IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

FRRC is making a difference! Check out these news articles.

FRRC is making a difference! Check out these news articles.

Pardon blocked for man who led crusade to restore voting rights to felons in Florida

September 24, 2020 – Desmond Meade graduated from law school, made it onto Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people and was at the forefront of a successful crusade to restore voting rights to convicted felons in Florida.

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

September 24, 2020 – 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.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Other Republicans Take Aim At Bloomberg Over Felons Voting Money

September 24, 2020 – Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called for investigations Wednesday into former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal fees so they can register to vote in November.

Florida campaign underway to pay ‘poll taxes’ for the formerly incarcerated

September 24, 2020 – A rapidly growing movement is urgently scrambling to pay thousands of fines, restitution charges, and legal fees to allow returning citizens or ex-felons in Florida to register to vote and cast ballots in the 2020 elections.

Gallery Partners With Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to Help People Vote

September 24, 2020 – 700,000 citizens who completed prison time and parole in Florida may be ineligible to vote. With only a week until Florida’s bail payment deadline, the New York-based gallery Canada wants to help.

Pardon Blocked For Florida Felons’ Rights Leader Desmond Meade

September 23, 2020 – Desmond Meade graduated from law school, made it onto Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people and was at the forefront of a successful crusade to restore voting rights to convicted felons in Florida.

Bloomberg, others rack up $20M to register Florida felons after time served

September 22, 2020 –  A group trying to help felons sign up to vote in Florida says it has raised more than $20 million to pay off outstanding court debts for thousands of former prisoners seeking to register in a battleground state crucial to President Donald Trump’s reelection.

Cuban-American judge from Florida on Trump high court list

September 22, 2020 – A daughter of Cuban exiles who has had a swift rise as a lawyer and judge is on President Donald Trump’s short list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Working to restore voting rights to returning citizens ahead of the general election

September 21, 2020 – As the November election draws near and demonstrations for racial justice continue to unfold across the country, it is important to remember Black people in the United States are disenfranchised from voting because of previous criminal convictions at four times the rate of all other racial groups combined.

There Are Better Ways for Bloomberg to Spend His Money

September 21, 2020 – Those of us who can’t tolerate the thought of another four years of this administration are extremely grateful to Michael Bloomberg for his commitment to spend at least $100 million, primarily on television and digital ads, to increase voter turnout in Florida.

Florida Republicans: Nominating Lagoa could clinch state for Trump

September 20, 2020 – Leading Florida Republican politicians are launching an all-out effort to convince President Donald Trump to nominate federal Judge Barbara Lagoa to the U.S. Supreme Court — a move they say would boost his reelection chances in the must-win swing state.

'A Day of Action' in Palm Bay registers voters, helps felons restore voting rights

September 19, 2020 – For Jason Morice, restoring his right to vote will be an important step in rebuilding his life as a convicted felon. 

National cable networks join effort to aid Florida felons voting effort

September 19, 2020 – An effort to pay court-ordered costs for felons who have served their time behind bars is getting a $250,000 boost from MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, the cable networks announced on Friday.

MTV, VH1 And Comedy Central Join Forces To Help Formerly Incarcerated People Vote In Florida

September 19, 2020 – Now, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central joined the efforts of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition by donating $250,000 to help their efforts to increase voter access by helping this community pay off fines and fees that keep them from voting.

FRRC Announces Voteteenth: It’s Time to Free the Vote!

September 19, 2020 – Today, September 19th, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) is hosting Voteteenth, a day of action and celebration to advance the modern day struggle for voting rights in America.

Michael Vick And Desmond Meade Wants Florida Citizens Returning From Incarceration To Know They Have Voting Rights, Too

September 19, 2020 – Our nation is at a reckoning. We are deep in a social justice movement that is changing our nation, power structures and the status quo as we know it. 

MTV, Comedy Central And VH1 Join Last Minute Push To Register Florida's Returning Citizens

September 19, 2020 – Thirty years after MTV launched its Rock The Vote campaign, the brand is helping in an eleventh-hour push to help Floridians with felony convictions register to vote in time for the November election.

Ad Council, ViacomCBS Launch Campaign To Get Out The Youth Vote

September 17, 2020 – The Ad Council, ViacomCBS and other partners are joining forces to launch Vote For Your Life, a nonpartisan national campaign urging young people to vote in this year’s election on Nov. 3.

Voter suppression tactics in full force as Election Day nears

September 17, 2020 – The general election is less than two months away and reports of voter suppression tactics being used to prevent certain groups from casting their ballots are in full swing.

Amendment 4 hopes dashed Many returning citizens can’t vote

September 16, 2020 – Felons who have completed their sentences will not have their voting rights restored as intended by the voters who passed Amendment 4, until all fines, fees, costs and financial terms of those sentences are met.

In Florida, if you have a felony conviction, voting will cost you

September 15, 2020 – Florida can require people who have been convicted of a felony to pay all outstanding fines, fees and restitution before they’re allowed to vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has ruled.

‘It’s voter suppression:’ Ex-felon reacts to court ruling

September 14, 2020 – Ex-felons in Florida are reacting to a federal appellate court ruling that requires all felons to pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can vote again. That ruling reverses a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding financial obligations.

Poverty continues to prevent many ex-felons from voting

September 14, 2020 – Last month, Desmond Meade voted for the first time in 30 years, casting a ballot in his home state of Florida. His status as a former felon had prevented him from doing so before under the state’s previous felony disenfranchisement laws.

Court imposes a modern-day poll tax. Floridians can, and should, intervene

September 13, 2020 – Looks like it’s up to the majority of Florida voters to help ex-felons — “returning citizens” — cast a ballot in November. The state’s Republican leaders have long made clear that it’s better for the GOP if ex-felons are denied that chance.

Appeals court upholds felons voting law

September 13, 2020 – Delivering a victory to Gov. Ron DeSantis, a divided federal appeals court on Friday upheld the constitutionality of a Florida law requiring felons to complete all financial terms of their sentences — including paying fines, fees, costs and restitution — to be eligible to vote.

DeSantis & Co. don’t want ex-prisoners to vote.

September 13, 2020 – Looks like it’s up to the majority of Florida voters to help ex-felons — “returning citizens” — cast a ballot in November. The state’s Republican leaders have long made clear that it’s better for the GOP if ex-felons are denied that chance.

Judges: Florida felons can't vote until they pay fines, fees

September 12, 2020 – Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday in a case that could have broad implications for the November elections.

LeBron, Athletes Wielding Peashooters in Gunfight — Need Help to Fix Rigged Game

September 12, 2020 – It’s hard to win a game when the rules were made for you to lose. This is a reality that many athletes are facing as they take on the challenge of helping to bring equality to a nation that has never practiced the principles it preaches.

Appeals court upholds felons voting law

September 12, 2020 – Delivering a victory to Gov. Ron DeSantis, a divided federal appeals court on Friday upheld the constitutionality of a Florida law requiring felons to complete all financial terms of their sentences – including paying fines, fees, costs and restitution – to be eligible to vote.

