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N.H. woman votes topless after she was told she couldn’t wear an anti-Trump shirt at the polls

Voters cast their ballots on Tuesday in Exeter, N.H., in the state primary election. A voter who was told she couldn't wear an anti-Trump shirt at the Exeter polling place because it violated electioneering rules, simply whipped it off and did her civic duty topless. The "McCain Hero, Trump Zero" T-shirt was not allowed by town moderator Paul Scafidi because it featured a political candidate while she voted.Alexander LaCasse/SeacoastOnline.com/Associated Press

A woman in Exeter, N.H., whipped off her shirt and voted topless after she was told she couldn’t cast her ballot while wearing a political T-shirt.

Town Moderator Paul Scafidi said the woman had on a “McCain Hero, Trump Zero” shirt when she showed up at the polls at Talbot Gymnasium in Exeter on Tuesday afternoon.

The woman was told that type of T-shirt was not supposed to be worn inside the building, because it could be considered electioneering.

Scafidi said the woman then questioned why a voter wearing an American flag T-shirt was allowed to vote, and she could not.


Scafidi told her that a shirt supporting the American flag was fine, but one featuring a political candidate was not, and she would have to remove the shirt, cover it up, or turn it inside out before she proceeded to the voting booth. Scafidi said he assumed she would go to the ladies' room and come back.

“She chose a different way,” Scafidi said in a telephone interview with the Globe.

The woman removed her hat and took her shirt off right there in the gym. She wasn’t wearing a bra, either.

“It didn’t take her more than three seconds," he said. “I didn’t know she had nothing on underneath it.”

Poll workers and voters were shocked, he said.

“They all went ‘Whoa!’ ” he said. "I was like whatever, just let her go vote.”

Scafidi said the woman put her shirt back on after she cast her ballot.

“She walked right by me as she walked out," he said. "She didn’t say a word to me.”

He said he’d never before experienced anything like that at a polling location.

“I’ve been working at the polls for almost 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this at all,” he said. “It was something I wasn’t prepared for, that’s for sure.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.