Poll worker seen wearing MAGA hat at poll station in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A poll worker was seen wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat at Montessori Academy today and it had voters questioning whether the visible support for Donald Trump and the Republican party is considered ‘electioneering’ or influencing voters in any way.
ABC57 approached the poll worker to see if he would talk about his decision to wear the hat. He didn’t react kindly, saying he had no comment, but voters walking out of the polls had more to say on whether or not the hat was appropriate.
According to the Election Administrations Manual for Indiana, 'electioneering’ means making a verbal statement, displaying a written statement indicating support or opposition to a party or candidate, and wearing or displaying an article of clothing with the name of a political party or their likeness. This includes candidates or currently elected officials.
It’s a gray line when it comes to the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat—which is an article of clothing displaying the likeness of former president Donald Trump. The display would be considered electioneering if he were a current political figure. Donald Trump is not currently a candidate for public office.
Since the man wearing it is a poll worker, it has voters questioning whether or not the hat is allowed or should be allowed, and if it’s influencing voter’s decisions.
Some voters ABC57 spoke with said they didn’t even notice the poll worker wearing the hat, while others were bothered by it.
“I would have thought that wouldn’t have been allowed, does it bother me, no, but you would think that would be something because the poll place is supposed to be neutral, but it didn’t bother me,” said Greg and Kim Mock.
Even if wearing the hat isn’t technically violating any electioneering laws, another voter ABC57 spoke with said she was surprised it was allowed to happen in the first place, considering the current political sphere and the fact that the hat promotes the Republican party.
“I don’t understand how wearing a literal registered trademark of the figurehead of a political party doesn’t fall under those laws," said Shelby Herms. "Even if they are very specifically technically correct or in a gray area, just take the hat off, it’s the law.”
Even some other poll workers ABC57 spoke with said they didn’t necessarily agree with the wearing of the hat but the man was standing his ground and technically not violating any laws.