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The Iowa Standard talked with Sen. Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs) after he managed a bill through the Iowa Senate that defines what discharge of sentence means in relation to automatic voter rights for felons.

“It’s only one step in the total process here,” Dawson said. “It was a big step today. But I guess one of the most disappointing things of the past 13 months is that while we’re trying to find some type of pathway forward to at least deal with some of the people I think a lot of people would agree might fit the bill on this, carte blanche restoration just isn’t going to happen.

“I’ve just been actually disgusted by the extremists here on this that want no compromise, carte blanche restoration. I’m not sure if these groups really understand the type of people we’re talking about there. So I wanted to set the record straight tonight on the floor.”

During subcommittee a few weeks ago, Dawson brought up detailed stories on criminal acts. And, he asked, why should they have their voting rights automatically restored.

“I’ve heard no comments in the past three weeks that would justify why a grandfather would rape his 7-year-old granddaughter for two years needs an automatic restoration of his voting rights back,” Dawson said. “Some people didn’t agree with this, but at least explain to me why they have to have an automatic restoration.”

Dawson said it’s all platitudes and feelings as opposed to the substance in terms of the other side. He said he was disappointed not to pick up more votes, even though it passed.

“I am genuinely disappointed,” he said. “I thought we were trying to create some clear parameters on here that everyone could embrace and wrap their arms around to try to continue this process forward. But, unfortunately, some of the outside and extreme groups clearly have made an impact with some individuals. We didn’t get the 50-0 vote that I wish we would have.”