Tennessee poll worker fired for allegedly refusing voters with BLM clothing: reports

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A Tennessee polling officer was fired on Friday after refusing voters who wore clothing linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, officials said.

The worker was released after a witness at the Dave Wells Community Center in North Memphis, Tennessee, reported the incident to officials, according to Suzanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the Shelby County Election Commission.

Thompson said officials were told by an operations official that the clothing message was “Black Lives Matter,” while State Representative Antonio Parkinson said on his Facebook page that the shirts or masks read ” I can’t breathe, ”according to reports.

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Voters wait in line at the Pursuit of God Church on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, in Memphis, Tennessee, on the first day of Tennessee’s early voting. (Patrick Lantrip / Daily Memphian via AP)

“It was pretty bad,” Thompson said. “They weren’t meant to be turned down.”

While Tennessee law does not allow voters at the polls to wear items featuring the name of a candidate or political party, Thompson said the policy would not have applied because Black Lives Matter did not is not political, reported WREG-TV of Memphis.

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“He received very clear instructions. He received clear instructions the next day, and again he ignored them. So he was fired, ”Election administrator Linda Phillips said, according to the station.

Thomas added that only a few people were ordered to leave.

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Early voter turnout ahead of the Nov. 3 election was strong in Memphis and across Tennessee. Early voting ends Oct. 29 in the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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