Ruling on Felons' Voting Rights Doesn't Deter Advocates

September 11, 2020 – The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Fridaythat convicted, non-violent felons in Florida who have completed their sentences cannot exercise their right to vote until they have paid off any owed legal fees, fines or restitution. 

Federal court rules that felons cannot vote in Florida if they owe fines or fees

September 11, 2020 – As many as 775,000 former felons in Florida will not be able to vote if they haven’t paid back all fines, fees and restitution, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, overturning a lower court’s decision that they could go to the polls this year.

Federal court rules felons cannot vote in Florida if they owe fines or fees

September 11, 2020 – As many as 775,000 former felons in Florida will not be able to vote if they haven’t paid back all fines, fees and restitution, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, overturning a lower court’s decision that they could go to the polls this year.

Judge rules on felons paying fines before voting

September 11, 2020 – Almost 800,000 Floridians will be affected by the new ruling regarding felons paying fines and fees before voting.

Federal appeals court blocks hundreds of thousands of felons in Florida who still owe fines and fees from registering to vote

September 11, 2020 – A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that hundreds of thousands of felons in Florida who still owe fines and fees may not register to vote, making it unlikely that they will be able to cast ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

Court Ruling Deals Blow to Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights in Florida

September 11, 2020 – In a significant reversal, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled on Friday that a Florida law requiring people with serious criminal convictions to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote is constitutional.

Judges: Florida felons can't vote until they pay fines

September 11, 2020 – Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday.

In Key 2020 Election Decision, Judges Rule Florida Felons Can’t Vote Until They’ve Paid Fines

September 11, 2020 – Felons in Florida can only regain the right to vote once they’ve paid all fines, restitution and legal fees, a federal appellate court ruled Friday, reversing a decision from a lower court that declared Florida’s “pay-to-vote” law unconstitutional. 

Florida felons lose voting rights case in federal appeals court

September 11, 2020 – A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a judge’s ruling that people with felony convictions don’t have to pay off all court fees and fines before voting, dealing a setback to advocates for 2018′s Amendment 4.

Felons have the potential to swing close 2020 races

September 11, 2020 – As many as 2 million formerly incarcerated felons are poised to regain their voting rights ahead of the November election, an influx that could swing critical elections in states like Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Iowa.

Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee Gives $100,000 to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition's Fines and Fees Program

September 11, 2020 – The Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee announced a series of initiatives designed to increase voter awareness and engagement throughout South Florida.

Orlando Magic Celebrate ‘Desmond Meade Day’ With City Tour

September 10, 2020 – Lifting the spirits of others is something the Orlando Magic take pride in doing. The organization’s work in the community has helped countless people make strides in their lives.

Poverty continues to prevent many ex-felons from voting

September 9, 2020 – Last month Desmond Meade voted for the first time in 30 years, casting a ballot in his home state of Florida. 

Amendment 4 in Action: Meet the Man Who Voted for the 1st Time in 30 Years

September 9, 2020 – In this week’s Central Florida: Beyond the Soundbite podcast: Amendment 4, or better known as the felon voting rights. This topic has been the subject of continued fiery debate.

Former felons in Florida still face hurdles registering to vote weeks before election

September 8, 2020 – People from across the country flock to Florida for the endless warm weather and miles of beaches, but as the November presidential election inches closer, people are turning their heads to the state for another reason.

'All In: The Fight for Democracy': Film Review

September 4, 2020 – Rising political star Stacey Abrams of Georgia serves as both interviewee and producer for Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes’ doc about the struggle to attain and maintain voting rights in America.

Orlando Magic, City of Orlando will open Amway Center for early voting

September 3, 2020 – The home of the Orlando Magic will be open for early voting this election season as teams around the league try to urge fans and citizens to vote.

Man wants to vote, but mountainous fines stand in way

September 3, 2020 – Over $95,000 stands between Robert Coleman and a voting booth. 

Orlando Magic, city and county announce Amway Center to be polling location

September 2, 2020 – With a push from the Orlando Magic, Amway Center is about to become the largest early-voting site in Orange County. And one of the Magic’s tallest players could be welcoming voters as they walk in.

Orlando Magic have a ‘superstar’ in their corner helping fight racial injustice

August 2, 2020 – Desmond Meade will not forget the first time he spoke with Orlando Magic Players. When Meade asked them about current events, specifically referring to the deaths of unarmed Black men George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, one of the Magic players spoke with utter anguish in his voice and despair on his face.

Ex-felons are facing new hurdles when registering to vote

September 1, 2020 – Christine Vincent was hopeful in November 2018 when she thought she could vote again. Florida had just passed a historic amendment giving former felons the right back after the completion of their sentence, and she felt like she could be a “normal” member of society again.

More People With Felony Convictions Can Vote, but Roadblocks Remain

August 31, 2020 – Another group working on outreach is the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which has raised $4 million to cover fees and restitution costs that might keep people from voting. The nonpartisan group so far has donated up to $1,500 each to 3,000 people, according to its president, Desmond Meade.

Who Gets to Vote in Florida?

August 31, 2020 – With the election hanging in the balance, Republican leaders continue a long fight over voting rights. Betty Riddle grew up in Sarasota, Florida, in a segregated neighborhood that people back in the nineteen-sixties called Black Bottom.

Orlando Magic will continue social justice questions, endeavors long after leaving the bubble

August 30, 2020 – The Orlando Magic’s season is over, but their fight to be part of positive change in their community will continue even after the season ends. The first part of diagnosing or solving a problem is education and discovery.

John Morgan

LAW FIRM HELPING FELONS PAY LEGAL DEBTS

August 30, 2020 – Orlando attorney John Morgan and his firm Morgan & Morgan launched a fundraising campaign Monday to help felons regain the right to vote.

‘All In: The Fight for Democracy’ – meet the women behind new voter suppression documentary, mobilization campaign featuring Stacey Abrams

August 29, 2020 – If not for systematic voter suppression in 2018, Stacey Abrams might today be the governor of Georgia – and the first Black woman governor in American history.

Orlando Magic Players, Coaches Meet With Orange County Sheriff John Mina as Push for Social Reform Continues

August 28, 2020 – The Orlando Magic and its players are fully committed to doing everything in their power to create real, systemic change. A key to that happening is good communication.

These philanthropists are donating 1% of their net worth to expand and protect the vote

August 28, 2020 – Philanthropists are assembling significant sums to expand and protect voting rights ahead of an uncertain 2020 election.

LeBron James Is Helping Spearhead a Multimillion-Dollar Effort to Recruit Poll Workers for the Election

August 27, 2020 – LeBron James is doing what he can to bring people to the polls. The NBA star is helping to spearhead a multimillion-dollar effort to recruit poll workers ahead of the election in November. 

Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4.

NBA Postpones Game 5 Amid Continued Push for Social Justice

August 27, 2020 – Heading into the NBA campus, the Orlando Magic hoped to leverage their participation in the league’s restart to amplify their efforts to combat racism and bring about social change. 

Florida pays $1.7 million, so far, to defend felons voting law

August 26, 2020 – Florida taxpayers have spent more than $1.7 million — and are on the hook for hundreds of thousands more — in the state’s defense of a 2019 law requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote, according to state records.

