What happens if an in-person voter in DC, Md. or Va. refuses to wear a mask?

Early, in-person voting starts Monday, Oct. 26 in Maryland; Tuesday, Oct. 27 in D.C. and continues in Virginia until Saturday, Oct. 31.

All three jurisdictions are telling residents to wear masks when voting in-person to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

But can voters still go to the polls in person if they refuse to put one on? The answer is yes, no matter which part of the region.

“If someone shows up without a mask, we’ll have a mask for them. But if there’s an issue and they refuse to wear a mask they will be able to vote … outside of the voting center,” said Jim Shalleck, president of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. “We’re not going to let you in if you don’t have a mask.”

The same goes for the rest of Maryland.

In Virginia: “If voters do not have a mask they will be asked to wear one and possibly could be offered a mask if there are extra, and be offered the opportunity to vote curbside,” Jessica Bowman, deputy commissioner with the Virginia Department of Elections told WTOP via email.

Bowman added that ultimately, a voter will not be turned away if they are not wearing a mask.

It is a similar situation in D.C.

“A mask is required to vote in person at a Vote Center or Early Vote Center,” Board of Elections spokesman Nick Jacobs told WTOP in an email. “If a voter refuses to wear a mask, he/she may vote via curbside voting if that is available. If it is not available the voter will have to go to a location where it is.”

The city’s super vote centers — which will be set up to accommodate large crowds and proper social distancing — will not offer curbside voting.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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