INSIDER

Orlando's Desmond Meade says his 'resolve' is strengthened after Gov. DeSantis' pardon decision

click to enlarge Photo via Desmond Meade/TwitterSheena and Desmond Meade and familyAfter 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.Meade, a former drug dealer who has garnered international accolades after leading the drive to pass a 2018 constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons, said he’s been waiting two decades to have his civil rights, which include the right to sit on juries and run for public office, restored.“If a person with my record would have to wait, what does that say for everyone else?” said Meade, who has been able to register to vote thanks to the constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4. “So my resolve is strengthened.”Meade, who’s been clean and crime-free for more than a decade, appeared Wednesday before the state Board of Executive Clemency —- comprised of Gov. The 2019 law requiring felons to pay outstanding fines and fees could prevent hundreds of thousands of felons from registering to vote.Fried also was among the critics of the clemency board’s decision Wednesday in Meade’s case.She said the board has signed off on just 30 restoration-of-rights cases since DeSantis and the Cabinet members took office in 2019. There’s a backlog of 24,000 felons seeking rights restoration with or without hearings.DeSantis also has not acted on more than 800 applications in which Patronis and Fried have given a thumbs-up, Fried said.“If restoring and protecting Floridians’ constitutional rights were a priority for this governor, it would happen —- but it’s not, so it won’t. And that’s a damn shame,” she said.

orlandoweekly.com