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Iowa governor signs felon voting law

[JURIST] Iowa Governor Tom Vislack [official profile] Monday made good on a promise to restore voting rights to convicted felons once their sentences has been served. Last month he announced he would sign [JURIST report] an executive order to automatically restore voting privileges [official press release] on July 4. Previously, offenders had to apply to the governor's office to be allowed to vote again. Vislack denied privileges to 836 of the 3,501 who applied, largely because of outstanding court costs or attorney's fees. Iowa becomes the 46th state to allow automatic reinstatement of voting privileges; an estimated 50,000 Iowans are now eligible to vote. But since the action is an executive order and not a law, a future governor can overturn it with another order. President Bush signed similar legislation as governor of Texas in 1997 and called for re-integration of ex-felons into society during the 2004 State of the Union address. The Des Moines Register has more.

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