PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A Platte County poll worker’s earrings stirred up some controversy Election Day.
Missouri Democratic State Rep. Ashley Aune went to a Platte County polling location Tuesday to cast her ballot.
“I went in and handed my ID to a poll worker who I’d never met before and noticed she was wearing elephant earrings and I’ve seen these earrings before. There are donkey earrings for Democrats and elephant earrings for Republicans. I know the sign, I know the symbol, I know what it means,” Aune said.
She notified the Platte County Board of Elections which warns poll workers about electioneering.
“We even instruct them if you are reading a magazine and there might be a candidate on it not to read it at the poll site. We try to dial back anything that could be perceived as partisan,” Platte County Board of Elections Director Chris Hersey said.
When Hershey told the poll worker to remove the elephant earrings he says she felt she was free to express her support for her party and didn’t feel she’d crossed a line.
“She didn’t think that she should have to take them off. She asked specifically if we’d let somebody come in and vote wearing these. I said we would but it’s a different rule for us who are working the election we try to be more careful,” Hershey explained.
Aune, the eventual winner of the Missouri 14th District race, tweeted about her voting experience. Despite a modest following, the tweet received 44,000 likes and nearly 10,000 combined retweets and quote tweets. Many respondents said the poll worker’s earrings shouldn’t have been a big deal.
“A lot of people seemed angry, a lot of people on the right called me a “Karen” and and a “Snowflake.” That’s OK. My job as a state representative and a leader in my community is to call out injustices when I see it and make sure our democracy is open to everyone,” Aune said.
At Platte County Election Headquarters Wednesday they were doing a hand recount of ballots to ensure the accuracy of the results. It had nothing to do with those earrings, which Aune said may not have swayed anyone’s selections, but could have made voters uncomfortable.
Election officials say the situation will be a learning experience as they train poll workers going forward.
“That’s always the goal we want everyone to feel it was fair and there were no barriers placed to them being able to vote the way they want to vote,” Hershey said.
The poll worker was convinced to remove the earrings and remained at her post. The director of elections said she will be welcomed back for future elections, perhaps just under a watchful eye of her jewelry choices.
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