This past Election Day 2018, History was made in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will restore the voting rights of convicted felons was passed. Although this amendment had no major impact on this past Tuesday’s election, this will be huge for the state of Florida and the U.S. for future elections including the upcoming Presidential Election in 2020.
In the United States, more than six million convicted felons have lost their voting rights due to their criminal records. Of this six million, over 1.5 million reside right in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will go into effect on January 8, 2019 was a long hard fight fought mostly by a 51 year old man by the name of Desmond Meade who is the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Meade who was born in St. Croix and relocated to Miami, Florida at the young age of five with his family experienced a bit of trouble during his childhood. This trouble would eventually lead him to being convicted of felony cocaine possession amongst other things. After serving his time and being released in 2004, Meade chose to do better in life and decided to go back to school and successfully obtained his law degree from Florida International University. However, because of his past felonies, Meade was not allowed to sit for the bar exam. This is when Meade began his hard fight to get the voting rights of convicted felons restored.
In 2011 Meade became the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. In a quote given to the NY Times for a feature story published on September 26th, 2018 by Emily Bazelon titled Will Florida Ex-Felons finally Regain The Right To Vote?, Meade stated:
“This amazing work that we’re doing, it’s shiny and bright now, and there’s a lot of people that want to attach to it. But there was a time when it wasn’t that shiny. There was a time when I was knocking on doors and nobody wanted to answer.”
Well this last Tuesday, November 6th, all of Meade’s hard work paid off when Amendment 4 was passed! Thank goodness Meade made a decision several years ago after being released from prison to do something more positive with his life. Now millions of reformed criminals will have the right to vote because of Meade’s decision! Thank you Desmond Meade for your courage and bravery and congratulations on this huge victory! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode 🖤