Leader of felons' voting rights says resolve strengthened after pardon decision
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After his bid for a pardon was blocked Wednesday, Florida felons' voting-rights leader Desmond Meade said the decision made him even more committed to continuing his work. The decision to defer Meade’s pardon request came the same day he announced that he was receiving a $100,000 grant from an unidentified foundation for his advocacy. The 2019 law requiring felons to pay outstanding fines and fees could prevent hundreds of thousands of felons from registering to vote. There’s a backlog of 24,000 felons seeking rights restoration with or without hearings. “If restoring and protecting Floridians' constitutional rights were a priority for this governor, it would happen — but it’s not, so it won’t.
Florida seeks investigation on Bloomberg donation on voting
Attorney General Ashley Moody sent letters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI saying that further investigation is warranted. Ron DeSantis had asked Moody to review allegations that Bloomberg and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition had violated the law by offering incentives for voting. The Florida Rights Restitution Coalition had raised about $5 million before Bloomberg made calls to raise almost $17 million more, according to Bloomberg staffers. Neil Volz, the group's executive director, has also had his voting rights restored and the clemency board restored his other civil rights Wednesday. “It just seems like, then what is enough?”The question of satisfying financial obligations before voting rights are restored continues to be battled in court.
Pardon blocked for leader of felons' voting rights
DeSantis and Patronis on Wednesday blocked Meade’s request for a pardon, with DeSantis saying the panel should take the issue “under advisement” until it can gather more information. The state’s labyrinthine and years-long clemency process prompted Meade and other advocates to initiate the constitutional amendment, which enabled Meade to cast a ballot in last month’s primary elections. Meade said his focus is on getting his rights restored in Florida, as a pardon would restore rights such as being able to serve on juries and have firearms. Critics have condemned the state’s clemency process as a remnant of Jim Crow-era laws designed to keep Black people from voting. The number is a stark contrast to more than 155,000 felons who had their rights restored under an “automatic” process initiated by Scott’s predecessor, former Gov.
Virus, fees hinder drive to register Florida felons to vote
But Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the amendment's main backer, puts the number at 100,000. Most Floridians apparently agreed: The measure garnered support from liberal and conservative groups and passed with 64% of the vote. Not all felons vote Democratic, of course, but some observers argued that the party would be the big winner since African Americans are disproportionately represented in Floridas felon population and they favor the party by wide margins. William Freeman recently registered to vote after serving three years for grand theft, his fourth prison stint. There is no way for officials to immediately check if felons owe money when they register, but they could face prosecution if they lie.
Felons voting clarification comes too late for primary
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Florida secretary of state quietly published guidance for people with felony convictions to determine whether they are eligible to register to vote. The felons voting rights guidance just appeared on the Division of Elections website. Felons can also ask the secretary of state to determine whether theyre eligible. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is still working to help felons pay back their debts. It has spent $2 million so far to help 2,000 felons.