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SECRETARY OF STATE SCHWAB REITERATES GUIDANCE TO COUNTIES ON MASK REQUIREMENTS

Monday, October 19, 2020

TOPEKA – Secretary of State Scott Schwab today reiterated guidance issued to county election officials on local mask requirements ahead of the November 3 General Election.

"As Kansas voters begin to cast their ballots for the 2020 election, our priority is to ensure every Kansan has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote," said Secretary Schwab. "Kansas voters who choose to vote in-person will be allowed to vote, regardless of whether or not they wear a mask."

In July, Schwab's office sent a memo to local election officials stating no individual, who is otherwise qualified to vote, shall be turned away from a polling location for wearing or not wearing a mask. Schwab reminded officials that Article 5, Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution states there are only three criteria to be qualified to vote in Kansas: age, citizenship, and residence. If a properly registered voter, state law dictates the individual be allowed to cast a ballot.

"Exercising one’s fundamental right to vote is not, and should not be, contingent upon whether or not they choose to wear a mask. Voter intimidation or suppression based on the use or non-use of a face mask, or for any other reason, will not be tolerated." said Secretary Schwab.

Local election officials have been directed to work with their county health department on mask requirements for poll workers. The Secretary of State's office has provided personal protective equipment (PPE) kits containing hand sanitizer, gloves, face masks and disinfectant to all polling locations ahead of the November election. In addition, plexiglass shields have also been purchased by the office for all polling locations to create an extra layer of protection for voters and election workers.

The Office of Secretary of State encourages all Kansans to be safe and follow the recommended COVID-19 safety protocols of health professionals. Voters who cast ballots in-person will be given disposable stylus pens to use on paper ballots or election machinery to limit direct contact with common touchpoints. Voters are reminded to maintain a minimum of six feet distance from others while waiting in line and should anticipate greater distance between voting booths at their polling location.

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