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What Happens If A Voter Insists On Entering A Polling Place To Vote Without Wearing A Mask?

Poll worker disinfecting a voting machine
Jo Ingles
Poll worker disinfecting a voting machine

When Ohioans go to the polls to vote early in person, they are asked to wear a mask. If they don’t have one, polls will provide one. But what happens if the voter refuses that offer? 

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says masks will be available to voters who show up without masks. He says some Ohio businesses have stepped up to make sure there are plenty of masks and sanitizer stations available at the polls.

masks available for voters at Ohio polling place
Credit Jo Ingles
masks available for voters at Ohio polling place

If a voter refuses to wear a mask that's provided,  they’ll be offered curbside service so they can vote in their cars.  But LaRose says voters are guaranteed the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution so he has to allow them into the polls if they insist.

“If someone insists on coming inside and voting, what we are going to do is make sure there is social distancing, that everybody keeps six foot away, that any surface that they touch is wiped down," LaRose says.

But LaRose says the best thing for a voter who doesn’t want to or cannot wear a mask is to vote an absentee ballot, then mail it or put it in a drop box at their local board of elections. And they can order that ballot here: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-voting/

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.