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By Kyra Haas November 12, 2018

Racist T-shirt wearer at a Mississippi polling station wasn’t a poll worker

A photo of a man voting in Mississippi while wearing a racist T-shirt went viral after a Twitter post claimed he worked at the polling station.

He didn’t.

The T-shirt contained the image of a noose in front of a Confederate flag, along with the words "Mississippi justice." The original tweet of the photo was captioned "Olive Branch, Mississippi. Nov 6th, 2018." It got about 5,500 likes.

The second tweet quoted the first and added, "Wait I forgot to mention he was one of the poll workers...." That post got more than 143,600 likes and garnered more than 50,000 retweets.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The photo is a real photo of a voter in Mississippi, but he wasn’t working at the polling station, according to election commissioner Paul Beale. The incident did not take place in his district, but he confirmed the authenticity of the photo.

"He was not a poll worker; he was just a voter," Beale said.

Beale said that the only time he would ask someone to leave would be if they were wearing campaign buttons or material supporting a candidate. Otherwise, he said, it was out of his hands.

"We cannot regulate that; we cannot regulate stupidity," Beale said. "That’s all I’ve got to say about that."

The image originates from a since-deleted Facebook post. Social media users and BuzzFeed News identified the man as Clayton John Hickey, a registered nurse at Regional One Hospital in Memphis and a resident of Olive Branch.

The day after the election, Regional One tweeted that it was "aware of a photograph in circulation" and that they "are investigating and will take appropriate action."

Regional One did not respond to our inquiry.

The viral photo of a man with a racist shirt at a polling station in Mississippi is not photoshopped. However, the man was not a poll worker. We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Tweet, @smokeydaQue1212, Nov. 6, 2018

Facebook post, Ashleigh Parker, Nov. 6, 2018

Tweet, Regional One Health, Nov. 7, 2018

Interview, election commissioner Paul Beale, Nov. 8, 2018

Mississippi Clarion Ledger, "Fact check: Did a Mississippi poll worker wear a T-shirt featuring a noose?," Nov. 7, 2018

Memphis Commercial Appeal, "DeSoto County voter wearing T-shirt with Confederate flag and noose sparks outrage," Nov. 7, 2018

BuzzFeed News, "A MississippI man wore a violently racist shirt to vote in the midterms," Nov. 7, 2018

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Racist T-shirt wearer at a Mississippi polling station wasn’t a poll worker

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