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Democracy NowOct 16, 2018
Meet Desmond Meade, an Ex-Felon Trying to Restore Voting Rights to 1.4 Million Floridians
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. One in five African Americans in Florida and 10 percent of the state's adult population are ineligible to vote because of a criminal record. Across the United States, more than 6.1 million people with felony convictions are not eligible to vote. Florida is one of just four states that bar ex-felons from voting for life. The other states are Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that Florida disenfranchises more citizens than Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee combined. We speak with Desmond Meade, the president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, who is leading the fight to re-enfranchise felons in Florida. He's also chair of the group Floridians for a Fair Democracy. Meade is an ex-offender who was previously homeless. He is still disenfranchised. We also speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, reporting fellow at The Nation Institute and author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America." His latest piece is titled "Inside the Unlikely Movement That Could Restore Voting Rights to 1.4 Million Floridians."
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