No Mandate To Wear Masks When Voting in NH

Gov. Sununu has yet again abdicated his leadership duty for protecting the health and well being of the public. Despite the suggestion of State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, that wearing masks should be required when at the polls, Sununu has indicated that he will not implement a mask mandate.

Since Sununu has provided no leadership, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, and Secretary of State Bill Gardner, released mask guidance for the election on Nov. 3 and primaries on Sept 8. Per the guidance, local officials can require voters appearing in-person at a polling locations to
wear masks to vote. The right to vote, however, cannot be denied to an otherwise eligible voter who is unwilling to wear a mask.

Moderators may not deny the right to vote based on a voter’s unwillingness to wear a mask but must establish alternative means of voting. This would include measures such as, separate entrances, outdoor voting, and/or separate ballot boxes.

“If all reasonable means to persuade the voter are exhausted, we believe that current law would likely support a moderator’s decision to inform the voter that he or she cannot enter the polling place,”

Since the guidance for wearing masks is not coming from Gov. Sununu, each community will have different mask requirements to vote. Even beyond that, each polling location in a community may have different requirements depending on the decision of that moderator. You can expect lots of challenges to these requirements on voting day causing panic.