(The Center Square) – Voters across Wisconsin are getting ready for their third election during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wisconsin Election Commission on Friday published a guidance letter on its website, reminding voters of the rules for Election Day and giving them some suggestions.
The biggest is that face masks are recommended, but are not required.
“Face coverings are recommended for use by voters and poll workers on Election Day,” the Election Commission wrote. “However, the Executive Order issued by the Governor on July 30, 2020 that requires face coverings in certain situations does not apply to voters.”
WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe said last month that only state lawmakers can set the rules for voters. She says state law is silent about face masks, so no voter can be denied a ballot because they are not wearing a mask.
Wolfe on Friday asked voters who do wear masks to show some patience.
“We are asking voters to observe social distancing inside and outside of polling places, and not to create disturbances about the wearing or not wearing of masks or face coverings,” Wolfe said.
Voters who do wear masks may be asked to lower them so an election judge can verify their identity.
The Election Commission says polls will be stocked with hand sanitizer and cleaning products to make sure voting machines are cleaned between voters.
“Things may look a little different when you go vote and voters will be asked to wash or sanitize their hands before and after voting. Social distancing is essential even at polling places on election day. There will be procedures in place to allow for six feet between voters and poll workers to ensure a safe voting experience for everyone,” Wolfe wrote.
This election is the latest to see a large number of people across Wisconsin vote absentee. Wolfe said time has run out to get ballots in the mail.
“Voters who still need to return absentee ballots should drop them off at their municipal clerk’s office as soon as possible,” Wolfe said. “Some municipalities offer secure drop boxes. On Election Day, voters may deliver their absentee ballots directly to their normal polling place, but it must arrive before polls close at 8 p.m. Voters who return absentee ballots to their clerk’s office or a municipal drop box on Election Day should do so as early as possible, because the ballot must be picked up and delivered to the polling place by 8 p.m.”
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.