Judge in Tennessee County Rules in Early Voting Lawsuit

Judge in Tennessee County Rules in Early Voting Lawsuit voters wait in-line Voters wait in-line for entering a polling station to cast their votes on Election Day in Franklin, Tennessee, on Nov. 6, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 13 April 2022 07:50 AM

The election commission in Tennessee's largest county cannot be kept from opening only one polling location during the first days of early voting for a county election, a judge has ruled.

Judge James Butler declined to restrain the Shelby County Election Commission from implementing a resolution opening one downtown Memphis location on the first two days of early voting, which begins Wednesday for county primaries, The Commercial Appeal reported.

Five more sites are set to open on the fourth day of early voting, but no other sites are scheduled to be open until April 18, the newspaper reported.

Butler also ruled Monday that the commission does not have to open additional early voting sites this week, which precedes Easter Sunday.

Three Memphis groups had sued on claims that the commission’s decisions would disenfranchise minority voters during early voting.

Butler determined that he had heard insufficient proof to decide that the commission had violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act or the state Constitution.