The Virginia Department of Elections commissioner sent out a directive to all election officials barring them from suppressing voters who are not wearing face masks, according to Jenna Ellis, former senior legal adviser to President Donald Trump.
According to the directive, which Republican governor candidate Glenn Youngkin’s legal team reportedly obtained, commissioner Christopher Piper told all election officials that they “may not turn voters away because they are not wearing masks.”
“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,” he wrote.
The directive continues:
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. In is not sufficient to offer curbside voting as an alternative. Under 24.2-649.1, curbside voting is available only to “any voter with a disability or who is age 65 or older.
Additionally you may not hold up the line to vote based on whether voters are wearing masks.
BREAKING: The Youngkin legal team with a victory on the mask issue. They obtained this directive, sent to all election officials. NO ONE can be turned away for not wearing a mask. pic.twitter.com/4NjKMTnbPQ
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 2, 2021
News of the directive comes after several reports arose of maskless Virginia voters being told they are required to wear a face mask to vote in the gubernatorial election. Notably, Republicans are less likely to wear face masks, meaning Republicans were potentially being denied the right to vote during one of the most high-stakes governor’s races in the U.S.
The Virginia GOP tweeted Tuesday afternoon, and Youngkin retweeted:
There have been several reports from voters who say they were told by poll workers that they are required to wear a mask in order to vote. To be clear, if someone is not wearing a face covering they may NOT be turned away or refused their right to vote.
There have been several reports from voters who say they were told by poll workers that they are required to wear a mask in order to vote.
To be clear, if someone is not wearing a face covering they may NOT be turned away or refused their right to vote. pic.twitter.com/bvLzWA7m26
— Virginia GOP (@VA_GOP) November 2, 2021
American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp also said he was told that he was not allowed to vote without a mask.
“I was told at my polling station I couldn’t vote without a mask. 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,” Schlapp said.
I was told at my polling station I couldn’t vote without a mask. 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.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) November 2, 2021
While Democrat President Joe Biden won Virginia by roughly 500,000 votes in 2020, recent polls have shown Virginians gravitating away from Democrat leadership. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin led Democrat challenger Terry McAuliffe in the polls leading up to the final days of Virginia’s gubernatorial election, 49 percent to 46 percent.
“When asked to choose the top issue in Virginia, 23 percent said ‘jobs and the economy,’ followed by 19 percent who said the coronavirus pandemic, 19 percent who said the cost of living, and 15 percent who said education. Fifty percent said they trust Youngkin to handle education as governor, compared to 44 percent who said the same for the Democrat,” Breitbart News reported.
Notably, Democrats have raved about “voter suppression” since the 2020 election, claiming Republicans’ voter integrity measures are actually attempts to stifle the votes of minorities.
Virginians have until 7:00 p.m. to cast their vote for governor.