A church in California put up Black Lives Matter signs that allegedly cost the church its position as a local polling place, according to a recent lawsuit.
What We Know:
- The Universalist Church of Fresno served as a polling station in the November 2016 and June 2018 elections. In August, Fresno County Clerk and Registrar of Voters, Brandi Orth asked the church to remove two yellow banners with the words, “Black Lives Matter.”
- Orth had previously received a complaint from a voter that wanted to know, “why it was okay to have a Black Lives Matter (a known domestic terrorist group) sign in front of our polling place,” according to court documents.
- In the suit filed on Monday, the church, with the help of the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, says Orth removed the church as a polling place for the November 2018 midterm election and replaced it with a nearby church. Orth “violated Plaintiff’s right to free speech,” according to the lawsuit that further calls for the church to be reinstated as a polling station.
- Rev. Tim Kutzmark, the pastor of the church, claims the BLM posters are not political speech and the church has the right to display them. “They are a theological statement,” Kutzmark told the Washington Post.
- This is not the only example of people being penalized for showing their support of the BLM movement. Earlier this month, the valedictorian at a school in Dallas, Texas had her mic cut off during her speech as she mentioned Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.
“At a time when we are facing voter suppression across the country, I’m hoping that no other polling place will ever be disqualified for affirming the worth and dignity of black people and other people of color,” Kutzmark told the Fresno Bee.