Local activist Pamela Moses wants her name on the October 3rd ballot and will move forward with a lawsuit against the Shelby County Election Commission and state of Tennessee despite a Chancery Court judge’s denial of her request for a temporary restraining order.
The injunction, which was denied on Thursday, would have required Shelby County Election Commission officials to stop printing absentee voter ballots that are set to be mailed out Monday, giving them the opportunity to put Moses’ name on new versions of the ballot.
Moses’ lawsuit came after she appealed a judge’s ruling in July that she is still on probation from 2015 felony charges. The judge upheld the decision, deeming the activist ineligible to run for mayor in the upcoming election. Moses contends that she is no longer on probation, despite the state insisting that she is until next year.
A trial date for Moses’ complaint is scheduled for Sept. 9. Early voting begins Sept. 13 and runs through Sept. 28.
“This is a strategic political attempt to keep me off the ballot because of systematic racism and classism,” Moses said in a press release sent out before her Thursday hearing.
She attributed the discrimination to her “being the first black woman of a low-socioeconomic status to seek public office in the mayor’s race. The complaint alleges racial and gender discrimination by the commission.”
Moses vowed to continue campaigning and charged her supporters to write-in her name on the ballot.
“I will not be discouraged by local ‘politricks’ and I intend to use the law to obtain justice and the ballot box to free my people,” she said. “This system of institutionalized racism and denial of rights to an entire group of people must be reviewed…”
In 2017, the Black Lives Matter Memphis founder filed a defamation lawsuit against Shelby County Commissioner Terry Rowland. Earlier this year she won that case and a judge awarded her $500 in court costs and fees.