IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- A review by The Associated Press shows Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has made Iowa one of the most difficult states in the U.S. for felons to exercise their right to vote.
When he took office last year, Branstad signed an order reversing a six-year policy started by Democrat Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. Felons now must go through a monthslong application process that critics call burdensome.
Records show less than a dozen felons have successfully navigated the process since it took effect 18 months ago. Branstad's office has denied a handful of others because of incomplete paperwork or unpaid court costs.
Roughly 8,000 felons have finished prison sentences or been released from community supervision in that time.
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