Magic coach Steve Clifford sees voting as key to ending police shootings

August 26, 2020 – About 90 minutes before the start of what could be his team’s last game of what’s been arguably the most challenging season in NBA history, Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford spent some time talking about something not related to basketball.

Anquan Bolidin Tells Us How Players Coalition Is Attacking Voter Suppression In Florida

August 26, 2020 – In support of a fair and all-inclusive voting process for 2020, the Players Coalition is donating $20,000 towards efforts to restore the right to vote for people with past felony convictions in Florida. 

LeBron James' More Than a Vote coalition to fund recruitment efforts of poll workers in swing states

August 26, 2020 – More Than a Vote partnered last month with teams in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Los Angeles to transform arenas into polling sites. The group also donated $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s efforts to pay outstanding court debts of former felons so they can register to vote.

Morgan touts effort to help felons pay legal debts

August 24, 2020 – Orlando attorney John Morgan and his firm Morgan & Morgan launched a fundraising campaign Monday to help felons regain the right to vote. As part of an effort to help the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Fines and Fees Fund, Morgan announced he will match the first $100,000 in donations to his “Voice for Voters” campaign.

'We have to continue to fight:' Voting rights advocates await Amendment 4 'poll tax' decision ahead of November election

August 23, 2020 – Voting rights advocates in Florida are closely watching an ongoing case in federal appeals court that could determine the constitutionality of the state’s requirement that released felons pay legal fees before being able to vote.

Explained: How NBA stars are campaigning to restore ex-convicts’ voting rights

August 19, 2020 – Up against a state legislature that makes it difficult for almost 1.5 million disenfranchised Floridians to register to vote in this swing state, More Than a Vote has helped re-enfranchise a population with donations to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the chief voting rights organization.

Florida attorneys: If felon voting law is unconstitutional, so is Amendment 4

August 19, 2020 – Attorney Charles Cooper argued Amendment 4, as presented to voters, specifically said the right to vote would be restored after all “all terms of sentence” were completed. “The voters decided that the right to vote of a person who lost it as a consequence of his conviction of a felony should be restored only if he has paid the full debt he owes to society,” he said.

PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATE WINS ORLANDO’S PRIMARY FOR PROSECUTOR, AND FOUR OTHER FLORIDA TAKEAWAYS

August 19, 2020 – Florida’s Aug. 18 primaries were marred once more by the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of voters due to harsh felony disenfranchisement statutes and to the confusion wrought by the state’s 2019 mandate that people with felony convictions pay off their court debt before voting.

Criminal justice reformer Monique Worrell wins Orlando’s State Attorney primary

August 19, 2020 – Another shockwave went through Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit Tuesday as yet another outsider candidate running on a criminal justice reform platform upset the establishment in the race for the State Attorney’s office.

Federal appeals court considers whether to uphold Florida felon voting law

August 19, 2020 –  A federal appeals court on Tuesday spent more than two hours weighing whether to overturn a contentious Florida law restricting felon voting rights, with one judge suggesting that doing so would paradoxically require the court to strike down a public referendum that eliminated the state’s ban on felon voting.

COVID-19 Presents New Re-Entry Barriers for Former Inmates

August 19, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented barriers to the already difficult process of former inmates navigating their return to society, leaving advocates scrambling for new ways to help.

Over 1 million former convicts in Florida regained the right to vote — and this group is trying to register them for the 2020 elections

August 18, 2020 – Former convicts in Florida — more than 1 million people — will be allowed to vote in the 2020 elections. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is canvassing door to door trying to register voters, despite hurdles from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

Florida Felon Voting Law Questioned by US Appellate Court

August 18, 2020 – An attorney representing the state of Florida told a federal appeals court Tuesday the state can legally require felons to fully pay all fines, fees and restitution before allowing them to vote, while attorneys representing some felons argued that constitutes an illegal poll tax and discriminates against the poor.

Local ex-felon casts first ballot in 16 years after voting rights restored in Florida

August 18, 2020 – It’s a day for second chances as thousands of ex-felons take part in Florida’s Primary Election. Tuesday, many are experiencing a first at the polls under Florida’s Amendment Four for felon voting rights.

Hearing held to decide whether ex-felons should pay fees, fines before being allowed to vote

August 18, 2020 – A hearing was held on Tuesday in the ongoing battle to restore voting rights to Florida’s ex-felons. At the center of the hearing was whether ex-felons should have to pay fines and fees from their conviction before going to the polls. 

Desmond Meade’s new PAC pours $1.5 million into Orlando’s State Attorney race

August 18, 2020 – A new political action committee created by Amendment 4 backers to support State Attorney candidate Monique Worrell has received more than $2.2 million and spent more than $1.5 million, mostly on television commercials in the Orlando market.

Voting In Tuesday’s Primary Will Be ‘Bittersweet’ For Desmond Meade

August 17, 2020 – Among those casting a ballot in Florida’s primary election Tuesday is Desmond Meade. Meade, who is the executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, has become the face of the movement for Floridians who have completed felony sentences, and it’s the first time he’ll be voting himself in thirty years.

Former felons continue to fight for voting rights hours ahead of Florida primary

August 17, 2020 – The fight to restore felon voting rights continues in the state of Florida just ahead of the state primary on Tuesday. Two former felons say the state can do more to make sure everyone’s vote counts.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill Pushes For New Legislation Following Her Brother’s Death From COVID-19

August 17, 2020 – State Sen. Randolph Bracy says he plans to introduce new legislation next session to give families of prisoners better access to health care information during their incarceration.

‘Won’t miss it for the world.’ Miami groups mobilize Black voters in ‘Souls to the Polls’

August 16, 2020 – Voters gathered in the parking lot of the Calder Casino around Noon and drove over to the North Dade Regional Library about an hour later, led by a charter bus from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, leaders of the movement for Amendment 4 in Florida, which restored voting rights for some felons.

Coronavirus, fees hinder drive to register Florida felons to vote

August 16, 2020 – When Floridians overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing most felons to vote after completing their sentences, many expected Democrats to benefit most from the participation of up to 1.4 million newly eligible voters in this year’s election.

Players Coalition Pledges $20,000 to Combat Felony Disenfranchisement in Florida

August 14, 2020 – Players Coalition is donating $20,000 towards efforts to restore the right to vote for people with past felony convictions in Florida. The donation will go towards Florida Rights Restoration Coalition‘s (FRRC) Fines and Fees program, which assists returning citizens who have outstanding fees to complete their sentences and become eligible to vote.

The ‘sacred right to vote’: Ex-convict fights to cast ballots in Florida

August 14, 2020 – Ángel Sánchez considers voting in elections a “sacred right” — even if this Cuban-American resident of Miami may not achieve that blessing in the Tuesday primary.

Florida felons’ vote hangs in balance as elections near

August 14, 2020 – Florida voters are heading to the polls Tuesday, August 18 for the primary elections. But hundreds of thousands of felons, who thought they would be able to vote once again, cannot cast their ballots next week. 

