Confusion on voting rights of Iowa felons - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Confusion on voting rights of Iowa felons

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

Thousands of Iowans convicted of crimes will be ineligible to vote Tuesday under a policy imposed by Gov. Terry Branstad while others remain uncertain over whether they have voting rights because of confusing laws.

Branstad signed an executive order last year that reversed a policy started in 2005 by Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision.  The change made Iowa among four states where ex-felons must apply to have rights restored.

Applicants must submit proof that they've paid their restitution, answer 31 questions, and send in a criminal history check and credit report.

Branstad has restored voting rights for 10 people in recent months out of thousands who could be eligible.  Critics say many are deterred by the paperwork.

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