Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated that Ohio will not require masks to be worn at Ohio polls.
In a press conference Wednesday, LaRose went through the state’s guidelines and detailed some of the precautions Ohio would take in light of the recent pandemic. The secretary of state encouraged voters to take advantage of absentee voting, a system that’s caused some controversy recently, stating that the system “is completely safe.”
LaRose went on to speak on a number of the security features Ohio has implemented to protect against absentee voting fraud. These included clearing the deceased and those who’ve moved from Ohio from voter rolls and banning ballot harvesting.
LaRose announced the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health have collaborated in the creation of a 48-point safety system for polling locations. These include “routine cleaning of voting machines and poll books” and a requirement all poll workers wear masks.
Among other safety features, social distancing recommendations will be in effect, and people will be encouraged to wear masks. Anyone who should choose not to wear a mask will have the non-mandatory option to use outdoor curbside voting. LaRose stated that these precautions would help ensure a “safe and healthy environment at our polling locations.”
The new guidelines on mask-wearing in polling locations goes against Governor Mike Dewines July 22 mask mandate, which requires that “all individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when at an indoor location that is not a residence” or whenever unable to maintain social distancing, according to the governor’s press release.
LaRose was insistent throughout the press conference that voting will be moving forward as per usual.
“I want to put some rumors to rest… There absolutely will be in-person voting November 3,” he said.
LaRose noted “the election day is set in federal law” and “the election this November will look a lot like what Ohioans have grown accustomed too.”