign an executive order to restore voting rights to all Iowans with felonies in the state. We hope she will make this a blanket restoration without any stipulations that will exclude many that want to exercise this basic right as a U.S. Citizen and resident of Iowa. This is a long time coming and we hope that Governor Reynolds signs the executive order immediately to allow those disenfranchised people the right to hold their head up during this election year and for many years to come.”
The joint letter requests the Governor’s executive order restore voting rights regardless of a voter’s offense or outstanding Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) including fines, fees restitution and court costs.
“Felony disenfranchisement is a legacy of Jim Crow and other racist policies designed to prevent Black people from building political power,” Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “Ahead of elections that will determine the direction of the state and the nation, Governor Reynolds should restore the voting rights of those who have been disenfranchised at the hands of white supremacy.”
Read the full advocacy letter here: Iowa Rights Restoration Letter.
Quad Cities Interfaith (QCI) is a non-profit organization of 29+ congregations and community groups whose purpose is to build local leadership and address community issues in the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa. QCI strives to improve the quality of life in our region by developing community leadership in congregations and other institutions, so as to bring our values into public dialogue, and work together to speak with a strong, unified voice in the decisions that affect our lives. Visit www.qcinterfaith.org
Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org
EXPO (EX-Incarcerated People Organizing) works to end mass incarceration, eliminate all forms of structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restore formerly incarcerated people to full participation in the life of our communities.