Ada’s mask mandate doesn’t apply at the polls, officials say

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ADA, Okla. (KFOR) – Ada residents have been living with a mask mandate for months, but when they visit the polls this fall they might be in for a surprise: no masks are required.

The Ada city council originally passed the mask mandate back in July. They have now extended it indefinitely. It has some citizens very concerned.

“I’m not working this election because of the COVID-19 virus,” said Ada resident, Billie Jean Floyd.

The 91-year-old former State Senator says she would normally be helping out at her polling place but not this year.

“I’m one of those who is old enough, I would be compromised,” Floyd said.

Billie and her fellow workers, but also voters, are not required to wear a mask at polling places in Ada, thanks to an exception in the city’s mask mandate not requiring masks for “any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher or actively administering an election.”

“It’s just silly to have a mandate and say it’s mandated everywhere but there,” said Mary Daggs of Ada.

When KFOR asked the City of Ada about the exception, they sent a statement saying,

“That’s listed that way because Council looked at examples from other cities and this is what they adopted as one of the exemptions.”

The Pontotoc County Election Board says the city included the exception because they didn’t want to prevent someone from voting. They say they will have signs up recommending masks at polling places.

They will also hold early voting at the County Agriplex to encourage social distancing.

But some Ada residents say it should be much simpler.

“I think you should wear it all the time,” said Dean Barnes of Ada.

“I would be one, personally, that would say you need to wear a mask not only for you but for me,” said Floyd.

“Wear the mask if you are voting, wear the mask if you are working at the voting polls, just wear the mask,” said Rikke Raymond of Ada.

The early voting in Ada will be at the Agriplex Oct. 29-31, but regular voting on Nov. 3 will be at regular polling places.

The City of Oklahoma City says their mask mandate does apply to polling places.

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