– Meade Continues Fight Against Voter Disenfranchisement After Leading Historic Victory with Passage of Voting Rights Restoration Initiative in Florida –

– “YES” on Prop 17 Restores the Right to Vote to Californians Returning from Prison –

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2020

Contact: Shay Franco-Clausen,, 408-966-8157

SACRAMENTO, CA – Desmond Meade, president and executive director of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) – and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019 – today announced his endorsement of Proposition 17, a ballot measure that would restore the right to vote to nearly 50,000 California citizens who have completed their prison terms but remain excluded from the democratic process.

In 2018, Meade led FRRC to a historic victory with the passage of Amendment 4, a ballot initiative that put an end to over 150 years of permanent disenfranchisement for everyone convicted of a felony in Florida. Approved by almost 65% of Florida voters, Amendment 4 was the most significant step forward on voting rights restoration in generations.

Meade is the latest endorser to join a wave of positive support for Proposition 17, which would amend California’s constitution to eliminate a Jim Crow-era law designed to disenfranchise Black, Latino and Asian American voters. If Proposition 17 is approved, California citizens who have completed their prison term would immediately regain their right to vote.

Proposition 17 is a direct opportunity for millions of Californians to effect real change after months of protests and demonstrations against racial injustice.

“I hope Californians turn out and vote YES on Proposition 17, for their neighbors and loved ones,” said Desmond Meade, president and executive director of FRRC. “Just like Amendment 4 did in Florida, Proposition 17 gives voters the unique chance to cast a vote for democracy. In this case, California could restore the right to vote for nearly 50,000 citizens and continue to push the national conversation on this issue forward.”

“Our campaign is elated to have received the endorsement and blessing of a such a tremendous figure in the fight to restore voting rights,” said Taina Vargas-Edmond, executive chair of the Yes On Prop 17 campaign and co-founder and executive director of Initiate Justice. “Desmond’s life’s work has centered on restoring the right to vote to millions of citizens. His leadership with Amendment 4 has served as a catalyst for change across the country and will continue to serve as an inspiration for other states that are at a standstill on this issue.”

To date, more than 400 individuals and organizations—including singer, songwriter, and social activist John Legend, climate activist Tom Steyer, and Ben & Jerry’s—have endorsed Proposition 17. The ballot measure has also earned the endorsement of elected officials like Governor Newsom, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and Congressmembers Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, and Eric Swalwell; leading national civil and human rights groups like Human Rights Watch, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and UnidosUS; and of criminal justice and public safety organizations like American Probation and Parole Association, Fair and Just Prosecution, The Justice Collaborative, The Ladies of Hope Ministries, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and REFORM Alliance. (The complete list of endorsers is below.)

If the measure is approved, California would join 19 other states, both red and blue, and Washington, D.C., that already include citizens who have completed prison terms in their democracy.

“Yes” on Prop 17 is a campaign by and for the 50,000 California citizens disenfranchised due to a law enacted at the height of Jim Crow. The campaign’s website highlights the personal stories of Californians who have been impacted by mass incarceration and who would regain their voice in our democracy with the passage of Proposition 17. Read more here.

**Media interviews are available upon request**:

  • Taina Vargas-Edmond, executive chair of the Yes On Prop 17 campaign and co-founder and executive director of Initiate Justice.
  • Californians who have been impacted by mass incarceration can share their personal stories and why regaining their voice in our democracy with the passage of Proposition 17 is so important to them.

Endorsements of Proposition 17 as of today:

Elected Officials:

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Ro Khanna, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Governor Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Assemblymember Marc Berman, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Assemblymember Marc Levine, Assemblymember Evan Low, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager, Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, Assemblymember Luz Rivas, Assemblymember Mark Stone, Assemblymember Shirley Weber, California State Board of Equalization Chair Malia Cohen, Candidate for State Senate District 15 Ann Ravel, former State Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León, State Senator Jim Beall, State Senator Steven Bradford, State Senator Bill Dodd, State Senator Lena Gonzalez, State Senator Holly Mitchell, State Senator Scott Weiner, State Senator Bob Wieckowski, City of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, City of Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine, City of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose Vice Mayor Charles “Chappie” Jones, City of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker.

