DELTONA, Fla. - A dispute at an early voting site in Volusia County ended with a call to 911 over the weekend, with the woman at the center of it all being the mother of county council candidate Rich Gailey.
According to a police report, Donna Hayes was handing out flyers for her son's campaign, but voters complained, saying she was stopping cars and blocking traffic.
Once poll workers confronted her, they say she got aggressive. Now, her son is coming to her defense.
"It is what it is. We've got to deal with it, but I stand by my mother," Rich Gailey said on Monday.
Gailey is running for the District 5 seat on the Volusia County council. He's the son of 70-year-old Hayes, who is a Manatee County commissioner.
Hayes spent Sunday at the Deltona library campaigning for her son. Witnesses, however, say she got too competitive and became aggressive with polling workers, who called 911.
"I need someone removed from the property because they are starting a riot," the caller said.
Operator: "OK. What are they doing?"
"They are standing in the middle of the road, stopping cars and yelling at voters," the caller replied.
Elections officials say they received several complaints about Hayes shoving material into open windows of passing cars. Hayes denies the allegation.
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According to the report and polling workers, Hayes aggressively grabbed one of the election workers badges and told her, "That badge means nothing." The worker didn't press charges and Hayes was asked not to return to the property.
Hayes told Local 6 that she was shocked over how the polling workers treated her. She said she looked at the badge to see if the worker was credentialed. She also said she followed all the rules, and the complaints regarding her campaigning came from Democrats.
Her son said the commotion won't hurt his campaign.
"She's competitive. She's out there trying to help me win the campaign," Gailey said.
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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