Election commission votes against FedEx Forum as early voting site

Mid-South

MEMPHIS, TN – MAY 25: A general view of the exterior of the FedExForum before Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies on May 25, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — NBA stadiums across the country are being turned into polling places for Election Day, but that’s not the case in Memphis, Tennessee.

The push to use arenas as polling sites came after players agreed to postseason basketball with social justice initiatives put in place.

The Memphis Grizzlies offered up the FedEx Forum, but Shelby County election administrator Linda Phillips said it wouldn’t work with current coronavirus restrictions in place.

She also cited the difficulty of installing private internet lines, the lack of nearby parking and even the forum’s exclusive food vendor contractors which she said would make it costly to feed poll workers, NewsNation affiliate WREG reported.

“If you’ve been in there, you know you pay $12 for a thing of nachos and $5 for a Coke, you can imagine what the prices would be for that,” Phillips said.

A group of Memphis pastors has been holding peaceful demonstrations hoping to change her mind and calling on faith to approve it.

“We’re gonna give Him this worship and then let Him be in the meeting. He’ll take care of it,” said Rev. Kenneth Whalum.

The commission voted in Tuesday’s meeting to deny it.

For their part, the Grizzlies have partnered with the Shelby County Election Commission to host a drive-thru voter information drive at the FedEx Forum this Saturday in Memphis.

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