VOL. 133 | NO. 132 | Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Democrats Organize for Early Voter Turnout at Germantown Site
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Democrats plan to bring out Democratic voters on the July 13 opening of the early-voting period at two polling sites – one each in Whitehaven and Germantown.
The Shelby County Election Commission picked those two locations – Abundant Grace Fellowship Church in Whitehaven and New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Germantown – last week as a compromise to complaints about making Agricenter International the only early-voting site open for the entire 14-day period in advance of the Aug. 2 Election Day.
Agricenter will now open with 23 other early-voting sites on July 18, on the fifth day of early voting.
Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Corey Strong is organizing a get out the vote effort by Democrat on the July 13 opening of early voting to include the site in predominantly Republican Germantown as well as the site in predominantly Democratic Whitehaven. (Daily News/Bill Dries)
Abundant Grace was the choice of the two Democratic election commissioners because it is in the predominantly Democratic Whitehaven area.
New Bethel was the choice of the three Republican election commissioners because it is in the predominantly Republican suburbs.
At an emergency meeting of the Shelby County Democratic Party’s executive committee Monday, July 2, party chairman Corey Strong outlined a “day of action” at both sites.
“We’re going to show them that no voting location in Shelby County is safe from Democratic voters,” Strong told the group of 40 meeting in Midtown.
The effort, including transportation to the two polling places, is being organized and financed by a coalition of groups and donors independent of the executive committee.
Strong has been outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the original early-voting schedule that limited early voting only to the Agricenter site on the first four days of the voting period as well as the later compromise to Abundant Grace and New Bethel.
The election commission also voted last week to open a site starting on July 13 at its offices at 980 Nixon Dr. in Shelby Farms Park, citing a state law requiring an early-voting site at county election commission offices.
The day after the compromise, Strong, in a social media posting, called for 15,000 new Democrats to show up for the August election and moderate and suburban Democrats not to cross over “and vote for the demonstrably racist, homophobic, unethical and unqualified Republican nominees.”
The Shelby County Republican Party responded Monday on its Twitter account: “We’re waiting for the evidence. We suspect we’ll be waiting a long time.”
Strong contended at the Monday meeting that the early-voting sites and their hours are an attempt to suppress the Democratic turnout in August.
“It’s clear there’s a bunch of people that are scared of this thing we are doing,” he said.
Strong said the party is exploring possible legal action.
Lee Harris, the Democratic nominee for Shelby County mayor on the August ballot, said Monday that the election commission shouldn’t have chosen two early-voting sites “in the suburbs” – referring to Whitehaven and Germantown.
“They left out the biggest urban area in the state,” he said.