Cities and Counties:

City of Berkeley, City of Oakland, City of Long Beach, City of San Jose, City of West Hollywood, Alameda County, Los Angeles County, Marin County, Monterey County, San Francisco City and County, and Santa Clara County.

Activists, Celebrities, and Leaders:

John Legend, Desmond Meade, Tom Steyer, Snoop Dogg, Kimberly Ellis, Brandon Flynn, Annie Gonzalez, Siva Kaneswaran, and Matt McGorry.

Community Organizations and Business Organizations:

ACLU of California, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, Active SGV, Activism Articulated, Advancement Project California, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, American Association of University Women, APLA Health, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Health Services, Asian Solidarity Collective, Bay Rising Action, Ben & Jerry’s, Black Lives Matter – California, Black Lives Matter – Long Beach, Black Lives Matter – Sacramento, and Brennan Center for Justice.

California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Association of Nonprofits, California Calls, California Common Cause, California Environmental Justice Alliance Action, California Food & Farming Network, California Health Advocates, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, California League of Conservation Voters, California NORML, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, CalPACE, Campaign Legal Center, Causa Justa :: Just Cause, CAUSE Action Fund, Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, Center for Employment Opportunities, Center on Policy Initiatives, Chicanxs Unidxs, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Chispa, Chrysalis, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Color Of Change PAC, Community Coalition, Community Health Councils, Courage California, Democracy for America, Disability Rights California, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Downtown Women’s Center.

East Bay for Everyone, East Bay Housing Organizations, Elect Justice California, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Empower to Change, End Citizens United, Equality California, Equal Justice Society, Evolve California, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, For The People, Fresno Sunrise Movement, Give a Beat, GLIDE Center for Social Justice, Greenlining Institute, Housing California, Human Impact Partners, Indivisible CA: StateStrong, InnerCity Struggle, LA Forward, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, League of Women Voters of California, Let America Vote, Liberty Hill Foundation, Long Beach Forward, and Los Angeles Urban League.

MALDEF, Manhattan Beach for Justice, Marin Food Policy Council, Mid-City CAN (Community Advocacy Network), Mi Familia Vota, The Millions Voters Project, Mothers Out Front California, Move in Unity Victory + Action (MUVA), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Center for Youth Law, National Urban League, Northern California Grantmakers, Ocean & Mountain, Our Revolution East Bay, Outten & Golden LLP, Pasadenans Empowering Parent Participation in Education Governance, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, PolicyLink, Power Action California, Public Advocates, Public Counsel, Right2Vote Campaign, Rock the Vote Action Fund, and R Street Institute.

San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), San Francisco Rising, San Francisco YIMBY, Secure Democracy, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Bay Area, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Contra Costa, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Marin, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Sacred Heart, Showing Up for Racial Justice – San Diego, Showing Up for Racial Justice – San Francisco, Sierra Club California, Sierra Club San Diego, Silicon Valley DeBug, TechEquity Collaborative, TheatreWorkers Project, Time for Change Foundation, UnidosUS, Union of Concerned Scientists, United Way Bay Area, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, United Ways of California, UNITE-LA, VietRise, Vote Allies, Voting Rights Lab Action, Western Center on Law and Poverty, We the People – San Diego, White People 4 Black Lives, Women’s Foundation of California, Young Women’s Freedom Center, and Youth Leadership Institute.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety Organizations:

#cut50, American Probation and Parole Association, A New PATH, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, California Families Against Solitary Confinement , California Prison Focus, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, CURYJ, Defy Ventures, Dignity and Power Now, Dream Corps, Drug Policy Alliance, Essie Justice Group, Fair and Just Prosecution, Fair Chance Project, Families United to End LWOP, Homeboy Industries, Homies Unidos, Hustle 2.0, Initiate Justice, The Justice Collaborative, Justice LA, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, La Defensa, The Ladies of Hope Ministries, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia, Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership (LARRP), Northern California Innocence Project, People over Profit – San Diego, Prison From-TheInside-Out Inc., Prison Policy Initiative, Re:Store Justice, Real Justice PAC, REFORM Alliance, Represent Justice, San Bernardino Free Them All, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Smart Justice California, Success Stories Program, The Sentencing Project, Transformative In-Prison Workgroup, Transforming Justice Orange County, and UnCommon Law.