Florida felons voting clarification comes too late for the primary

August 13, 2020 – The Florida Secretary of State quietly published guidance for people with felon convictions to determine whether they are eligible to register to vote. 

Felons, lawyers in Florida face 'tremendous confusion' on voting rights

August 13, 2020 – Angel Sanchez lost his right to vote before he was old enough to even cast a ballot. But after his release from prison in 2011, he did everything he could to turn his life around.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Raises Funds to Restore Voting Rights

August 13, 2020 – Desmond Meade and Neil Volz are counting down the days to Aug. 18 — it’s the midterm election, and it will be the first time both men have been allowed to vote in decades.

Florida quietly gives voting advice to ex-felons

August 13, 2020 – Here’s an unexpected development in the battle over felon voting rights. Nearly two years after voters got rid of the state’s lifetime voting ban for most ex-felons the state has released instructions/guidance/standards on how eligibility works for those covered by Amendment 4.

Get the Facts: New PAC supports Monique Worrell with ad

August 13, 2020 – In Commitment 2020, more money is pouring into a local State Attorney race. Footing the bill is a new political action committee, and it’s paying for a new political ad that supports candidate Monique Worrell.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition leaders create new PAC, support Monique Worrell

August 12, 2020 – Desmond Meade and Neil Volz, leaders of the Florida Rights RestorationCoalition that ushered a state constitutional amendment to restore felons’ voting rights in Florida, launched a political committee to support candidates.

100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment: Unpacking the Legacy | August 2020 Cover

August 11, 2020 – August 18 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment — the largest expansion of the franchise in the country’s history.

Teen Vogue’s August issue tackles voter suppression

August 11, 2020 – “The Uncounted,” launched on Tuesday by the Condé Nast-owned magazine, is a series about disenfranchised voters that specifically highlights the stories of women of color.

SWFL man votes for the first time after rights are restored

August 11, 2020 – This 2020 primary election comes as a first for some voters — as it is in the case of a Southwest Florida man who voted on Tuesday for the very first time.

Amendment 4 backers announce $2 million will go towards paying fines and fees of past felony convictions

August 10, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition gathered on Monday to announce that they are have raised $2 million to pay off funds for people with past convictions.

$2 million raised to help ex-felons vote in Florida

August 10, 2020 – For Richea Hampton, filling out a ballot checks off a life goal. “This will be my first time ever voting,” Hampton said.

Orange-Osceola state attorney debate

August 7, 2020 – WESH 2 News presents the debate for the state attorney for Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit. The circuit covers Orange and Osceola counties, more than 2,000 square miles and serves more than 1.3 million residents, making it one of the largest circuits in Florida.

Florida’s Desmond Meade talks about the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

August 6, 2020 – Thursday is the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. For an update on Florida’s legal battle on restoring voting rights to many ex-prisoners, WMNF spoke with the main proponent of Amendment 4, Desmond Meade.

Business owner, nonprofit founder overcame his past to succeed, mentor others

August 5, 2020 – Becoming successful for many business owner means overcoming your past. August is National Black Business Month and News 6 is honoring them by putting a spotlight on the ones right here in our community.

FRRC, Demos File Amicus Brief In Support of Fla. Returning Citizens at the 11th Circuit

August 5, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), with legal support from Dēmos, filed an amicus brief at the 11th Circuit in support of the late-May ruling in Jones v. DeSantis, which protects the promise of Amendment 4 by guaranteeing returning citizens can access the ballot—a decision being challenged by Fla. Governor Ron DeSantis in the pending appeal. 

More than 1 million former felons in Florida regained the right to vote — and this group is trying to register them for the 2020 elections

August 4, 2020 – Former convicted felons in Florida – more than 1 million people – will be allowed to vote in the 2020 elections.

36 Former DOJ Civil Rights Attorneys Urge Court to Scrap Florida's 'Pay-to-Vote' System

August 3, 2020 – “Though cloaked in new labels, Florida’s pay-to-vote system is simply another poll tax substitute imposing a financial bar to voting that the Constitution bans and that courts rejected long ago,” lawyers from K&L Gates said in an amicus brief for the former DOJ attorneys.

VOTER RIGHTS NBA Players, Teams Throw Their Support Behind Voter Rights

July 30, 2020 –  Big basketball names like the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James are raising awareness and money for ex-felons’ ability to vote.

Florida's League of Women Voters Working on Ex-Felons' Voting

July 29, 2020 – Volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Florida will begin this week to start contacting about 80,000 former felons who don’t owe any fines and fees to help them get registered to vote.

South Florida motorcyclists come together Saturday to ride for social justice

July 25, 2020 – Dozens of motorcyclists from across South Florida gathered in Miami Gardens Saturday morning for what’s being called a ride for racial justice.

Lebron James' voting rights group to help Florida's ex-felons who owe fines and fees register to vote

July 25, 2020 – An organization started by NBA superstar LeBron James and other Black athletes and entertainers announced Friday that it will help Floridians with prior felony convictions register to vote in the November election.

LeBron James’ More Than A Vote Group Raising $100,000 For Florida Rights Restoration Coalition To Pay Fines, Fees To Allow People To Register To Vote

July 24, 2020 – More Than A Vote announced a partnership Friday with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition that is aimed at securing voting rights for Florida citizens with past felony convictions.

LeBron James joins push to turn out ex-felon vote in Florida

July 24, 2020 –  A group founded by NBA superstar LeBron James and other Black athletes and entertainers is stepping into the fight to register Florida voters with felony records, saying it will help pay court debts and fees so they can cast ballots in the November presidential election.

Point of View: Hone Lewis’ legacy by allowing Florida ex-felons to vote

July 22, 2020 – Perhaps it is reasonable to argue that a fine associated with a sentence should be paid and that restitution for a victim should be honored.

Meet the Real Talk: A Candid Conversation on criminal justice reform panelists

July 22, 2020 –  The conversation about criminal justice reform is both important and ongoing in our country right now. 

Ten Takeaways from the Magic’s First Two Weeks in the NBA Campus

July 21, 2020 – The Magic have remained steadfast in their belief that they can use the resumption of the NBA season to amplify their efforts to combat social injustice and inspire others to join them in seeking equality for all.

Supreme Court declines to overturn Florida voting rules for felons

July 20, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme Court declined to make it easier for convicted felons in Florida to vote if they haven’t paid all their court fines. Critics fighting for the right to vote say requiring payments is a twist on old Jim Crow laws.

Florida bikers hit the streets for the 'Ride for Racial Justice'

July 18, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition hosted the Ride for Racial Justice. Organizers say the goal is to bring awareness to the reforms needed to prevent police brutality.

US Supreme Court's Decision a Blow to Felon Voting Rights Advocates

July 17, 2020 – A U.S. Supreme Court decision is impacting upcoming elections in Florida. Voters approved Amendment 4 in 2018, restoring voting rights to most felons who finished their sentences. 

Supreme Court leaves stay in place that hampers voting by Florida ex-felons

July 17, 2020 – A federal judge’s ruling that had expanded the number of felons in Florida who may vote remains on hold following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene on Thursday.

