CLEVELAND — An Election Day poll worker tried to bite off a voter's nose during an argument Tuesday over a campaign sign, police and election officials said.
"This is absolutely unacceptable behavior that we do not tolerate," Cuyahoga County elections director Jane Platten said. The elections board identified the worker for Cleveland police, who are seeking to arrest him, she said.
Greg Flanagan, 49, who had just voted, said he was bitten when he went to the aid of a campaign worker who was in an argument with an election employee over a sign posted near the polls.
Flanagan, left with a slash down one side of his nose and dizziness from a head butt, said the incident shocked him.
"What was going through my mind was I couldn't believe it was happening and I knew what I did was right and I shouldn't have been treated that way by another human being," he told The Associated Press.
He was treated at a hospital.
The elections board said the employee, who was assigned to make checks at various polling places, had a clean record working eight elections since 2006, but he wouldn't be rehired.
Police spokesman Sgt. Sammy Morris said officers are investigating, but the worker hadn't immediately been charged. By practice, charges are filed in Cleveland after city prosecutors review police reports.
The police incident report, which omitted the suspect's name because he hadn't been charged, said Flanagan tried to intervene in an escalating argument about whether a campaign sign was too close to the polling place in violation of election rules.
"Measure the distance if you are concerned, and don't be an ass," Flanagan said, according to the police report.
"What did you say?" the election worker asked, and Flanagan repeated the substance of his comment, the police report said.
"This is when the named suspect grabbed the victim around the neck, head butted him in between the eyes, then pulled his head close to him and tried to bite his nose off," the police report said.
"He was trying to intimidate a woman who was less than 5 feet tall and he's probably 6 feet," according to Flanagan, who said his language wasn't vulgar and didn't justify an attack. "It was a conversation. I didn't yell it at him."
The election worker fled in his car, called the elections board and was told to stay away from the polling place, Platten said. Officers went to his apartment but he wasn't home, the police report said.