Iowa Governor Restores More Felons' Voting Rights

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By Richard Pratt

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad restored voting rights to more felons in 2013 than the prior two years combined, but thousands of others remain disenfranchised under a 2011 policy change he ordered.

Data released by the governor's office to The Associated Press shows Branstad restored the right to vote and hold public office to 21 offenders in 2013, compared to 17 in 2012 and two in 2011.

The increase comes after the governor's office made the application process easier in December 2012 in response to criticism from voting rights groups, who argued it was too onerous.

But it is a fraction of the 25,000 offenders who finished their sentences for felonies or aggravated misdemeanors between January 2011 and this month. Prior to Branstad's 2011 executive order, they would've automatically regained their rights.

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