In 2020, Racist U.S. Prison Policies Denied the Vote to 5.2 Million People

By Peter Montague

An estimated 5.2 million people in the U.S. were denied the vote in 2020 because of a previous felony conviction, according to a new report from the Sentencing Project. This represents just over two percent of the voting-age population — more than enough to determine the outcome of any close election. The federal government defines a felony as any crime that results in a prison sentence of a year or more.