Since Tuesday, she has become known as the “Topless Voter.”
The woman, who ripped off her T-shirt after objections that it was too political to wear inside the Exeter polls, said she has no regrets.
When told she would have to remove it to vote, that’s exactly what she did.
“It was a good chuckle for all. Nobody called me any names. They just laughed,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. The story about her baring her breasts on Primary Day made national headlines.
The 60ish-year-old voter, who wasn’t wearing a bra, never expected to become a spectacle when she donned her custom-made shirt with pictures of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain and President Donald Trump. “American Hero” was written under McCain, and “American Zero” under Trump.
She thought she might be headed for trouble when an election worker at the door of the Seacoast School of Technology said she couldn’t wear the shirt inside to vote.
The woman pointed out that a voter behind her had on a T-shirt with an American flag and a Christian cross and a message about voting for “God and country.”
When the worker left to get Town Moderator Paul Scafidi, she said the voter with the flag/cross shirt entered, and she followed.
“I was like, ‘Well, I’m going in, too,’” she said.
She eventually made her way into the polling location in the Talbot Gymnasium, where she was approached by Scafidi, who told her she couldn’t wear the shirt.
Scafidi said Wednesday that the woman’s shirt could be considered electioneering, which is why it wasn’t permitted.
The woman told the veteran town official that if her shirt wasn’t allowed, the flag/cross shirt shouldn’t be either.
She said Scafidi repeated that she couldn’t wear the shirt and started to walk away.
“I said, ‘Well then, can I vote naked?’ He turned to me and said, ‘If you want to.’ So I took off my shirt,” she said.
She said she kept on her mask because removing it would have been “unhealthy.”
“The mask stayed on, as did my pants and my shoes,” she said.
Scafidi has said he told the woman that she would have to remove the shirt or cover it up.
“She said, ‘You want me to take my shirt off? That’s what you want?’” he said Wednesday.
Scafidi said he told her it was her choice, and moments later, the shirt was off.
“Boom! The shirt’s off,” he said, “and she’s standing there saying, ‘How’s this?’”
The woman proceeded to the area where the ballot clerks were seated, checked in, got her ballot and walked over to the booth to vote. She said she put her shirt back on while she was in the booth.
“I filled in my little circles and put my ballot in the little machine and started to walk out the door,” she said.
She maintains she never should have been told to remove the shirt because it didn’t refer to any candidate on the primary ballot. She said the incident has prompted more discussion about breasts than voting rights.
The woman said she has always been supportive of efforts like New Hampshire’s “Free the Nipple” campaign, though she doesn’t actively participate in such movements.
“It’s the old argument that men can go shirtless and women can’t and that our behavior is considered insidious behavior, which sexualizes and criminalizes a woman’s rights. True to form, I’m going to say that men immediately went to sexualize the entire episode, but it’s America. That’s what we teach our boys,” she said.