Right to Vote
Executive Order 7 restores the right to vote for Iowans who have already completed their felony sentences and announces that Governor Reynolds will continue to do so on a daily basis for those who complete their sentence in the future. The Executive Order requires Iowans to complete any prison, probation, parole, or special sentence. And individuals who were convicted of felony homicide offenses are excluded from the restoration and must continue to individually apply for restoration.
Iowa offers online voter registration. You can register by mail to vote in Iowa by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person if you prefer.
To register in Iowa you must:
- be a citizen of the United States
- be a resident of Iowa
- be at least 17 (you must be 18 to vote)
- not have been convicted of a felony (or have met the conditions of Executive Order 7)
- not currently be judged by a court to be “incompetent to vote”
- not claim the right to vote in more than one place
Find more information on voting rights restoration here.
Pardons and Commutations
A pardon restores all rights lost due to a conviction, including the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and the right to possess a firearm. A pardon will not erase or expunge the record of conviction, but is placed on a criminal background sheet and relieves an individual from any further punishment imposed by reason of that conviction.
In Iowa, any person convicted of a felony in a state or federal court is prohibited from receiving, transporting, or possessing a firearm. The Governor has the authority to, in certain cases, restore those firearm rights.
Iowa now generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving a firearm or ammunition if he or she has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”1 This prohibition also applies to anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order.
Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants and Protective Order Defendants
In 2010, Iowa enacted a strong law addressing firearms in domestic violence situations. Like federal law, Iowa now generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving a firearm or ammunition if he or she has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”1 This prohibition also applies to anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order.2
A court hearing a proceeding for domestic abuse may enter any temporary ex parte order it deems necessary to protect a plaintiff from domestic abuse prior to a full hearing.3 A temporary order must specifically include notice that the person may be required to relinquish all firearms and ammunition upon the issuance of a permanent order.4 Upon a finding that a defendant has engaged in domestic abuse, the court may grant a protective order or approve a consent agreement that may contain provisions prohibiting the defendant from knowingly possessing, shipping, transporting or receiving firearms and ammunition.5
In Iowa, upon a conviction for domestic violence or issuance of a protective order, the court must inform the person who is the subject of the order or conviction that the person shall not possess, ship, transport, or receive a firearm, offensive weapon, or ammunition while the order is in effect or until the conviction is vacated or until the person’s rights have been restored under state law.6
Surrender of Firearms upon a Domestic Violence Conviction or When a Domestic Violence Protective Order Is Issued
A state court that enters a judgment of conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor or issues a domestic violence protective order and finds that the subject of the order or conviction is in possession of any firearm or ammunition must order the firearm or ammunition to be sold or transferred by a specific date to the custody of a qualified person in this state, as determined by the court.7 If the court is unable to identify a qualified person to receive the firearm or ammunition, the court must order that the firearm or ammunition be transferred by a specific date to the county sheriff or a local law enforcement agency designated by the court for safekeeping until a qualified person is identified to receive the firearm or ammunition, until the order is no longer in effect, until the conviction is vacated, or until the person’s rights have been restored. If the firearm or ammunition is to be transferred to the sheriff’s office or a local law enforcement agency, the court must assess the person the reasonable cost of storing the firearm or ammunition, payable to the county sheriff or the local law enforcement agency.8