Black Voter Project suing Tennessee Election Board for rejecting thousand of registrations
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 10/18/2018, 10:59 a.m.
Suffice it to say that as a general rule, Republicans don’t like people to turn out in great numbers to vote. That’s because by sheer numbers alone, the Democrats would tend to win. So there has been on ongoing battle going on in states with close races, such as Georgia, where state election boards, most governed by Republicans, are trying to reject thousands of new voter registrants. In Georgia, there’s a battle being wages over some 53,000 new voters. Now in Tennessee, the Black Voter Project is suing the Tennessee Elections Board because it rejected thousands of new registrations, mostly from people of color, reports the Splinter News. The Tennessee Black Voter Project submitted roughly 36,000 voter registration forms to the Selby County Election Commission during a push to register voters of color. But according to Local Memphis and the Associated Press, the commission categorized half the forms as invalid and has thus far failed to respond to public records requests by the BVP meant to shine a light on what was apparently amiss in the process. With the Elections Commission freezing out attempts to understand what, if anything, went wrong, Tennessee voters with invalidated forms have a narrow window to correct their forms ahead of the Nov. 6 election — early voting opened on Wednesday (Oct. 17), and the amount of time for voters deemed invalid to change their form is dwindling with each passing day. In response, the Black Voter Project filed suit on Oct. 15 in Shelby County Chancery Court. The group is seeking a court order to release the voting records being withheld by the Elections Commission. Under the Tennessee Public Records Act, only state citizens are allowed to request publicly available records. Linda Phillips, an administrator with the Shelby County commission, told Local Memphis that the blame lies with the Black Voter Project’s decision to submit thousands of applications last week, saying, “there are many applications that have deficiencies,” and adding, “we found over 1,300 felons that tried to register with this project.” Election Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Thompson said the commission is working into the night to contact voters with forms that have been deemed invalid. Thompson claimed there were also issues with multiple resignations by the same individuals that were holding up the commission.