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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Black Lives Matter wants to flood Shelby County Elections office with absentee applications

Election commission expects at least 22,000 absentee ballots for August 6th election.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Can you feel it?

The thrill.

The anticipation.

The winners.

The losers.

Election Day is coming on August 6th.

This year one of the big stories will be absentee voting by mail. The Tennessee State Supreme Court ruled that fear of contracting the Coronavirus is a legitimate reason to vote absentee.

People are doing it.

Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips is expecting at least 22,000 absentee ballots for the August 6th election.

“We’re very lucky,” she says, “… that we have new equipment and we have enough of it to handle things.”

It’s been almost 20 years that an Elections Administrator has bragged about equipment here.

This week, more than 15,000 ballots have been sent to voters. More are going every day. The deadline to ask for an absentee ballot is July 30th.

Phillips says, “If we’ve mailed you an absentee ballot and you didn’t get it, but you still want to vote, you can come in on Election Day. You will have to vote a provisional ballot. Those ballots are not in the machine. It’s a totally paper process. The voter votes - we fill out the paperwork.”

On Shelby County’s website, shelbyvote.com, it clearly shows you can ask for an absentee ballot by email. That email and your signature must be scanned.

Local representatives of Black Lives Matter say the Elections Commission intentionally said otherwise. It is why Pamela Moses of BLM is urging a last-minute flood of applicants.

“If we can get 10,000 people,” she says, “... to commit before July 30th to request your absentee ballots, then we can ensure the protection of our election in 2020.”

The Election Commission is considered an essential service, so we are able to issue and accept petitions at both locations. However, we urge citizens who do not need to file petitions to stay home and use our online services at GoVoteTN.com.