Now that local Democrats have gotten much of what they wanted in the fight for more access to early voting, the really important task lies ahead. And that is more voter participation throughout Shelby County. Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view.
A Chancery Court judge Monday night clearly found that the county election commission’s original early voting plan was akin to voter suppression.
So now, instead of 3 sites opening, the court ordered 5 locations to be available when early voting starts on Friday. They are in Midtown, Frayser, Whitehaven, Germantown and the Shelby Farms area. The remaining sites will open next Tuesday.
All of this will take effect assuming the Election Commission does not appeal. And I hope it does not. The commission made changes to early voting procedures without adequate notice. Giving an impression, fair or not, of underhandedness. Appealing the judge’s ruling would only add to the suspicion.
But here’s the larger point. Turnout should now match the effort put into expanding early voting sites. In other words, county residents, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who might not have thought about voting, should absolutely do so.
There are critical local races on the ballot including county mayor, sheriff, county commission, and clerk positions. Four years ago, the August voter turnout was just 27%. It would be frankly embarrassing if that number is not much higher this time. Voting is not just a right. It’s our duty.