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Refuse to wear a mask when voting? You'll be recorded as violating mandate

The state is taking the COVID-19 mask mandate seriously on primary day.
Voting survey vote election

With Tuesday's Primary the first time polling places have been open in Minnesota since the COVID-19 pandemic started, state election officials have warnings for anyone turning up without a face mask.

Gov. Tim Walz's face mask mandate went into effect last month, requiring coverings be worn in all indoor public spaces, or while waiting outside to enter an indoor space.

The mandate remains in effect for voting at polling places across the state, and those who refuse to wear a mask can find themselves being reported for violating the mandate, and could incur a fine of up to $100 as a result.

So if you're planning on voting after work Tuesday, here's what you need to know:

What if I don't have a mask?

There will be disposable masks available for voters if they aren't wearing their own.

What if I don't want to wear a mask?

Poll workers will encourage people to use curbside voting, which is typically used by voters with disabilities or mobility concerns, but can now be used by anyone amid the pandemic.

What if I still refuse to wear a mask and don't want to do curbside voting?

You won't be denied the right to vote inside the polling place, but your information "will be recorded as ... being in violation of the mask mandate."

What happens then?

According to the Secretary of State's office, the voter's name and address will be recorded in an incident log "along with all other notable events at that polling place."

This log is then turned over to a municipal clerk and referred for action to the relevant authorities, who will "follow their normal processes for investigating and/or pursuing action in court."

While having your details taken down for violating the mandate doesn't guarantee there will be a fine, the SoS office says that the mandate is law and carries a penalty unless you have one of the few exemptions.

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