CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WTVC) - An old bank in Tennessee has been converted into a shop that sells trump merchandise. Next month, it will convert again into an early voting location.
If this building could vote, it’s clear which candidate it would support. But in less than a month, it will have a new look and purpose.
That has some people concerned. Democrats like Stan Hurder are raising the alarm.
“It has us very concerned,” Bradley Co. Democratic Party Chairman Stan Hurder said. “This is not saying this a neutral site, come here. This is a Trump site, come here.”
The building owner says his lease is up Oct. 13. According to the Bradley County Election Commission, they will set up shop the very next day, on Oct. 14.
The current tenant, Chip Ricketts, said he had no idea his shop would turn into an early voting location overnight.
“In this situation they have the freedom. I’m not saying it’s illegal, but they have the freedom to find a place that will help increase voter participation in Tennessee,” Hurder said.
Fran Green of the Bradley County Election Commission, says she knew current tenant was selling Trump merchandise, but she says she didn’t violate election laws.
The Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office agreed if all of the Trump merchandise is removed before early voting begins.
“If it was a Biden shop, it would definitely incite me to get here at early voting and cast my vote. And I believe it’s that way with the Democratic Party. I think they are going to come in regardless of whether this is a Trump shop or not and make their vote,” Trump store shopper Tawny Sweeney said.
The store’s owner is going to have to quickly remove all Trump merchandise and signage before it can be used as a voting location.
State law requires no campaign messages within a certain distance of polling places.