NRA instructor gets apology after hat controversy

After more than eight months of legal wrangling, Douglas County voter Bundy Cobb is feeling vindicated.

Last October, when Cobb went to a Douglasville polling station to vote early, he was told to remove his "NRA (National Rifle Association) Instructor" hat in order to vote. Cobb says he complied but was unhappy with the decision and vowed to fight it.

At the time, Douglas County Elections officials said because the NRA is often associated with the Republican Party, they did not want the hat to potentially influence other voters at the polling station. Under Georgia Law, no campaigning or campaign materials are allowed within 150 feet of a polling station or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line.

Since the incident, Cobb has said his hat was in no way a "campaign material." The Georgia Secretary of State's Office launched an investigation and Cobb filed a lawsuit. After a months-long legal fight that gained Cobb national attention, Douglas County Elections officials now admit their poll worker made a mistake.

On June 11, 2015, the Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration Chairman Bob Camp apologized to Cobb in a letter, which stated, among other things "...I would like to apologize for the incident that occurred when you voted on October 24, 2014, when a poll worker asked you to remove your NRA Instructor hat. You should not have been asked to remove your NRA Instructor hat, and I am sorry you were asked to do so."

Furthermore, the Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration also approved a newly-clarified policy in regards to what is and is not permitted in or around polling stations. The new policy states, among other things, "poll workers shall only prohibit clothing, materials and other matter that references a candidate appearing on the ballot, an issue or question on the ballot, and/or a political party on the ballot. Clothing, materials, and other matter that references a person, organization, or viewpoint on an issue that is not currently on the ballot shall not be prohibited."

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