(Headline USA) A poll worker in Memphis, Tennessee, has been fired after turning away early voters who were wearing “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, an elections official said Monday.
The worker was fired Friday after officials received a call from a witness at the Dave Wells Community Center in Memphis, Shelby County Election Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Thompson said.
Tennessee law does not allow voters to wear items bearing the name of a candidate or a political party in a polling place.
But state law does not prohibit statements such as “Black Lives Matter,” Thompson said.
The number of voters who were told to leave was not immediately known, but Thompson said it was only a few.
The poll worker thought the statements were tied to the Democratic Party, Thompson said.
“That was pretty bad,” she said. “They were not supposed to be turned away.”
While BLM seems to be welcome at polling places, voters bearing apparel with the insignia “MAGA” (for pro-Trump motto “Make America Great Again”) have been prohibited or frowned upon in many locations.
Last month a Georgia voter was sent a “letter of instruction” by the State Election Board for wearing a MAGA hat to his polling place in 2016.
Election officials in Texas have instituted a similar double-standard.
Laws are different in each state, but generally MAGA is considered tethered to a specific candidate — President Trump — while BLM is a broader political statement, which is what election officials cite as justification for their decisions.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.