Supreme Court ruling threatens voting rights for one million ex-felons in Florida

July 17, 2020 – A Supreme Court ruling Thursday threatened the voting rights of one million ex-felons in the state of Florida. 

 

Setback for Florida felon voting rights

July 17, 2020 –  Neil Volz was previously convicted of a felony crime. He joined a million other Floridians as an eligible voter after Amendment 4 passed in 2018.

Court’s decision impacts voting right of Sanford business owner who still owes $48,000 in fines

July 16, 2020 – The high court refused to weigh in on a federal appeals court decision blocking felons from voting before paying their court fees. The ruling decided in a 6-3 vote has created another obstacle for some felons in Central Florida.

Supreme Court deals blow to felons in Florida seeking to regain the right to vote

July 16, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Thursday to overturn a federal appeals court’s decision that blocked some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections — a major blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the battleground state.

Supreme Court allows limits on felon voting in Florida

July 16, 2020 – In a blow to voting rights that could have consequences for the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand for now a Florida law that restricts the ability of felons to cast ballots at the polls.

What Black Mothers Must Do in This Moment

July 15, 2020 – Like every mother, I want my children to have the chance to achieve their dreams and accomplish that which their heart desires. My hopes for my children are no different than those of most mothers.

News 6 hosts Real Talk town hall on criminal justice reform

July 15, 2020 – The criminal justice system is an integral part of our society but it’s not without its faults. While acknowledging the flaws is the first step, it will take more than that to spark real change and create a system that’s fair and equal to all of its participants, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status.

Ride for Racial Justice Encourages Voter Participation

July 15, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) assembled hundreds of motorcycle riders from across the country to “Ride for Racial Justice” in Florida. After the success of their Orlando event, FRRC traveled to different cities throughout the state to raise awareness about police accountability, racial disparities in the criminal legal system and encourage voter participation.

Powerful resources for SWFL Virtual Job Fair

July 14, 2020 – Fox 4 is putting a lot of resources into a new project. We’re joining a number of local organizations to put on the SWFL Virtual Job Fair. And when we asked our anchors and meteorologists to volunteer to help out, Eric Stone had a personal reason to step up.

NFL wide receiver Sammy Watkins encourages convicted felons with restored rights to register to vote

July 14, 2020 – During Fort Myers resident Neil Volz’s successful years-long battle to restore voting rights to over 1.4 million convicted felons in Florida and his subsequent quest to raise awareness amongst those whose rights have been restored, he is frequently reminded of a quote from Nelson Mandela.

Filming Interview for Nelson Mandela International Day

July 10, 2020 – Kevin Gay, Founder/CEO of Operation New Hope, sat down with Khalil Osiris of the Reflecting Freedom Network and Desmond Meade of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to discuss the legacy of Nelson Mandela Nelson as part of this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day (#NMID2020).

Magic Release "Walk With Us" - It's Time to Come Together

July 10, 2020 –  With hopes of bringing about social change and ultimately ending racism in Central Florida and beyond, nearly two dozen members of the Orlando Magic  participated in a powerful video asking others seeking equality for all to, “Walk With Us.”

Let's Take Big Money Out of America's Justice System | Opinion

July 10, 2020 – Onscreen, one of us portrayed a prisoner. In real life, one of us was actually a prisoner. 

A poll tax by any other name

July 9, 2020 – Robert Peoples remembers when African Americans won the right to vote in Alabama back in 1965.

Voting rights of some felons in Florida in question after appeals court ruling

July 8, 2020 – Voting rights advocates scrambled this week to understand the impact of an appeals court decision blocking some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections.

Voting rights of some felons in Florida in question after appeals court ruling

July 8, 2020 – Voting rights advocates scrambled this week to understand the impact of an appeals court decision blocking some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections – a blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the state.

Tampa Bay area prisons experiencing surge in coronavirus cases

July 8, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is calling on the governor to enforce more testing inside Florida prisons. On Wednesday, ABC Action News discovered at least one prison, Avon Park Correctional, to be entirely in medical quarantine.

Magic trying to produce, sell popular T-shirts that encourage voting

July 8, 2020 – The Orlando Magic arrived Tuesday at Walt Disney World to enter the NBA bubble with some players wearing T-shirts to promote their recently unveiled “Get off the bench and in the game” voting-awareness campaign.

Voting In The Sunshine State

July 5, 2020 – On this week’s program, we took a closer look at voting in Florida and how the election might play out here this fall. First, we discussed the ongoing battle over Amendment 4 – and who is eligible to vote –

Book on grass-roots efforts to save representative democracy recognizes Reclaim Idaho and tells the story of Desmond Meade

July 4, 2020 – “Unrigged,” by investigative reporter David Daley, is the story of local citizens rising up at the state and local level with ballot initiatives to restore representative democracy across America.

 

ADVERTISEMENT MIKE BIANCHI SPORTS Orlando Magic to voters: Get off the bench and in the game! | Commentary

July 4, 2020 – Who would have ever thought that Desmond Meade would also become an NBA coach? But that’s exactly what he’s doing now. He’s coaching the Orlando Magic.

The Future of Amendment 4 Moves to Appeals Court

July 3, 2020 – This weekend, Americans celebrate the country’s birthday—and the rights and freedoms many of us often take for granted—including the right to vote.

Voting In The Sunshine State

July 3, 2020 – On this week’s program, we took a closer look at voting in Florida and how the election might play out here this fall. 

Felons’ voting rights in limbo again after federal appeals court ruling

July 3, 2020 – It remains unclear if hundreds of thousands of Floridians who served their time for non-violent crimes will be able to vote this fall. 

Federal appeals court intervenes in Amendment 4 fight, casting doubt on felon re-enfranchisement

July 2, 2020 – A federal appeals court threw a bomb into preparations for Florida’s August primary and November general election this week when it blocked a lower court order that would have allowed thousands of former felons to participate in the voting.

Steve Clifford Sees Season Restart as Opportunity for NBA to Influence Social Change

June 30, 2020 – Clifford recently took part in a Zoom call with social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, leaders of the Obama Foundation and Desmond Meade, the Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition who led a successful campaign to restore the voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians with prior felony convictions.

Clifford discusses social justice, NBA ‘re-start’ as bubble plans creep closer

June 30, 2020 – “Last week, Desmond Meade – who I’m sure many of you know from Florida Rights Restoration Coalition – spoke to our group (our players, basketball operations, etc.) and he zeroed in on voting (the importance of voting), which speaks directly to the question that I think most of us have at this time – which is,what can I do to help? Voting is obviously a very important part of that for everybody.”

The Fight To Vote Part 2: History Of Florida's Voter Disenfranchisement

June 30, 2020 – Opponents of the Florida law requiring felons to repay fines, fees and restitution have argued from the start that it’s a poll tax, something banned by the U.S. Constitution. That argument has its roots in the 24th amendment which stopped governments from charging people to vote.

The Fight To Vote Part 1: Florida Felons Battle For Re-Enfranchisement

June 29, 2020 – Voter registration advocates are rushing to register new voters in the run-up to the August primary and November presidential election. In Florida, the effort has been slowed as the state fights a lawsuit over whether felons have to repay fines and fees before they can vote.

