Despite significant literature on the electoral and democratic implications of laws that restore the right to vote to individuals with felony convictions, few scholars have explored whether these reforms result in practical changes. This Article examines the effect of administrative capacity and individual experience on policy implementation and finds that, even in the face of de jure felon rights restoration, policymakers can (knowingly or unwittingly) alter de facto restoration. Specifically, states have limited administrative capacity to absorb the costs of rights restoration. As a result, the burden of restoration falls onto citizens. Facing learning, compliance, and psychological hurdles to the right to vote, many individuals with felony convictions simply do not have the resources to restore their civil rights. Put simply, even the best laid plans often go awry when it comes to the burden of policy implementation.
Jennifer L. Selin,
The Best Laid Plans: How Administrative Burden Complicates Voting Rights Restoration Law and Policy,
84 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol84/iss4/6