Masked opponent rule partly triggers conflicts at polling station
Voters in Germany were required to take their ballot papers, identification documents and masks with them to the polls - because the mask requirement also applied on Election Day. But the guidelines of the state election administration also stated that mask opponents should not be denied their right to vote.
A certificate of exemption from the mask obligation exempted the voters from having to put on a mask in the polling station. Then sufficient distance had to be kept, for which the election boards were to find individual regulations. In some cases, people then voted in empty premises, as election workers reported.
This regulation also caused conflicts: The Berlin author Stefan Stuckmann was a deputy election board member in a polling station in Moabit and reports that two women came to the polling station with a corresponding certificate. As recommended by the election office in the training course, he offered the two to return when the polling station was empty.
After the two refused, Stuckmann called the police. The two officers had expressed to the Board of Elections that they would use coercion to enforce the women's right to vote, Stuckmann wrote on Twitter.
The election board had then cleared the full polling station so that the mask refusers could vote. When asked, a police spokeswoman denied that the officers had threatened coercion or put pressure on the election board.
The polling station was not full at the time. They had let the polling station run empty, and then let the women vote.
Election worker Stuckmann further reports that he was later reprimanded by the election office because he had betrayed secrets from the election committee. Stuckmann suspects that it was about his messages on Twitter. What should be secret about it, he could not understand. The election office Mitte denies having issued a reprimand. The district office and the district election officers had talked about the tweet, but had not reprimanded Stuckmann.
Photo by Glen Carrie