According to Sean McElwee, a researcher who studies voting rights at the progressive think tank Demos, some studies suggest up to 2.5% of the population is unable to vote thanks to such laws. McElwee told Mic that these laws not only encourage recidivism, but also help ensure policies that disadvantage ex-prisoners stay in place.
"First, studies suggest that rights restoration decreases recidivism rates, by allowing returning citizens to fully participate in society," McElwee wrote in an email. "Second, because numerous studies show that turnout is correlated with government transfers and responsiveness, voting rights restoration would force politicians to respond to returning citizens. In the status quo, disenfranchisement encourages politicians to reduce spending on poor communities and communities of color."