Traditionally, defendants convicted of a felony lost their right to vote, sit on a jury, and (in most states) possess a firearm. It was commonly thought that losing the right to vote was permanent. This perception can be seen even now in a recent New York Times article that focuses on the 6.2 million citizens with felony convictions who are barred from voting.
A 2018 Future of the Courts survey scenario asked if courts would be involved in restoring voting rights to convicted felons within the next ten years. Of the 293 respondents, 37 (13%) thought the scenario was highly likely, 116 (40%) thought it was likely, 95 (32%) thought it had a 50-50 chance, and 45 (16%) thought it was either unlikely or improbable. Most of the respondents (the mode) thought it was likely, but the mean tipped just slightly to the category of the scenario having an 50-50 chance of becoming a reality.[ii]