Memphis poll worker fired after telling voters wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to leave

A poll worker in Memphis, Tenn., was fired after allegedly turning away voters who were wearing “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe” masks and T-shirts.

The Shelby County poll worker was fired by the manager of operations at the Dave Wells Community Center, the Commercial Appeal reported.

“What he did was patently wrong and he was fired,” Suzanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the Shelby County Election Commission, told the Memphis newspaper. 


Tennessee state law prohibits voters from wearing items bearing the name of a candidate or political party on the ballot while at a polling location.

The statements “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe” are not violations of that law, but the poll worker thought the statements were tied to the Democratic Party, Thompson said.

“That was pretty bad,” she told The Associated Press. “They were not supposed to be turned away.”

Early voting is open in Tennessee though Oct. 29, and voters have been turning out in droves.

At least 19,240 voters in Shelby County voted early on Monday, the second-highest one-day total since 2000, according to the election commission.