MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials with the NAACP Memphis branch say tens of thousands of Shelby County residents have been unfairly denied the right to vote. Now, they’re trying to help those residents get back to the polls for future elections.
NAACP officials say these residents have been removed from the voting rolls, in many cases, because of state rules they feel are unfair.
According to the Tennessee Secretary of State, a person can be removed from the voting rolls for various reasons. For example, if they need to update their voter registration but fail to do so for two consecutive regular November elections, at that point, they would be removed from the rolls and therefore unable to vote.
NAACP officials want the rules changed so that Tennesseans who register to vote remain registered unless they commit a felony or move out of state.
Van Turner is president of the NAACP Memphis chapter. He says more than 100,000 Shelby County residents are currently off the voting rolls and also claims most of them haven’t been notified.
So, he’s partnering with other agencies to find these voters and get them registered again so they can participate in the 2022 midterm elections.
“Voting is such an essential right. It is the most integral and important right one has as part of a democracy,” Turner said.