Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that legislators should begin looking at revising the state constitution to allow felons who have served their time to regain their voting rights.
"I don't believe that voting rights should be forever stripped, and I don't believe restoration should be in the hands of a single person," Reynolds said in the annual Condition of the State address to lawmakers, according to The Hill. "I believe Iowans recognize the power of redemption."
Florida voted to amend their state's constitution to allow former felons the right to vote, as most states do. Only Kentucky permanently forbids felons from voting after they have completed their sentence. Although Iowa's former Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, restored former felons' right to vote through an executive order in 2005, former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who preceded Reynolds, rescinded it about six years later.
Iowa's constitution can be amended if two successive legislatures vote to pass a proposal, and that proposal is subsequently voted for by a majority of voters.
"I'm a recipient of second chances," Reynolds, who was arrested for drunk driving in 1999 and 2000, told The Des Moines Register last week. "I believe that people make mistakes and there's opportunities to change, and that needs to be recognized. So, it's something that I'm passionate about."
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