Memphis Poll Worker Takes It Upon Themself To Turn Away Voters Wearing BLM Shirts
A spokesperson said the poll worker thought the words were affiliated with Democratic Party.
October 20, 2020 at 8:37 pm
Voters in Memphis were incensed this week when they were turned away by a poll worker at the Dave Wells Community Center because of their shirts that read "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe," according to the Associated Press.
Shelby County Election Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Thompson told the news outlet that the poll worker has since been fired, saying the person misinterpreted a state law when she was turning away voters.
Thompson explained that Tennessee has a law making it illegal to wear anything that has any candidate's name on it at an election venue. The poll worker, Thompson said, believed that "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" were representative of the Democratic Party, which they are not.
“That was pretty bad. They were not supposed to be turned away,” Thompson told the Associated Press.
Like many other states, Tennessee has seen a surge in early voting, particularly from voters in cities like Memphis. But the increase in early voting has led to corresponding efforts by the Republican party to limit voting in any way they can.
The official Republican Party apparatus in California caused outrage last week when they installed fake ballot boxes across the state, intentionally confusing efforts by voters on where to drop off their ballots and which boxes were officially sanctioned by the state, according to Politico.
California's attorney general and secretary of state were forced to file a cease-and-desist order to stop the party from spreading the fake ballot boxes.
This is fascistic voter intimidation on proud display inside a Miami polling location. pic.twitter.com/AnoYYwDpwU— Scott Linnen (@ScottLinnen) October 20, 2020
The Miami Police Department was forced to release a statement apologizing for the officer's actions, writing on Twitter, "We are aware of the photograph being circulated of a Miami Police officer wearing a political mask in uniform. This behavior is unacceptable, a violation of departmental policy, and is being addressed immediately."
Trump caused alarm last month during the first presidential debate when he urged his followers "to go into the polls and watch very carefully."
Military leaders have had to come out this week and reiterate that the army will not play a role in any part of the election after multiple lawmakers raised concerns about Trump's comments, according to USA Today.
"Unfortunately, I now have to think pretty seriously about making sure there's not intimidation at the polls, making sure if the president really doubles down after the election and contests the results with no cause that he doesn't do another call to action to some of these groups. I don't think we'll see wide-scale violence. But I wouldn't be surprised if we saw limited skirmishes," Rep. Elissa Slotkin last week said last week, according to USA Today.
Trump supporters have already been implicated in multiple attempts to intimidate voters across the country. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring released a memo last month after Trump supporters shouted "Four More Years" at an early voting site in Fairfax County, Virginia, NPR reported.
The news outlet noted that Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., released an alarming video calling for "every able-bodied man, woman to join Army for Trump's election security operation at defendyourballot.com."
"We need you to help us watch them. Not just on Election Day, but also during early voting and at the counting boards. President Trump is going to win. Don't let them steal it," he said, according to NPR.
The Republican National Committee said it was planning to hire more than 50,000 people to work as "poll watchers" and denied that it was an effort to intimidate voters.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told NPR that even if Trump supporters did not physically show up to the polls every day, the intended effect was to scare people away from voting entirely.
"This is a pattern and practice that we have seen throughout the years, these wild exaggerations and bold proclamations that often fall flat in the end, but are intended to have a particular effect, intended to discourage or deter people from voting," she said.