Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill are telling counties and cities that the state can't require voters to wear masks.
They said making masks mandatory at polls to guard against the coronavirus would go against local laws. Word of their position comes just days before Alabama voters are set to go to the polls on Tuesday for the primary runoff election, AL.com reported.
“While it can be ‘strongly recommended’ that an individual wear a mask, it cannot be required,” Merrill said. “In our state, we will continue to see that the right for every eligible Alabamian to vote is protected.”
Merrill cited a notice Marshall sent on June 30: “Though the Attorney General strongly recommends that voters and poll workers follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines when in public places and behave in a manner that is respectful of poll workers and fellow voters, it is clear that state law does not allow for an individual’s qualification to vote to be contingent upon the wearing of a mask or face covering, respecting social distancing, using gloves, or having a temperature in a normal range.”
AL.com noted some Alabama counties and cities require masks in public. Some of those officials say their mask laws will apply to voting places.
Sparked by an increased demand for absentee ballots, the turnout for the July 14 primary runoff in Alabama is predicted to be higher than in previous years.
Secretary of State John Merrill’s office is predicting that the runoff turnout between former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will be between 17% and 22%.
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