Omar Epps Takes On Prisons as For-Profit Businesses in ‘Unbreaking America: Justice for Sale’

June 24, 2020 – Omar Epps’ new short film “Unbreaking America: Justice for Sale” has caught the attention of stars like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence for its raw look at prison corruption. In the film, Epps and voting rights activist Desmond Meade are demanding change to the criminal justice system in America.

New film argues political corruption prevents criminal justice reform

June 19, 2020 – Current events have turned everyone’s attention to the nation’s criminal justice system. Most Americans agree that the system is broken. Yet, in a new “Unbreaking America” film, RepresentUs makes the case that the criminal justice system remains broken because the broken U.S. political system keeps it that way.

Jennifer Lawrence joins Twitter to demand justice for Breonna Taylor: ‘We must not allow the erasure of Black women'

June 18, 2020 – Jennifer Lawrence has joined Twitter this week — which she formerly vowed to never do — for a good cause: demanding racial justice.

Cynics Are Wrong: Protests Can Change the World

June 18, 2020 – Desmond Meade pumped his fist in the air and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” blasted from the speakers. Many of the former felons — liberal and conservative, black and white, radical reformers and deplorables alike — who packed this Orlando hotel conference room mouthed the words along with him.

Sheriff candidates go head-to-head in online forum

June 16, 2020 – The temperature is heating up, and so is the race for Alachua County Sheriff. Current Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Florida State Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. are both vying to be the county’s sheriff and will go head-to-head in the upcoming Aug. 18 primary election.

Federal judge denies state’s request to put felons voting rights ruling on hold

June 16, 2020 – Could hundreds of thousands of former felons in Florida who are now eligible to vote tip the scale in the 2020 presidential election?

As protests continue in Tampa and St. Pete, voting becomes a focus

June 14, 2020 – Nebula Jackson, 24 of the Florida restoration rights coalition talked with the crowd about registering to vote. A group of about 100 gathered in downtown Tampa to protest against racism and police brutality on Sunday, June 14, 2020 in Tampa.

Orlando Ride for Justice Calls for Reform, Leadership Change

June 13, 2020 – As people continue to hit the streets and call for change across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, motorcyclists in Orlando are joining in with a Ride For Justice. 

Protests against racism, police violence continue throughout Central Florida as Zimmerman acquittal anniversary looms

June 13, 2020 – Thousands gathered in cities and towns across around Central Florida to protest police violence following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, including hundreds in Sanford, often considered the birthplace of the Black Lives Matter movement.

‘We’re throttling for change:’ Motorcycle ride calls for racial justice

June 13, 2020 – A large group of motorcyclists hit the road Saturday morning calling for change and to protest police brutality. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and Central Florida Motorcycle Council held the “Ride for Racial Justice.”

Hundreds of motorcyclists ride through Orlando in protest against police brutality

June 13, 2020 – Hundreds of motorcyclists made their way through Orlando Saturday to protest police brutality. They rode from Florida Rights Restoration Coalition headquarters to the Orange County courthouse in an event called Ride for Racial Justice.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and local motorcyclists to 'Ride for Racial Justice' and protest police brutality in Orlando on Saturday

June 12, 2020 – This weekend, local bikers and motorcyclists are teaming up with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to ride out to the Orange County Courthouse. The ‘Ride for Racial Justice” will protest police brutality and highlight the continuing fight over ex-felons’ voting rights in the state of Florida.

As elections near, Florida legal battles over felon voting, ballot design continue

June 5 , 2020 – As August’s state primaries and November’s general election near, legal battles continue in Florida over access to the ballot box and the ballots. 

Teddy Riley and Wyclef Jean Support #TimeDone Day Rally

June 5, 2020 – Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Committee, was awarded the first #TimeDone National Achievement Award and had one of the most compelling stories I have ever heard.

Killer Mike Implores White America To Do Their ‘Homework’ On Combating Racism

June 4, 2020 – Killer Mike implores white America to confront their own historical oppression of Black people during an appearance of the Late Show With Stephen Colbert

OPINION | Killer Mike: Now’s time to plot, plan, mobilize, strategize

June 3, 2020 – In 1991, 14 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) police officers brutally beat Rodney King, an African American motorist. Calling what these officers did to King “police brutality” paints a partial picture but is inadequate to explain their impact.

 

KILLER MIKE & GRASSROOTS LEADERS SPEAK UP ... Here's How We're Battling Racism

June 2, 2020 – Killer Mike’s call with the community leaders and grassroots organizers has wrapped up, and his mission was accomplished … they had a large platform to inform the public of vital work being done to end racism, and how people can help.

Our View: Ruling infuses new life into felon voting

May 29, 2020 – The injustice can’t be much plainer than this: “The state of Florida has adopted a system under which nearly a million otherwise-eligible citizens will be allowed to vote only if they pay an amount of money.”

Enough already - Florida needs to accept judge’s ruling on Amendment 4

May 28, 2020 – It was no shock Sunday when a federal judge ruled that Florida’s law restricting voting rights for ex-felons was unconstitutional. The only surprise was the state waiting all of 48 hours to announce it would appeal. Its determination to keep ex-felons away from ballot boxes is such you’d think nothing would slow it down.

COVID-19 Stalls Efforts To Help People With Felony Convictions Register To Vote

May 28, 2020 – In six states, reforms have restored voting rights to more than one million people since 2018. But many public agencies aren’t doing enough to assist them, and the pandemic dealt a blow to grassroots plans to pick up the slack.

 

 

Planet America US Election 2020

May 27, 2020 – President Trump tees off at his critics while accusing a famous TV host of murder. Meanwhile, Biden’s unique approach to the campaign trail insults his biggest supporters. And battlelines are drawn over mail-in voting … is it really a Democrat scam to rig the election?!

Judge Rejects Florida Law Restricting Voter Registration For Felons

May 26, 2020 – Florida felons who have completed their prison sentences and parole terms are one step closer to regaining their right to vote after a federal court ruled against a state law that would have denied felons the right to vote until they paid off outstanding fines and court fees.

Judge rules against Florida on felons paying fines to vote

May 25, 2020 – A Florida law requiring felons to pay legal fees as part of their sentences before regaining the vote is unconstitutional for those unable to pay, or unable to find out how much they owe, a federal judge ruled Sunday.

’A game-changer’: Five takeaways from Sunday’s ruling on felon voting

May 25, 2020 – A federal judge’s ruling on felon voting in Florida was a bombshell. The state can’t stop felons from voting if they’re too poor to pay back court-ordered fees, fines and restitution to victims, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote in a ruling issued Sunday.

Federal judge guts Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before they can vote

May 24, 2020 – A federal judge has gutted a Florida state law requiring felons to pay all court fines and fees before they can register to vote, clearing the way for thousands of Floridians to register in time for the November presidential election.

Former felons in Florida still fighting for voting rights

May 23, 2020 – Florida voters in 2018 overwhelmingly approved a proposition to allow roughly 1.5 million felons in the state to be given back their right to vote. 

