Are face masks required to vote in Michigan?

The 2020 Michigan Primary Election is on August 4


With the 2020 Michigan Primary Election coming up amid a public health crisis, are you required to wear a face covering when heading to the polls on August 4?

Surprisingly, no: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer clarified on Friday the state’s new face mask requirements amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, naming five situations in which face masks are not required to be worn -- including at voting precincts.

Read more: What to know before voting in Michigan Primary Election on Aug. 4, 2020

Face coverings are still highly encouraged -- and, now, often required -- to be worn when around people who live outside of your household to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.

Gov. Whitmer recently signed an executive order requiring face masks or coverings to be worn in any indoor, and some outdoor, public spaces in Michigan due to rising COVID-19 cases across the state.

Over the past two weeks, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new COVID-19 cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million people in all but one region in the state.

The new order also requires businesses to deny entry or service to individuals who don’t comply with face mask requirements. Whitmer said Friday that businesses can’t assume unmasked customers have medical justification for ignoring face covering requirements.

“Wearing a mask is the right thing to do to protect our families, our businesses and our economy,” Whitmer said. “If everyone in Michigan masks up, we can save thousands of lives and put ourselves in a better position to send our kids back to school in the fall. For the safety of our loved ones and our dedicated first responders on the front lines, mask up, Michigan.”

Michigan voters who feel uncomfortable voting in person amid the pandemic now have the option to vote by mail with an absentee ballot.

The state of Michigan mailed absentee voting applications to all registered Michigan voters in May. Those who applied to receive an absentee ballot for the Michigan primary should have already received it in the mail.

If you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, it simply needs to be filled out following the instructions and returned before the deadline.

Absentee ballots can be returned by mail so long as it is received by 8 p.m. on August 4. Postage is required for this option.

Absentee ballots can also be returned by dropping it off at your local clerk’s office or drop box (if available) by 8 p.m. on August 4. No postage is required for this option.

Ballots can be tracked online here after they’ve been dropped off or returned by mail.

Related: Court: Michigan absentee ballots that come after election won’t count

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.