Viral photo of voter wearing T-shirt with noose, Confederate flag stirs outrage

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — A North Mississippi voter's Election Day attire – a T-shirt showing a noose hanging over the Confederate flag with the words "Mississippi Justice" – is generating controversy on social media.

The voter who took the picture didn't want to show his face, because he's not sure what the person wearing the shirt is capable of, according to WREG.

"How could someone feel comfortable coming out in public, let alone to a polling station with a shirt like that?" the photographer said. "I thought he was a worker because he was behind the counter, but come to find out, he was an express voter."

Both voters filled out their ballots at the Pleasant Hill Road polling location in Olive Branch.

"My brother pointed out the shirt, and I'm like, 'That's a noose!'" he said.

The man who took the photo said he walked in with a sense of pride, ready to exercise his right to vote, but the noose and rebel flag took that away from him.

"They try to intimidate you to keep you away from the polls, and I think that's the exact reason we need to go," he said.

He said the hateful message got to him, but he held it together – until he got home. That's when he posted the photo on Facebook.

"What makes you feel that comfortable? He knew what he was doing," the voter said.

He said after he posted the picture, everyone had something to say, but as he stood in line, "everyone was silent. No one said anything."

An initial claim on social media identified the T-shirt wearing man as a poll worker, but District 2 Election Commissioner Barry Chatham told the Clarion Ledger that wasn't true.

Voting officials told WREG they were really busy and that poll workers didn't even see the shirt.

“All agreed if someone had came in wearing that shirt, they would have remembered,” Chatham told the paper.

Officials said they realize it made people uncomfortable, but they had nothing to do with what a voter decided to wear to the polls. According to the secretary of state, the only Election Day clothing rules are you can't wear clothing bearing a candidate's name or picture into a polling place.