“Tennessee voters were challenged at the polls for wearing Black Lives Matter and ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts, election official says”


A poll worker in Memphis was fired last week after interfering with early voters who wore T-shirts and masks with slogans supporting Black Lives Matter, according to a Shelby County election official.

Details about the incident remained unclear Tuesday, including how many people were affected. Earlier reports indicated voters had been turned away at the Dave Wells Community Center in north Memphis last week, but no county election board officials were on hand to verify whether the prospective voters ended up casting their ballots, Shelby County Election Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Thompson told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

“Our voters are not going to be intimidated. We’re doing everything we can so that every voter in Shelby County can exercise their right,” Thompson said.

The poll worker “of his own volition” was seen telling people late last week that they had to turn their T-shirt or mask inside out if it said “Black Lives Matter,” according to Thompson. A separate poll worker who worked the check-in table and was believed to be friends with the fired poll worker did not show up for work the next day, Thompson said….

When county officials reminded the poll worker, who has not been identified, of the training that all poll workers undergo — and which this year specifically addressed that racial justice slogans are permitted at the polls — he pushed back, Thompson said. She described the poll worker as expressing his belief that Black Lives Matter and the slogan “I Can’t Breathe” were “political statements connected to the Democratic Party.”


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