The Shelby County Election Commission is frantically trying to process 4000 new voter registration applications and now the Commission is being sued.
The Tennessee Black Voter Project submitted more than 36,000 applications, but the Commission is still processing them, and early voting starts tomorrow.
The Tennessee Black Voters Project says the Election Commission is trying to suppress the black vote, but the Election Commission says the group submitted so many applications all at once and stalled the process.
Election officials showed us one of the bins of incomplete Shelby County Election registration forms at Election Operations.
“There are many applications that have deficiencies.” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County Elections Administrator.
Phillips says it’s the ones with deficiencies: no address, social security number or contact information that has made it necessary for election staff to research, verify and contact applicants into the late hours of the night.
She says nearly 4000 applications were submitted to the office in the past week, days before early voting.
“One particular organization that generated many of these forms, I offered to meet with them, I offered to buy them Wi-Fi enabled tablets,” said Phillips. “I offered to do a lot of things that would make the process easier for both of us and I was turned down.”
Phillips says the forms were from the Tennessee Black Voters Project, an organization helping to boost voter registration throughout the state and Shelby County.
“It’s very important to us that every voter get to vote, but it’s equally important that somebody who is not eligible does not vote and we found over 13-hundred felons that tried to register with this project,” said Phillips/
The Tennessee Black Voters Project filed suit against the Shelby County Election Commission seeking a court ordered inspection of evidence leading to rejected and deficient voter registration applications.
The Election Commission says all eligible voters will be able to vote.
Additional workers and volunteers are working to verify all applications and are contacting applicants if there are questions.
If you have a problem at the polls a precinct captain can call the operations center.
Phillips urges everybody to vote early.