Faith Organizations:

American Friends Service Committee, Anchor of Hope, Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Bend the Arc: South Bay, CAIR-California, California Council of Churches, California Religious Action Center (RAC-CA), Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Friends Committee on Legislation of California, Grace Cathedral, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Jewish Center for Justice, Jewish Community Relations Council, LA Voice, Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California, Multi-faith ACTION Coalition, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Jewish Women – Sacramento, People Acting in Community Together, PICO California, Sacred Heart Community Service, and Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California.

Unions and Associations:

AFSCME, AFSCME 3299, Berkeley Tenants Union, California Association of Nonprofits, California College of the Arts Staff Union, California Faculty Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Labor Federation, California Medical Association, California Primary Care Association, California Psychological Association, California Public Defenders Association, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, Contra Costa Labor Council, IBEW Local 11, IBEW Local 477, IBEW Local 569, IFPTE Local 21, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Los Angeles County Medical Association, Los Angeles Public Defenders Union Local 148, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) California Chapter, National Union of Healthcare Workers, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, San Francisco Human Services Network, San Francisco Tenants Union, San Mateo County Central Labor Council, SEIU California, SEIU Local 1021, SEIU Local 221, SEIU Local 521, SEIU Local 721, SEIU-UHW, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, UAW Local 5810, UAW Western States, UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, UFCW Local 324, UFCW Local 770, UFCW Western States Council, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, UNITE HERE Local 2, and Valley Industry & Commerce Association.


Los Angeles Times, Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Fresno Bee, Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise, Daily Breeze, Daily Bruin, East Bay Times, El Tecolote, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Long Beach Press-Telegram, The Modesto Bee, Monterey County Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Palo Alto Online, The Press Democrat, Random Length News, Redlands Community News, San Bernardino Sun, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Santa Barbara Independent, and Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Political Organizations:

Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, Auburn Area Democratic Club, Bernal Heights Democratic Club, Beverly Hills Democratic Club, Black Women’s Democratic Club, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Black Women Organizing for Political Action, Butte County Democratic Party, California Democratic Party, California Democratic Party Black Caucus, California Democratic Party LGBT Caucus, California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus, California Young Democrats, Clairemont Democratic Club, Contra Costa Young Democrats, Democratic Alliance for Action of Santa Clarita, Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, Democratic Socialists of America – Fresno, Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles, Democratic Socialists of America – Orange County, Democratic Socialists of America – San Diego, Democratic Socialists of America – San Luis Obispo, Democratic Socialists of America – Santa Cruz, Democratic Socialists of America – Silicon Valley, El Cerrito Progressives, East Bay Young Democrats, Green Party of California, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, Heart of L.A. Democratic Club, Libertarian Party of California, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Los Angeles County Young Democrats, Peace and Freedom Party, Peninsula Young Democrats, Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats, Placer County Democratic Party, Point Loma Democratic Club, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Sacramento County Democratic Party, San Diego Democrats for Equality, San Francisco Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club, San Francisco Green Party, San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, San Francisco Young Democrats, San Mateo County Democratic Party, Santa Barbara County Democratic Party, Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Santa Clara County Libertarian Party, Silicon Valley Stonewall Democrats, United Democratic Club, Valley Grassroots for Democracy, Ventura County Democratic Party, and West Hollywood Democratic Club.

Student Organizations:

Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, Bruin Democrats, Cal Berkeley Democrats, California High School Democrats, Cal Poly Democrats, Chico State Democrats, College Democrats at UCI, College Democrats of SDSU, CSU Project Rebound Consortium, Davis College Democrats, Project Rebound – Cal State LA, Project Rebound – Fresno State, Project Rebound – Sacramento State, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, UCSB Campus Democrats, Underground Scholars Initiative, Underground Scholars Initiative – UCR, Underground Scholars Initiative – UC Santa Barbara, Underground Scholars Initiative – UC Santa Cruz, and University of California Students Association.

Proposition 17 is sponsored by Yes On Prop 17, a campaign by and for Californians directly impacted by mass incarceration, and the following organizations: ACLU of California, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, Initiate Justice, League of Women Voters of California, Mi Familia Vota, Vote Allies, Voting Rights Lab Action, and White People 4 Black Lives. To learn more, visit