A billboard recently unveiled near the Iowa capitol is part of a campaign to make it easier for convicted felons to restore their right to vote.
The NAACP Iowa State Conference is advocating for “restoring the votes of people with former felony convictions who have completed all the terms of their sentences,” according to Jessica Neal of the NAACP.
Neal said the application to restore voting rights in Iowa has been streamlined and simplified, with requirements such as credit history checks removed.
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia require people convicted of a felony to lose voting rights. Iowa is one of four states in which that right is permanently forfeited upon felony conviction, although application can be made to have voting rights restored.
“The NAACP hopes that the billboard also serves as a reminder for people formerly convicted of felonies to continue to seek restoration of rights under the new application process,” Neal said.
“The faces on the billboard represent millions of citizens whose voices are silenced because of past felony convictions,” said Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Senior Director for Voting Rights. “These are parents, taxpayers, students, employees, and in some cases employers who are expected to reintegrate and function normally in a society where they cannot cast a vote.”
The NAACP launched its “Restore the Votes” campaign in October 2012.