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Pamela Moses, founder of the Memphis BLM chapter has been sentenced to six years for illegally registering to vote in Tennessee.
She was recently sentenced for registering to vote despite 16 felony convictions that made her ineligible to do so, Shelby County District A.G. Amy Weirich said. Moses has been a harsh critic of Weirich for what she believes are failures to hold police officers accountable for shooting unarmed Black men.
Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward said that Moses could get out in nine months with good behavior and completing prison programs.
Voting Rights Are Always Under Assault
In a back-and-forth exchange, Ward and Moses – no friends of one another as well– disputed how she arrived here.
“I did not falsify anything,” said Moses.
“All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did,” she said during her sentencing hearing on January 26, WREG-TV Memphis reported.
“You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation,” Ward said in court, the Washington Post reported.
Throughout the ordeal, Moses claims she believed that her voting rights had been restored and began voting in 2019. That same year, Moses ran for mayor of Memphis, only to be told by Shelby County elections officials that she was still on probation for felony convictions from 2015.
Back in 2015, Moses pleaded guilty to “tampering with evidence and forgery, both felonies, and to misdemeanor charges of perjury, stalking, theft under $500, and escape.” After her guilty plea, she was placed on probation for seven years. In addition to her plea, she was deemed ineligible to vote in the state of Tennessee due to the tampering with evidence charge.
However, later in 2019, both the corrections department and the county election commission confirmed on her voter registration application that Moses’ probation was over and that she was eligible to vote again. Since then, the officials who signed off on her voter registration application have said they made a mistake, meaning that Moses’ right to vote actually remained revoked.
How is that Pamela Moses’ fault?
Bede Anyanwu, Moses’ lawyer, said that they plan to appeal. “She believes the sentencing was beyond the evidence that was presented,” Anyanwu said.
With voting rights under attack and newly-drawn redistricting maps, every Black vote counts.