Published on: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Sentencing Project released a new study, Locked Out 2020: Estimates of People Denied Voting Rights Due to a Felony Conviction, a study estimating that 5.2 million people will be barred from voting in the 2020 election due to a felony conviction. The report updates and expands on research The Sentencing Project released in 2016 analyzing the scope of felony disenfranchisement, as well as the state-level distribution of laws that ban people with previous felony convictions from voting.

Laws that bar people with a felony conviction from voting disproportionately exclude Black people. One in 16 Black Americans of voting age cannot vote because of a felony conviction. Among non-Black voters, one in 59 is disenfranchised. The Latinx community is also disproportionately harmed by felony disenfranchisement, with 34 states disenfranchising Latinx adults more than the general population. The rate of felony disenfranchisement continues to be highest in southern states, where numerous felony voting restrictions were passed during the Jim Crow era, with the express purpose of limiting the political power of Black men. Today’s data reveal a similar race-based suppression of voting rights for the Black community. For the first time ever, the new study includes estimates of the impact of felony disenfranchisement on the Latinx community.