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Press Release

Brennan Center Statement on Executive Order Restoring Voting Rights to Iowans with Past Criminal Convictions

Iowa was the last state in the nation to still permanently and categorically ban people with past convictions from voting.

August 5, 2020

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2020

Contact: Julian Brookes,, 646–673–6224

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds has issued an executive order restoring voting rights to tens of thousands of Iowans who have past criminal convictions. Iowa had been the last state in the country with a policy of permanently and categorically banning people from voting because of past convictions.

Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel with the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:

“Today, Iowa finally shed a policy that kept many Iowans from participating fully in our democracy.

“Tens of thousands of Iowans with past convictions are working, paying taxes, and raising families. They now have a voice in our democracy – and both Iowa and America are better for it.

“Disenfranchising people with criminal convictions is a vestige of Jim Crow laws. As of today, this shameful policy has no place in the United States.”

More on voting rights restoration efforts in Iowa here.