UPDATE 7/10/2018: Tuesday afternoon, the judge in the case modified his order on early voting. Five locations will open Friday. The other 22 locations will open Tuesday.
Originally, the order had all other voting sites opening Monday, but the Election Commission wanted that pushed to Wednesday. The judge essentially met in the middle.
(ORIGINAL STORY 7/9/2018)
A chancery court judge has ruled that two additional early voting sites will open the first day of early voting, and all early voting locations will open the following Monday in Shelby County.
This all stems from two suits filed just last week by the Memphis NAACP and the Shelby County Democratic Party, accusing the Shelby County Elections Commission of disenfranchising poorer, minority voters by limiting early voting locations starting Friday.
Monday, attorneys for the NAACP and Shelby County Democratic Party asked that all early voting locations open for at least 10 of the 14 days of the early voting process.
The court agreed, based on key concerns. Some of those were that early voting locations and length of times opened were different from prior elections. There was also question as to when that decision was made, and if the public was well informed of the change.
The election commission told the chancellor Monday that there could be risks of a fair election due to lack of poll workers training and technical issues.
“Obviously, we’re going to comply with the chancellor’s orders that were made and decide if we’re going to appeal or not, but our intent is as it’s always been, and that’s to serve the voters of Shelby County the best we can and provide opportunities for all of them to vote somewhere that’s relatively convenient,” said Robert Meyers of the Shelby County Election Commission.
“Really we wanted to make sure we had our day in court so that the citizens of Shelby County can understand how decisions are made, particularly ones that impact this pivotal civic duty,” said Cory Strong of the Shelby County Democratic Party. “This foundational civic duty.”
In addition to the three early voting locations to open Friday, the injunction calls for locations to open at Ed Rice Community Center and Mississippi Boulevard Church.
All early voting locations are to open next Monday.