Alabama's Top Election Official and Attorney Warn Counties Against Requiring Masks on Election Day
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Montgomery, Ala. – Ahead of the July 14 Primary Runoff Election, Secretary of State John H. Merrill, in addition to Attorney General Steve Marshall, have provided guidance to county election officials regarding the requirement of masks to be worn on Election Day.
After receiving numerous inquiries from county and city officials questioning the legal authority to require or not require voters to wear masks, Secretary Merrill confirmed that state law does not place limits on an individual’s right to vote, citing Article III, Section 177(a) of the Constitution of Alabama, which reinforces the innate right of citizens to vote.
“While it can be ‘strongly recommended’ that an individual wear a mask, it cannot be required,” Merrill said in his letter.
A notice from the Attorney General’s Office dated June 30, 2020 declared, “Though the Attorney General strongly recommends that voters and poll workers follow CDC 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.”
Alabama voters will head to the ballot box on Tuesday, July 14 to vote in the primary runoff election.