Branstad vs. Voting Rights

(Branstad is likely to sign this order soon after taking office. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Candidate Terry Branstad promised to make it harder for some people to vote. He wants to turn back the clock, reversing a national trend of thirteen years.

In the early days of the USA only property owners could vote. A hundred years later all barriers to voting were gone except the one that kept women away from the polls. Then new barriers were built against Blacks and felons, notably poll taxes and other tests that were unfairly applied.

Branstad thinks it terrible that everyone might be able to vote: “All of the sudden you're just going to make 50,000 people eligible to vote,” he fretted. Imagine that!  
(continues after the jump)

Branstad wants to get their money first: “We helped the clerk of courts offices collect a lot of money” by wringing court costs out of them.

We already are famous for putting blacks in prison in Iowa at thirteen times the rate of whites. We are the second worst in the nation by some charts.

Stopping felons from voting is the new way to keep blacks out of power, says Michelle Alexander:

Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.

With all the talk of “We the People” ringing in our ears, let's be sure we count every opinion and every vote. Don't go back to building barriers, Mr. Branstad.

cross posted at

  • Secretary of State Matt Schultz

    wrote to Branstad on January 12 asking him to rescind Vilsack’s order:

    Executive Order 42 removed the requirement that individuals convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor apply to have their right to vote restored.  Governor Thomas J. Vilsack signed this Executive Order on July 4, 2005.

    “As Iowa’s chief election officer, I see significant benefit in reinstating the requirement that offenders make application to have their right to vote restored,” said Secretary Schultz.  “Before an individual convicted of a crime in the state of Iowa should be considered to have their right to vote restored, they should make application and have completed their obligations to Iowa and the victims of the crime.”

    The Iowa Constitution and the Code of Iowa allow a convicted offender, through an application process initiated by the offender, the opportunity to regain their right to vote.  Other items included in this process are serving their sentence, remitting to the state their fines, court costs and restitution.  The first step in the process to restore their right to vote must be the application filed by the offender.

    “Provisions are set forth in our laws for any convicted offender to obtain their right to vote,” said Schultz.  “I strongly believe that these provisions need to be adhered to now and in the future.  This will send a message to Iowa’s voters that their voting privilege is sacred and will not be compromised in any way.”

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