Safety during election season despite no mask mandate at the polls


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Among the many things on the line this presidential election, one thing many never expected to be at stake was voter’s health while going to the voting polls.

Washington County Election Commissioner, Jennifer Price, says there has been no shortage of poll workers this year. However, as we head into this general election in the middle of a global pandemic, health professionals are becoming concerned, especially with Governor Hutchinson not requiring masks to be worn at polls.

In the statewide mask mandate Governor Hutchinson issued in July, he said face coverings must be worn for in all indoor activities where six foot social distancing cannot take place. However, there were some exceptions, including voting polls.

In a recent Fayetteville Board of Health meeting, Dr. Gary Berner suggested polls put out signs that say “masks needed”.

Though the board cannot exceed the governor’s authority, Dr. Berner says he hopes this idea will encourage everyone to wear them despite there being no official requirement.

“We obviously want people to exercise the right to vote it’s extremely important and this will be an extremely important election season,” he said. “We want those to be as safe as possible and there may be times where in a line or there will be places indoors where it will be a little bit more difficult to socially distance…”

However, Price says in effort to not mislead any voters, these signs will not be displayed. Rather, the governor’s mask mandate which says masks are not required but are encouraged.

Whether you plan to vote by mail or at the polling sites, the deadline to register to vote in Arkansas will be this Monday, October 5.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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