The situation took place at the Murrells Inlet/Garden City Fire Department polling site in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Nov. 6.
The man, who hasn’t been identified, was seen removing his shirt before going inside the voting location after election workers told him it violated a state law that bans distributing campaign material within 200 feet of any polling site.
“Vote Nekkid! Good turn out at Murrells Inlet Fire Department precinct—but they made this poor guy take off his Trump shirt to vote,” Todd Price, who was in line and witnessed the interaction, wrote in a Facebook post, reported WPDE.
“I thought it was ok as long as the shirt wasn’t for someone on the ballot?”
— WMBF News (@wmbfnews) November 6, 2018
The man was told by a poll worker he couldn’t vote with the shirt on, so he quickly removed and cast his vote.
“When this gentleman got up to the poll worker, they told him he couldn’t come in with his shirt on, so he just took it off, tossed it down on the ground there and voted shirtless and then came out and put it back on,” Todd Price, who was in line and witnessed the interaction, told CNN.
Price said another voter was wearing a Trump shirt and apparently left to change. “I didn’t hear the conversation with him but he left in a huff and went to his truck,” Price wrote on Facebook, “I assume to go put on a different shirt.”
But two election experts were divided on the interpretation of the rule.
South Carolina Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said that the shirt didn’t violate any rules because the shirt advertised Trump who is not on the election ballot in the midterms.
“The shirt in question didn’t relate to a candidate in this election,” Whitmire said. “It’s an understandable mistake. Poll managers are volunteers that are working hard out there, trying to do the right thing. If you closely read the handbook on campaign material, that didn’t violate the definition of material.”
On the other hand, Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration and Elections, told WMBF she agreed with the polling workers’ interpretation.
“It is considered campaign material whether it is relevant to the election or not,” Martin said.
Pictures showed the man putting his blue Trump shirt back on after he had taken it off to enter the site. His wife held his red “Make America Great Again” hat while he did so. The couple appeared to be in their 60s or 70s.
From NTD News