Brett Mauthe, 55, was arrested at a polling place Friday when he showed up for early-voting wearing a “deplorable” t-shirt. The official reason for his arrest is electioneering.
The Donald Trump supporter wore a t-shirt that mocked Hillary Clinton’s now famous “basket of deplorables” comment. Mauthe was arrested in Bulverde, Texas. In addition to his deplorables shirt, Mauthe was also wearing a pro-Trump hat.
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When he was asked by election officials to remove his hat, he complied willingly. Taking off his shirt was more difficult, as he wasn’t prepared to change clothes.
Mauthe claims he was not aware that wearing it was a violation of any election code. When Mauthe refused to remove his shirt, he was arrested.
Others at the polling location said they, too, were unaware of the guidelines for what one can or can’t wear when voting.
“I don’t feel like you should be preaching to anybody, but I do feel like you should be able to wear a shirt if you want and if it has the candidate,” Georgina Pereida said.
Cynthia Jaqua, the Comal County elections coordinator, told a local news affiliate that electioneering arrests are exceedingly rare, though she did acknowledge that Mauthe’s attire violated the code.
“Electioneering is prohibited within a 100-foot marker. You cannot express views for or against a candidate or political party by wearing buttons, T-shirts, hats, whatever else or carrying signs,” she said.
Mauthe posted a $500 bond and was released. The fine for a misdemeanor electioneering charge could carry a fine of as much as $500.
There’s no word yet on how widely these infractions are. As voting ramps up across the country, these types of violations may become increasingly common–especially as many of the voters that will be participating in this election have little experience with these regulations and fanatical devotions their chosen candidates.