Connect with us

APolitical

Desmond Meade recognized by TIME as ‘Most Influential’

Desmonde Meade singled out as an icon for voting rights.

Florida’s voter rights restoration champion Desmond Meade of Orlando is being featured in the latest issue of TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in 2019.

Meade was the driving force, face, and soul of the broad, grassroots campaign last year for the passage of Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, restoring voting rights to people like himself who had been convicted of felonies yet served their full sentences. TIME named him as one of influential “Icons”, along with such varied others as Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and Christine Blasey Ford.

The magazine’s top 100 includes a broad cross-section of international figures including divided into categories “Pioneers” such as Sandra Oh and Barbara Rae-Venter, “Artists” such as Dwayne Johnson and Ariana Grande, “Leaders” such as President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Titans” such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bob Iger, and Icons.

“What an honor to make the TIME 100 list!” Meade tweeted Wednesday morning upon the announcement. “So appreciative of the folks God placed in my life along my journey. Especially my wife @sheena_meade.”

Each profile story was written by a celebrity who also has been influential. Meade’s was written by Stacey Abrams., who wrote that Meade’s efforts were more than just about voting.

“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. Having paid their debt to society, too many are banned from the ballot box that could help them dismantle policies that essentially extend their sentences.
Desmond Meade decided to break this pattern for 1.4 million Floridians,” she wrote.

Meade’s efforts, which have taken many years, have led to the prospect of up to 1.4 million “returning citizens” getting their voting rights restored, the greatest potential expansion of rights in a half century.

That effort continues, as Florida lawmakers have been pushing through enabling legislation that would restrict the return based on whether the would-be voters have paid all their court-ordered fees, fines, and restitution. Meade and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition he founded and leads have been fighting against the restriction, arguing that in many cases the financial obligations can be impossible debts for felons who can find only minimum wage employment, particularly in cases where such financial matters have been converted, by a judge, from a criminal sentence to a civil lien.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Poll: Donald Trump approval numbers have fallen further in Florida than any other state

Federal

Lawmakers look at limiting marijuana highs

Headlines

National report recommends leveling portions of I-275 in Tampa

Tampa Bay

Crystal Wagar elected Mayor of Miami Shores

South Florida

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.