1 million face masks donated to returning citizens for Election Day

Attorney, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition want to ensure former felons have tools to vote

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Central Florida organization and an Orlando attorney are teaming up to donate 1 million face masks to returning citizens statewide, working to make sure they have all the tools they need to vote safely.

On Wednesday, Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, held a news conference with Orlando attorney Mark Nejame to announce the plan to hand out masks.

“It’s a testament to how committed we are to making sure we not only show up and vote, but we show up safely and make a difference,” said Meade.

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“I’m passionate about justice. I’ve been fighting for justice for over 3 decades,” Nejame said.

Meade said he’s inspired knowing that other returning citizens like him are getting their first chance to soon vote in a presidential election.

“There are so many people who at one point faced a lifetime ban from voting that’s now going to have the opportunity to participate in elections,” said Meade. “We as returning citizens we’ve been through a lot.”

News 6 was there when Meade legally registered to vote in January of 2019.

He said he’s encouraging returning citizens to vote early. Meade said he’s voting at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando on Oct. 24 at what he’s calling a statewide day of action. He said there will be plenty of masks on hand for returning citizens and their families.

His organization, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, have been working with generous donors to help pay off debts for convicted felons so they can legally register and vote in the general election.

With 27 days left until the general election, we’re asking state election leaders if returning citizens who are registered can still pay their fines and vote by election day.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.