Florida voting rights activist has civil rights restored

Desmond Meade said he was encouraged to have the ability to run for office

In 2018, the state passed Amendment 4 and restored voting rights to Florida’s formerly incarcerated. It’s a measure that local activist Desmond Meade said was necessary to fully reconnect returning citizens into society.

Meade is the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. On Saturday, he announced through a Twitter video the state clemency board restored his civil rights.

“Even though I was able to vote. I still couldn’t practice law in the state of Florida because I couldn’t sit for the Florida bar, I still could not buy or rent a home anywhere in Florida,” Meade said.

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Back in September, he said he went before the clemency board to request a pardon and was denied. He returned in March and said he was denied again. However, he was told the state was making changes and revising clemency, so he held on to hope.

“I would be able to qualify for a new provision that basically says that if a person qualifies for Amendment 4 that would automatically qualify them to have the rest of their rights restored,” he said.

Meade said he was encouraged to have the ability to run for office, serve on a jury and even take the bar exam to become a lawyer was within reach.

“I was Central Floridian of the year, Floridian of the year, TIME magazine’s 100 most influential and I’m a MacArthur Genius, if a person like me can’t get a pardon than who can,” he said

In the Twitter video made public Meade held up his clemency certificate which details the matter. “I was totally caught off guard when I found out you know,” while his rights have been restored he still cannot own, possess or use firearms.

“I can own a home now and I’m actively seeking to do that, I can even run for office now, I can sit on a jury,” Meade said.