An Iowa mum who lost her voting rights in 2008 due to a nonviolent drug conviction has filed a lawsuit with the help of the ACLU to regain her right to vote.
On Election Day in 2013, Kelli Jo Griffin went to cast her vote in a city election in her small town in Iowa. Two months later, the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation showed up at her door and arrested her on charges of voter fraud.
Griffin had been told by her defence attorney that she would regain the right to vote after serving her probation. But unbeknownst to Griffin, Gov. Terry Branstad had signed a law that went into effect in 2011 and made Iowa one of only three states where people with a criminal conviction can lose their voting rights for life.
Griffin went to trial and was later acquitted by a jury of her peers, but she remains intent on changing the law so that she and others like her are allowed to vote.
“I’m not proud of some parts of my history, but I am proud that I managed to turn my life around and find happiness in my family, my accomplishments, and what I can now offer my community,” she wrote in a blog post. “We are productive members of society, so why aren’t we treated like it?”
The petition, Griffin v. Branstad, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Iowa. It names Gov. Terry Branstad, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, and Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise as defendants, and asks the court to declare that the Iowa Constitution prohibits the disenfranchisement of people convicted of lower-level felonies, according to an ACLU press release.
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