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Poll worker speaks up during election commission meeting

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Nelson's words touched a nerve with normally reserved commission chairman Robert Meyers. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Nelson's words touched a nerve with normally reserved commission chairman Robert Meyers. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Shelby County Election Commission meetings are not generally known for drama, but many people take their voting rights very seriously.

Concerns about voter access and safety prompted poll worker Yvonne Nelson to speak out Wednesday during a meeting of the Shelby County Election Commission.

"These decisions are being made and forced upon my community — this is my community," said Nelson.

She and others were upset a polling precinct was about to be relocated to Raineshaven Elementary from the recently closed Graves Elementary in Whitehaven.

"So, if this is some sort of ploy to keep the people from voting — you're doing a great job," noted Nelson.

Nelson's words touched a nerve with normally reserved commission chairman Robert Meyers.

"Because that is not true," said Meyers. "And anybody who would say that to me without any idea what it is we do here just doesn't know what they're talking about, and I find that deeply, deeply, offensive."

Nelson refused to apologize.

"You can't sit behind a desk in an office and make decision that affect the community -- you can't do that," said Nelson.

In the end, the commission voted to move the polling place from Raineshaven to Unity Christian Church pending inspection by commission staff and proper voter notification.

In all, the election commission approved three polling precinct changes Wednesday thanks to school closures and/or takeovers: Graves Elementary to Unity Christian, Corry Middle to Norris Avenue Baptist and Lanier Middle to Christ United Baptist.

The changes will take effect for the August 7 elections.

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