The court ruled Thursday that felonies result in disenfranchisement under the Iowa Constitution, which bars voting by those convicted of “infamous crimes”.
The plaintiff, Kelli Griffin, was convicted of a drug-related offense in 2008.
She registered to vote in 2013 and voted that November, but her ballot was rejected due to her felony conviction. “This is the community standard expressed by our Legislature and is consistent with the basic standard we have used over the years”.
Cady wrote that he now sees little evidence to support that practice, saying the constitutional provision originated from common law that generally regards all felonies as infamous.
The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the state’s longstanding policy of barring felons from voting unless their rights are restored by the governor.
With Thursday’s decision, Iowa’s law remains one of the harshest in the country, joining Florida and Kentucky as the only states that permanently block felons’ right to vote, even after they have completed their sentences. The jury deliberated for less than 40 minutes before acquitting Griffin. Pate says he applauds the court for ruling that under the state’s constitution “felons lose their voting privileges.: Pate says the “goes in line with 150 years of precedence and has been reaffirmed by the people of Iowa and their elected representatives on many occasions”. That interpretation was overturned by the Iowa Supreme Court in a 2014 ruling.
The case had been brought by the ACLU, part of a nationwide effort to challenge bans on voting by ex-felons, which disenfranchise almost six million Americans.
His opponent argued that it should: Bisignano had pleaded guilty to second-offense OWI, which is an aggravated misdemeanor that carried a penalty of prison time and met the case-law definition of an infamous crime.
“The crime must be classified as particularly serious, and it must be a crime that reveals that voters who commit the crime would tend to undermine the process of democratic governance through elections”, he wrote. ME and Vermont even lets them vote while in prison. Civil-liberties advocates had hoped the case would result in majority being able to vote in November, when Iowa might be a swing state in the presidential election.
That process came to a halt in 2011, however, when Republican Gov. Terry Branstad returned to office and immediately rescinded Vilsack’s order.
Until two years ago, the law was interpreted even more harshly, encompassing some people who had committed misdemeanors as well, unless they had completed their sentences as successfully petitioned the governor.
The issue of felon voting has become a political football in Iowa.
More than 56,000 felons have been disqualified from participating in elections in Iowa.
“Why shouldn’t we be able to vote for who is on our school board, for who is the president of the United States, or who is our governor?”