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Masks not required at the polls on Election Day

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Voters wait in line to vote in April in Wisconsin.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission met virtually Thursday night to discuss what the state's new mask mandate means for the upcoming elections in Wisconsin.

The commission released a memo to local clerks on Thursday prior to the order from Governor Tony Evers and the meeting later that night focused on what needed to be changed.

One thing members made clear: voters will be encouraged to wear masks at polling places, but masks will not be required.

"It is our understanding that, like the memo says, you can't add another qualification to voting," said commission administrator Meagan Wolfe. "So if someone were to appear at the polls on Election Day and they did not have a mask on, it could not be a reason they are denied their right to vote."

Wolfe said during the election in April, some municipalities set up outside voting stations to allow people who thought they had COVID-19 a chance to vote while not going inside a polling location. Wolfe said that could be an option for municipalities in the upcoming elections.

Commission members also agreed that poll workers could ask someone to briefly remove their mask in order to verify the person's identity.

The commission plans to post updated guidance for local clerks after Thursday night's meeting.

The next election in Wisconsin is the fall primary on Tuesday, August 11. The presidential election is Tuesday, November 3.

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