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How the voter ready open house can prepare you for early voting

The voter ready open house is set for Thursday, April 7 from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. at all Shelby County polling locations to prepare voters to participate in early voting.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Shelby County residents prepare for local democratic and republican primary elections, the Shelby County Voter Alliance (SCVA) and the Shelby County Election Commission (SCEC) is set to host a voter ready open house Thursday, April 7 from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. at all Shelby County polling locations.

The voter ready open house was organized in hopes to increase voter awareness and ensure that voters are properly informed about several closures and relocations of voter polling sites throughout the county.

After redistricting plans were approved by Tennessee legislature, several polling locations that residents of Shelby County are familiar with were either closed or relocated, causing concern for voter preparedness and voter advocacy as the local primary elections quickly approach.

In addition to polling location closures, the SCEC made changes that resulted in mergers, and site name changes.

“The Voter Ready Open House is an outstanding opportunity to help voters familiarize themselves with where to go on Election Day,” Linda Phillips, Administrator of the Shelby County Election Commission said. “In lieu of recent changes, this is one of several steps we’re taking to prevent voter disenfranchisement.”

Several organizations are concerned that Memphis residents in inner city areas will have a hard time accessing early voting locations after the many site closures and relocations.

The partnership between SCEC and SCVA to organize the voter ready open house comes after it was reported that the NAACP Memphis Branch, Up the Vote 901, and the Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis filed a lawsuit against the SCEC, accusing the commission of voter disenfranchisement during the early voting process.

RELATED: NAACP Memphis branch and others file lawsuit against Shelby County Election Commission over early voting sites

Earle Fisher, the founder of Up the Vote 901 said that the current early voting schedule, as well as the scale back of available voting sites puts early voters in some areas at an extreme inconvenience and disadvantage.

“There's no site in Whitehaven during that time,” Fisher said. “There's no site in Hickory Hill. There’s no precinct open in Westwood. You're talking about some of the places where people are most prone to participate in early voting not even being open.”

Voters can click here to locate early voting polling locations and to check early voting schedules.

There are 24 local offices open for election in Shelby County, where democratic and republican nominees will be elected to fill several offices, including appointed offices for district attorney, county mayor, and sheriff. 

Voters can familiarize themselves with key voting dates to keep an open eye on as well as open local offices to be more informed voters.

Voter registration for the August 2022 election will be available during the Voter Ready Open House for all eligible Shelby County residents.

RELATED: Here's what you need to know about voting in Tennessee, why it matters

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