QC Interfaith campaigns to restore voting rights for felons who’ve completed their sentence

Published: Feb. 17, 2020 at 9:26 PM CST
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Several social service organizations from across Iowa met in Des Moines on Monday advocating to end felony disenfranchisement.

Quad Cities Interfaith joined organizations like the NAACP and ACLU at the capitol for its Voting Rights Restoration Lobby Day.

Iowa is the only state that

unless they have approval from the governor.

TV6 spoke to one of the QC Interfaith members, Kent Ferris, who campaigned to House and State Representatives in Des Moines on Monday.

“They lobbying day’s focus was on restoring voting rights,” Ferris said. “In Iowa, there are approximately 52,000 people who do not have the right having had a felony charge against them. Our hope is to be able to restore those voting rights to those who are no longer in prison who are back in society with us.”

Quad Cities Interfaith says voting could encourage ex-felons to be more active in their communities.

A few previously incarcerated Iowans spoke at the lobby day in Des Moines on Monday.

“Ultimately those three testimonials were the most powerful,” said Ferris. “They have been affected the most by it. They had a very strong message. I too know of folks who are returning citizens and have tried walking with them as they return to society. They would benefit from having these rights restored.”

Ferris said the state of Iowa makes it difficult for previously incarcerated felons to vote after they’ve served their time.

“The state of Iowa is the only state in the union who has these barriers in place for those who have had felonies,’ he said. “The hope is that a clean bill could make its way both through the senate and the house. It would need to occur in two consecutive legislative sessions. Then ultimately become a part of the constitution.”

Ferris said both Democrats and Republicans at the capitol seemed to be in favor of restoring the voting rights for previously incarcerated Iowans. During the last legislative session, Ferris said the house voted 97-2 in support of making the change to the constitution.