Voters will not be required to wear masks when voting in person following the reinstatement of the county-wide mask mandate to help combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday Williamson County Rogers Anderson issued the executive order to reinstate the mask mandate through Oct. 30, but added that he expects to extend the mandate through the remainder of 2020 in accordance with an expected extension by Gov. Bill Lee to allow county mayors to have such authority.
Williamson County Election Administrator Chad Gray said in an email that his office does not have the authority to require that voters wear any face covering, but said that he encourages all voters who are voting in person to do so in the name of public health.
Anderson's Office confirmed that the county government can't take any action that could inhibit a person's right to vote, but added that if a voter was in a county building for other reasons than to cast a ballot they would have to wear a mask per the mandate.
It should be noted that while the Election Commission cannot impose mask restrictions on voters, some buildings that are hosting voting locations, such as the John P. Holt Brentwood Library, have their own mask requirements, which they can require visitors to abide by.
Voters will see signs posted asking voters to wear masks and to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and in addition voters will see other safety measures at the polls.
"You'll see lots of hand sanitizer all sorts of social distancing signage and things of that nature," Gray said earlier this month while discussing election safety and security.
"We believe that by in large most of the areas that we're going to be doing early voting and Election Day voting are large enough to allow people to socially distance so you'll see some cleaning procedures and we're going to be very diligent to make people feel that they're safe when voting."
Early voting is being held across eight locations in Williamson County through Thursday in already historic numbers.
Election Day will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, which will determine a number of significant races including electing a new Senator for Tennessee and possibly electing a new President.
Full details on early voting can be found here.