Is COVID-19 delaying the fight for voting rights in Florida?

May 16, 2020 – In Florida, people with felony records are fighting to regain their voting rights. But the coronavirus has made that struggle more difficult. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano spoke to Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition about what effect the virus has had on their chances of voting in November elections.

In Florida, felons must pay court debts before they can vote. But with no system to do so, many have found it impossible.

May 13, 2020 – The promise of an amendment to Florida’s state constitution seemed huge when it was overwhelmingly approved in November 2018: As many as 1.5 million felons previously barred from casting ballots in the state would soon be able to vote. 

"Let the people out who are due for release": a proposal seeks to reduce the effect of the pandemic in prisons

May 11, 2020 – Ángel Sánchez spent 12 years in prison and is now about to graduate as a lawyer and he argues that the prison system is not ready to deal with the pandemic. He proposes that those who are close to their release date be let out early.

PASSING OUT MASKS AND MORE

May 9, 2020 – To help combat the spread of COVID-19, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition partnered with Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill and Onyx Magazine on April 21 to distribute 3,000 masks to Orlando residents. Masks were distributed at the Coalition for the Homeless, the Salvation Army and two apartment complexes.

FRRC leaders donate masks to Highlands County Jail

May 6, 2020 – Leaders from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) visited the Highlands County and Broward County Jails on Tuesday to donate thousands of protective masks to both facilities in response to recent reports of lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

How Desmond Meade built a movement that restored voting rights in Florida — almost

May 3, 2020 – One ex-felon launched a grassroots drive against Florida’s Jim Crow-style voting laws — but the fight’s not over.

Former inmates deliver masks to Lee County Jail

May 3, 2020 – A group of former inmates are helping to protect guards and inmates in our community. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition purchased twelve hundred masks. 

FGCU Journalism Students Profile Former Felons About to Vote Again

April 28, 2020 – A federal trial began April 27 in Tallahassee concerning the restoration of voting rights for most non-violent former felons in Florida.

Guest opinion: There is a better way to help the homeless in Lee County

April 28, 2020 – Seeing our community respond to COVID-19 has been both inspiring and heartbreaking. 

Florida Felons' Voting Rights Case to Begin on Monday

April 26, 2020 – A federal court will begin hearing a case on Monday that could decide whether hundreds of thousands of newly enfranchised felons in the key swing state of Florida will be able to vote in November’s election.

‘People first’ policies needed to confront COVID-19 in prisons, jails. It’s not about politics. | Opinion

April 14, 2020 – When partisan politics take over the policymaking process, it is ultimately the most vulnerable in our society who lose.

Federal judge expands voting decision to apply to all ex-felons in Florida

April 7, 2020 – The federal judge overseeing the ongoing dispute between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and released felons who want to vote handed the Republican governor another defeat Tuesday. 

Florida judge offers new hope to former criminal offenders for voting rights restoration

April 5, 2020 – In the quest to restore voting rights to the nearly 1.4 million Floridians with prior felony convictions, there is new hope that a class action designation will make that possible.

Florida loses a federal appeals court ruling on the state’s felon voting law

March 31, 2020 – A federal appellate court on Tuesday rejected Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to have the court reconsider a ruling that found that Florida felons who have served their time but can’t pay outstanding financial obligations must be allowed to vote.

Florida’s Former Felons Fight Voter Suppression

March 27, 2020 – In Eatonville, Florida, a recount confirmed that incumbent town councilman Tarus Mack beat challenger Marlin Daniels by one vote in the March 17 election in the country’s first incorporated black municipality.

Re-Enfranchised Florida Voters Could Decide the Presidential Election

March 19, 2020 – Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, said he was feeling “positive” as he spoke to Colorlines on March 17. 

Ahead of Florida primary, 1.4 million former felons unsure whether they can vote in 2020

March 16, 2020 – It’s been 16 months since Floridians voted to restore voting rights for roughly 1.4 million felons who had been permanently banned from casting a ballot by a law passed during the Jim Crow era.

In Florida, path to restoring felons’ voting rights has been fraught with challenge

March 12, 2020 – Until 2018, Florida was one of only a few states that banned felons from voting for life. 

Florida ex-felons voting in 2020 for 'second chance'

March 12, 2020 – Floridians are next in line to vote this Presidential primary season, with the primaries scheduled for Tuesday, March 17. 

State Lawmakers Fight Citizen Initiatives

March 11, 2020 – Angie Nixon racked up tons of unpaid overtime to help put Medicaid expansion on the 2020 Florida ballot.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition president dispels Amendment 4 myths

March 9, 2020 – Desmond Meade has been fighting for rights restoration for Florida’s returning citizens for decades. The President of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition spoke to that fight Monday morning at a panel conversation hosted by Rep. Charlie Crist.

 

Make it easier for felons to earn occupational licenses | Column

March 9, 2020 – Floridians with past criminal convictions experience significant barriers when entering the workforce. For those pursuing an occupational license, these challenges are more pronounced.

Voting Rights Activist Desmond Meade Admits Amendment 4 Language "Was Not Perfect"

March 9, 2020 – This month’s presidential primary election is the first statewide vote in Florida since the passage of Amendment 4, the 2018 constitutional amendment that aimed to restore the voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million people with felony convictions.

Over 1 million former felons still face hurdles after being given right to vote

March 8, 2020 – It’s been more than 10 years since ​Gary Daughtry Sr., 66, had the right to vote and since he was released from prison. Previously in the state of Florida, anyone who committed a felony ​lost his or her right to vote ​and had to petition the governor to become re-enfranchised.

 

Desmond Meade On Restoring Voting Rights w/ Felony Convictions in Florida + The Challenges Ahead

February 25, 2020 – Voting rights activist & Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Desmond Meade sits down with Ebro int he Morning to discuss the push to make voting rights legal after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.

Amendment 4′s top advocate isn’t celebrating this week. Here’s why.

February 22, 2020 – Florida’s felon voting rights initiative, known as Amendment 4, scored a big victory Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled that the Legislature’s effort to limit voting to only felons who have paid off all their court debts was unconstitutional.

Rights Restoration Coalition Looks To Florida Clemency Board Reforms

February 20, 2020 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is pushing the state clemency board to ease its rules and clear the way for more felons to regain their rights.

Florida loses appeals court ruling on felon voting law

February 19, 2020 – A legal and political battle over voting rights in Florida reached another milestone on Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled that a law limiting the voting rights of people with felony convictions as unconstitutional.

Appeals court slaps DeSantis, GOP on felons voting law

February 19, 2020 – A federal appeals court rocked Florida, the nation’s biggest presidential battleground state, by ruling Wednesday that felons cannot be barred from voting because they failed to pay all fines, fees and restitution stemming from their cases.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition group advocates for clemency reform at Capitol

February 17, 2020 – A Florida group advocating for clemency showed up at the Capitol in big numbers to campaign for the restoration of civil rights. 

Neil Volz has a new lobbying tool, voters, available this Advocacy Day

February 17, 2020 – Neil Volz two years ago spent his time in Tallahassee hoping to turn returning citizens into registered voters. That mission succeeded — for the most part — with passage of Amendment 4.

