EXETER, N.H. — Workers at a New Hampshire polling place got an eyeful Tuesday.
A woman, told she could not wear a T-shirt that had an anti-Donald Trump message, simply took off the apparel and voted topless, Seacoastonline.com reported.
At least she kept her mask on.
Exeter Town Moderator Paul Scafidi said the woman, who was not identified, walked into the polling place Tuesday wearing a “McCain Hero, Trump Zero” T-shirt, the website reported. As a ballot clerk checked the woman’s name off the voting list, Scafidi told the woman she could not wear a shirt with a political candidate featured on it while she voted, as it was considered electioneering inside a polling place, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
The races were for governor and Congress, so Trump was not on the ballot. McCain, the former U.S. senator and a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war who clashed with the president, died in 2018.
The woman questioned why she could not wear the shirt, pointing out that a woman nearby was wearing a T-shirt supporting the American flag.
Scafidi said no, citing a New Hampshire state law that reads, no person, “shall distribute, wear, or post at a polling place any campaign material,” in part, and if convicted, could be fined up to $1,000.
What happened next stunned Scafidi and the poll workers.
“She said, 'You want me to take my shirt off? That’s what you want?” Scafidi told the Union Leader.
Scafidi told the woman it was her choice, thinking perhaps she would step out into a hallway and simply turn her shirt inside out.
“Boom! The shirt’s off,” Scafidi told the Union Leader, “and she’s standing there saying, 'How’s this?”
What could Scafidi say?
“She took it off so fast, no one had time to react so the whole place just went, ‘Whoa,’ and she walked away, and I let her vote,” Scafidi told Seacoastonline.com.
There were about 15 voters present in the building and no children.
Andrea Shine, who was preparing to vote when the woman disrobed, said she got a good laugh.
“I think we all kind of needed it. With everything going on in the world, it’s like, who cares?" Shine told the Union Leader, noting that the woman covered herself with the shirt while she voted. "You couldn’t even see many reactions (from voters) because there were masks on their faces,” she said, adding that the woman had a mask as well.
Scafidi said the woman voted and then put her shirt back on. But now he was faced with another legal matter. According to New Hampshire’s public indecency law, an individual can be found guilty of indecent exposure and lewdness if the person “Fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm.”
“I could have (had her removed), but I didn’t want to exacerbate the whole thing,” Scafidi told Seacoastonline.com. “I don’t know if she was trying to have me get her arrested, but I thought it was better to just let things play out. I don’t think there were more than 15 voters in the building at the time and if there were any children there, I didn’t see them.”
Scafidi said that while the incident was bizarre, poll workers had a good laugh and continued working.
“If she felt it was her right, more power to her,” Scafidi told Seacoastonline.com. “We all laughed about it as things were winding down, so I don’t know if it was a setup, but I’ve never experienced anything like that. We had more important things to worry about.
"We had to get 2,000 people to vote safely, and check-in and count 2,000 absentee ballots.”
Cox Media Group