Van Turner second mayoral candidate to file suit against election commission over residency requirement

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:56 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Van Turner is the second Memphis mayoral candidate to file a lawsuit against the Shelby County Election Commission.

The lawsuit comes days after Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner filed a lawsuit against the same group.

At the heart of the lawsuit is a five-year residency requirement that could disqualify both men as a mayoral candidate.

In the lawsuit, Turner argues that the City of Memphis’ five-year residency rule no longer exists since a 1996 ballot referendum voted on by the people of Memphis eliminated the five-year requirement for city council and mayoral seats.

Linda Phillips and members of the Shelby County Election Commission are listed as defendants in the suit.

Phillips is the administrator of elections for the Shelby County Election Commission and is responsible for conducting and supervising the Oct. 5 election.

This comes after a newly-published legal opinion that could remove Bonner, former Mayor Willie Herenton, and former Shelby County Commission Chair and Memphis NAACP President Van Turner from the race.

One of the requirements, according to city attorney Robert Meyers, says you have to live in Memphis for five years to be eligible to run. This opinion from Meyers differs from that of current Memphis City Council Attorney Allan Wade, who says the residency requirement only applies to city council candidates.

Turner most recently lived in rural Shelby County.

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