The biggest voting rights win in recent US history – and the Republicans trying to thwart it

January 9, 2020 – One year ago, Florida enacted the biggest expansion of the right to vote in America in a generation. 

Florida Faces A Rocky Rollout To Restore Voting Rights After Felony Convictions

January 8, 2020 – Florida passed an amendment in 2018, promising to restore voting rights for over a million Floridians with felony convictions. But that hope turned to confusion soon after.

30 Felons Get Early Christmas Gift: Voting Rights Restored

December 25, 2019 – Thirty Hillsborough County residents received the Christmas gift they had hoped for since the November 2018 general election — the restoration of their right to cast their ballot in an election.

Valencia Grad Angel Sanchez Continues to Break Barriers

December 19, 2019 – When Angel Sanchez graduated from Valencia College in 2014 – and led his fellow graduates in a rousing chant of “we don’t settle, we succeed,” at the conclusion of his commencement speech – people at Valencia knew he was going places.

Ex-Felons To Get Financial Help To Vote

December 17, 2019 – The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office is starting a program aimed at giving convicted felons back their right to vote. And it revolves around money.

Some ex-felons in Florida still struggling to have voting rights restored -- here’s why

November 24, 2019 – Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4 last year with the intention of automatically restoring voting rights to most felons who have served their time, but how it works remains cloudy.

TIME 100: The Most Influential People of 2019—Desmond Meade

November 13, 2019 – Check the box and you lose the ability to secure a job, rent an apartment or get a loan. The formerly incarcerated—returning citizens—often face a cruel irony in America.

 

John Legend Lends Support as Florida Felons Get Vote Rights

November 8, 2019 – Singer John Legend was on hand to lend support Friday as 18 former felons were granted the right to vote in what Miami officials called a simple and streamlined process.

Ex-felons vote in Florida after overcoming prison — and the GOP

November 2, 2019 – Desmond Meade can’t vote in Orlando’s mayoral contest. But he’ll be in the city on Saturday anyway, cheering as hundreds of recently reinfranchised ex-felons and their families head to the polls together.

Bus Tour Out To Spread Word About Felons' Voting Rights

November 2, 2019 – Several convicted felons voted for the first time Saturday in Orange County, in the first election season since Amendment Four passed.

DeSantis: Non-violent felons should get more than just voting rights restored

October 22, 2019 – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he’s willing to use his powers as governor to grant potentially tens of thousands of nonviolent felons the ability to serve on juries and run for office.

Desmond Meade Made History but Housing Was Still Out of Reach

October 14, 2019 – Desmond Meade succeeded in building a movement to restore voting rights to 1.4 million U.S. citizens in Florida. Until recently, he faced a barrier securing housing.

Community groups gathering to help former felons restore voting rights

September 6, 2019 – Ten months after Amendment 4 was passed in the 2018 Florida election, voting rights that were supposed to be restored to 1.4 million Floridians formerly convicted of a felony who lost their right to vote but served the entirety of their sentences (with the exception of people convicted of murder or felony sex crimes) still have not been for some.

Amendment 4 Law On Ex-Felon Voting Rights Brings Confusion. Here’s What It Says And Means.

July 3, 2019 – A war of words has broken out over the Amendment 4 bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which requires former felons to pay off all fines and fees included as part of their sentence before their right to vote is restored.

How One Voice Changed Florida's Political Calculus

April 2019 – What’s the hardest thing you have ever done in life? What do you name among your greatest accomplishments? How will you be remembered after you’re gone? To each of us, life has dealt a different set of circumstances that have shaped us to become who we are and have influenced our drive and passions.

Pictures: Central Floridian of the Year Desmond Meade

March 28, 2019 – Orlando lawyer Desmond Meade, for his successful efforts to pass Amendment 4 last November, was named the Orlando Sentinel’s 2018 Central Floridian of the Year.

Central Floridian of the Year finalist: Desmond Meade

February 5, 2019 – Desmond Meade is a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year. Meade is the leader of the Amendment 4 movement which granted voting rights back to ex-felons.

1 Million Floridians Convicted Of Felonies Now Have Right To Vote

January 8, 2019 – Following approval of Amendment 4 by a 64 percent majority of Florida voters during midterm elections, Floridians convicted of felonies now have the right to vote. The new state law takes effect Tuesday, Jan. 8, restoring voting rights to an estimated 1.4 million people who fulfilled their sentences following a felony conviction.

Fighting for a second chance

October 31, 2018 – Angel Sanchez had no time for lunch, much less another interview. The second-year student in the University of Miami School of Law already had so much on tap, including writing an essay on prison for the Harvard Law Review and teaching a high school law class, that he was skipping his own classes and duties at Miami Law’s Innocence Clinic. 

Election 2018: Will Florida Let 1.4M U.S. Citizens Vote in Democracy?

October 23, 2018 – In Florida, returning citizens – or those with felony convictions – are leading a movement by asking: If we’ve paid our debt to society, why are we denied the right to vote? Amendment 4, which is on the November ballot, is capturing nationwide attention.

Desmond Meade Spent Three Years in Prison—Now He Wants His Voting Rights Back

October 18, 2018 – Desmond Meade wants his voting rights back. Almost two decades ago, Meade spent three years in prison after a drug charge conviction. 

Desmond Meade Hopes to Win Voting Rights for 1.4M Floridians with Felony Convictions—Including Himself

October 16, 2018 – Voters in Florida are preparing to vote on a measure that would restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with nonviolent felonies who have fully completed their sentences. 

The Power of Second Chances: Neil Volz’s Story

October 12, 2018 – Neil was a Washington, DC, insider, a chief of staff for a powerful congressperson, a staff director for a congressional committee, a force to be reckoned with in conservative DC circles. 

Ángel Sánchez: "Who I am hasn't changed, what changed is my environment and the things I value."

October 9, 2018 – From a ‘super predator’ in the 1990s to a top scholar in 2018, it is hard to imagine a more deserving case for Amendment Four. 

Will Florida’s Ex-Felons Finally Regain the Right to Vote?

September 26, 2018 – Twenty-five years ago, when he was a sophomore at Ohio State, Neil Volz started volunteering for his state senator, Bob Ney. 

Convicted felon advocates for restoration of civil rights

May 23, 2018 – Should convicted felons’ civil rights be restored? Neil Volz, of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition was convicted of conspiracy as part of the Jack Ambramoff lobbying scandal more than a decade ago. 

Millions of ex-cons lost their right to vote. Now they might get it back.

January 28, 2018 – When Desmond Meade’s wife ran for a seat in Florida’s State House in the 2016 election, he knocked on doors and helped her campaign. 

UCF grad: From street gang to law school

August 11, 2017 – When UCF graduate Angel Sanchez starts law school in Miami this week, it will be a strange sort of homecoming. 

The US Disenfranchises People Unlike Any Other Country, This Guy Is Proof

April 13, 2017 – What kind of a democracy works so hard to keep its citizens from voting? The US Democracy.