October 8, 2021

New York is following the CDC’s guidance that recommends that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high community transmission of COVID-19. Currently all of New York is in the high category. See:…

In most indoor settings, vaccinated persons are not required, albeit are recommended, to wear masks. 

Unvaccinated persons are required to wear masks indoors, but poll workers are not tasked with asking voters whether they are vaccinated.  Voter adherence is left to the voters themselves.

The New York State Board of Elections previously issued General Guidance for County Board of Elections regarding COVID-19 and COVID-19 Update for Election Officials Questions and Answers, May 15, 2020. Both documents are still posted on our web site and provide relevant information related to ensuring voter and poll worker safety and should be consulted.  However, the Executive Orders referenced in our prior guidance are no longer operative. Boards of elections should continue to encourage COVID-hygiene and continue to make PPE available to voters and staff along with hand sanitizer.  The prior guidance on social distancing (to the extent practicable) and cleaning is recommended.  

Poll sites in schools or health care facilities should follow any universal masking requirements that may be applicable in those facilities, however a voter that refuses to wear a mask cannot be denied the ability to vote. If possible, in those settings where universal masking is required, an election worker should be assigned to watch the line and if a voter is not wearing a mask, be ready to make an accommodation that keeps that voters place in line and allows them to vote in a timely and safe manner. 

Individual poll sites cannot set rules for poll workers and voters.  Once a poll site is designated, while in use for voting it becomes a board of elections facility.