Today, I arrived to the polls early to cast may ballot in my neighborhood.
The gentleman in front of me was not wearing a mask – nor was the gentleman behind me. It has been highly publicized that wearing a mask is not required for voting.
However, the way the poll worker badgered the man in front of me about wearing a mask, I am sure he thought it was required – as did the people in front of him and behind him who overheard the poll worker’s harangue.
Mask intimidation may cause voters to leave the line or go to other locations and face problems. Further, it increases voter fatigue that results in line-leaving or vote skipping.
I quickly advised the poll worker that masks were not required and that his harassing people about it upon entry was voter suppression. Nods of agreement came from those in front of and behind me.
Further, I was thanked by many people for having the courage to stand up for this man. They, like me, do not like to be forced by the government to wear masks and resent it being strongly implied that it is a requirement to vote.
As I exited the polling place, more people came up to me to discuss the mask mandate. Simply put, they do not like it one bit. Lest you think this is exclusively partisan, my polling precinct is very diverse politically.
As it relates to requesting people wear a mask, the manager of the polling place and the poll watcher both said, “That’s how we were trained.”
When I spoke with the Hamilton County Election Commission Manager, Crystal, she said, “We are requesting that people wear them, but we are not requiring it.”
Here’s the truth: When a poll worker asks a voter “Do you have a face mask,” it’s implied that it is required – especially when the choice is not explained.
Never have I seen a highly personal, controversial question be asked of a voter as an implied requirement to cast a ballot. Never.
Not only is it voter suppression – it’s voter suppression directed by the government, not a political group.
To add more confusion to the situation, signage is being placed on tables regarding screening questions for Covid-19 symptoms. Poll workers informed me that a person who has Covid-19 symptoms will be asked to drive to the Election Commission to vote.
This, again, practically suppresses the vote – it does not increase or encourage it.
It is my sincere hope that the elected officials pushing these mandates and all the negative consequences that result from them will find themselves out of a job this election – and the next.
Do not be cowed or intimidated at the polls. Know your rights. Vote today – and drag your friends to the polls as well.