Reports of voters being blocked from casting their vote unless they wear a mask have surfaced as Election Day unfolds in Virginia.
The Virginia GOP claimed it has received reports of voters being refused entrance to polling places due to a mask requirement. The state GOP told voters mask mandates at polling places is a violation of their rights.
“There have been several reports from voters who say they were told by poll workers that they are required to wear a mask in order to vote,” the Virginia GOP tweeted . “To be clear, if someone is not wearing a face covering they may NOT be turned away or refused their right to vote.”
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp claimed he was personally told voters would be turned away if they did not wear a mask to the polls. Schlapp told the Washington Examiner he voted at George Mason Elementary School.
Chris Piper, the elections commissioner for Virginia, previously informed election workers during a virtual meeting in October 2020, right before the 2020 presidential election, voters could not be turned away without a mask or even if they appear to be sick, according to the Virginia Mercury.
Schlapp told the Washington Examiner he “couldn’t enter the school” unless he wore a mask.
A spokesman from the Virginia Department of Elections confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Schlapp had been at the polling place earlier, put on a mask, and voted.
“We prefer people wear a mask,” the spokesman said, adding”if people are going to insist on not wearing a mask” they will be given accommodations, such as the option to vote curbside.
In an email to poll workers, shared on Twitter by attorney Harmeet Dhillon , Piper issued a reminder that voters without masks could not be turned away. Piper said “it is not sufficient to offer curbside voting as an alternative,” as that option is only available to a person “with a disability or who is age 65 or older.”
There have been several reports from voters who say they were told by poll workers that they are required to wear a mask in order to vote.
To be clear, if someone is not wearing a face covering they may NOT be turned away or refused their right to vote. pic.twitter.com/bvLzWA7m26
— Virginia GOP (@VA_GOP) November 2, 2021
At the October 2020 meeting, Piper said, “Ultimately, a voter will not be turned away if they are not wearing a mask, but the department strongly encourages them to do so to keep themselves and others around them safe.”
The Washington Examiner reached out to Piper and Rich Anderson, the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and election commissioner for Virginia for statements, but did not immediately receive a response.