PEW STATELINE – By Lindsey Van Ness – August 31, 2020
More than ever, Eric Harris is mindful of the elected officials around him: The school board members deciding whether his children will go back to the classroom, the sheriff influencing how officers interact with people like him, and the U.S. president steering the country’s coronavirus response.
This year has given Harris lots of reasons to vote. And this year, he can.
With three felonies on his record, the 41-year-old had been barred from voting in Iowa — the last state that had permanently banned people convicted of felonies from voting without the governor’s approval — until an executive order from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in early August changed that. “It means a lot to me,” Harris said.
In every state except Maine and Vermont, people convicted of felonies are stripped of their voting rights while in prison. In most states, that ban extends to those on probation or parole, while some states have additional time and fee requirements, disenfranchising millions of people. More . . .