Man cited after showing up to polling spot in ‘Make America Great Again’ hat supporting Trump

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SARATOGA SPRINGS -- A man is fighting a citation for disorderly conduct after a confrontation that began after he showed up to a polling location sporting a baseball cap that read "Make America Great Again."

Tai Ho'o said he showed up to the polling location inside a credit union to vote early. He was wearing the hat, which has the slogan for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign.

"There were three polling workers that told me at different times I had to take my hat off, that it was considered electioneering," he told FOX 13 in an interview Saturday. "I said, 'Well, I don't see the candidate's name on there' and their voices and their aggression seemed to escalate."

The confrontation between Ho'o and the poll workers escalated to the point that Saratoga Springs police were called. Ho'o was cited for disorderly conduct.

"At one point I said, 'You're really committing fraud. You're doing voter intimidation and suppression. That's a violation of my rights,'" he said.

Tai Ho'o, who was cited for disorderly conduct after a confrontation in a polling location over him wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. (Image by Eric Brown, FOX 13 News)

Tai Ho'o, who was cited for disorderly conduct after a confrontation in a polling location over him wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. (Image by Eric Brown, FOX 13 News)

After the confrontation, Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson and the Utah Lt. Governor's Office got involved, state elections director Mark Thomas said.

"The county clerk determined that the hat, in and of itself, is not electioneering," Thomas told FOX 13 on Monday, adding that Ho'o was allowed to vote at a polling location in American Fork without any further problem.

"You have to look at each of the circumstances individually," Thomas said. "In this case, the hat in and of itself, was enough to draw a little bit of concern. But also, he was in a credit union that does not allow hats and it seemed to escalate from there."

Thomas said Ho'o may also have been wearing a T-shirt linked to a candidate. Utah law does not allow electioneering within 150 feet of a building where a polling place is. Hats, T-shirts, buttons or signs either for or against a particular candidate are also illegal at polling locations.

Thomas acknowledged that slogans such as "Make America Great Again" or "I'm With Her" are a gray area, which is why it's determined on a case-by-case basis.

At one early-voting polling spot FOX 13 visited on Monday, a woman showed up sporting a "Hillary 2016" headband. Poll workers were seen asking her to remove it, which she did.

"I did not mind," Bethany Hope Besheer said outside the polling location, wearing the headband again.

Ho'o told FOX 13 on Monday he had retained an attorney and planned to fight the citation. Saratoga Springs city attorney Kevin Thurman said his office would screen the case to determine if they even planned to prosecute it.

The Utah Lt. Governor's Office said anyone with questions about electioneering can contact them for more information.

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