BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska community election official hung flags and displayed other items supporting the president near a polling station on election day, but authorities said no laws were broken.
Bethel Elections Chairperson Job Hale hung flags and posters supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign on light poles outside a building with a polling site on Nov. 3, KYUK-AM reported Wednesday.
State law prohibits the display of campaign materials within 200 feet (61 meters) of a polling site entrance.
Hale’s campaign items were just beyond the legal boundary and Bethel Police Chief Richard Simmons said the law was not violated.
Teddi Worrock, who manages the building where the elections occurred and acted as a monitor, said a voter informed her about the light pole flags, which Hale said he hung the previous night. Worrock removed a flag and asked Hale to remove the others.
Another voter later informed Worrock that Hale’s truck parked outside also displayed campaign materials.
“He has two Donald Trump flags, an American flag,” Worrock said. “He’s got all his Trump hats in his dashboard, multiple bumper stickers all over his truck.”
Worrock asked Hale to move the truck, and his wife, who was also a poll worker, parked the vehicle across the street.
Worrock asked Regional Elections Supervisor Angelique Horton in Nome to have police remove Hale. After initially granting permission, Horton reversed the decision because no one would take over Hale’s role and the polling place would have closed.
Horton did not comment on whether Hale’s displays were appropriate.
“State law only address political persuasion during the hours the voting location is open for voting,” Horton wrote in an email, restating the law casting a boundary around the poll entrance.
Hale maintained he did nothing wrong because the materials were beyond the prohibited area.
“I just removed them to make peace and not cause trouble, because I’m definitely not here to cause trouble,” Hale said. “I’ve been around town standing up for Trump and wanting my voice to be heard as well.”
Hale said he would “rather not answer” whether an elections official should display campaign materials near a polling site.
Mark Jones, a former Bethel elections chairperson, and Judy Andree, president of the League of Women Voters of Alaska, both said Hale’s actions were inappropriate.
“If you blur the line between a polling place official and a campaign worker’s efforts, then you risk losing the voting public’s confidence in the integrity of the process,” Andree said.