By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — The Virginia Department of Elections is responding to reports that some maskless voters in the state have been turned away from polling places, contrary to state law.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the department reiterated the state’s policy.
“All voters are encouraged to wear a mask when they go to their polling place, but you CANNOT be turned away because you don’t wear one,” the department said on Twitter.
The department also reached out to local polling officials to remind them of the policy.
“We have gotten several reports of voters either being turned away or being made to wait until the polling place is clear before being allowed to vote if they refuse to wear a mask,” Virginia Elections Commissioner Chris Piper wrote in an email to officials. “You may not turn voters away because they are not wearing masks. While masks are encouraged, every eligible voter is entitled to cast a ballot at their polling place.”
The statement and email came after conservative voters complained that some of those without masks said they were turned away.
“I was told at my polling station I couldn’t vote without a mask,” Matt Schlapp, head of the American Conservative Union, wrote on Twitter. “Knowing what the GOP thinks about masks, isn’t this just an illegal barrier to voting? But I can count on one thing, our judges will do nothing.”
Mr. Schlapp wasn’t alone.
“Poll workers demanded I mask up in order to vote,” Bill McMorris, senior editor at the Washington Free Beacon, also wrote on Twitter. “At no point did they ask to see my face to see if it matched the ID. Seems legit.”
Casey Harpe works for The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.