County Elections Coordinator Refuses to Mask Up at Training for Poll Workers
The Comal County employee charged with teaching poll workers how to keep voters safe from COVID-19 during the Nov. 3 General Election refuses to wear face masks at her training sessions.
Elections Coordinator Cynthia Jaqua, who leads mandatory training sessions for election judges and clerks, showed up without a mask for today’s class, and it wasn’t the first time either, according to several people.
Lynn Silver, an election judge, said she arrived at Comal County Elections office today to find all other attendees masked up and sitting six feet apart. Jaqua, standing in front of the room, wasn’t wearing a mask.
“I stood up and waved to Ms. Jaqua from the back of the room, and asked her to please wear a mask since she was doing the training,” Silver said on Facebook. “She answered me saying that the CDC recommends it but she is not required to wear a mask. I then asked her if she could please put on a mask out of respect for people in attendance. She replied that she would not because everyone was social distancing. I thanked her and left. I am shocked that folks are so disrespectful of senior citizens and humans in general when it comes to mask-wearing.”
Comal County Public Information Officer Cary Zayas said the county abides by Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-29, which makes masks mandatory when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public.
However, the order exempts “any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged.”
Roxanna Deane, president of the League of Women Voters of the Comal Area, said unless there is a documented health reason, everyone working with voters or training election workers should wear a face covering.
“This protects election staff and workers and sets the example for poll workers,” she said. “These are difficult times and we should all be working to make voters feel as safe as possible when they are casting their ballot.”
During early voting in July, Jaqua said in a statement that all poll workers should wear face coverings for their health and safety and that of others.
Election judges oversee polling locations. Election clerks are tasked with looking at drivers’ licenses, finding voters in the poll book, and providing the numbers to take into the voting machines.
Today is National Voters Registration Day.
Jaqua did not immediately return a call from MyCanyonLake.com.
According to Pew Research, in the 2018 general election, around six-in-ten U.S. poll workers (58 percent) were ages 61 and older, including roughly a quarter (27 percent) who were over 70.
Nationally, there are concerns that enough older Americans won’t show up to work at the polls for fear of COVID-19, forcing some voting locations to shut down and creating long lines at others.
To learn more about what’s happening in Texas, click HERE.
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