FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Early voting opened across the State of Florida on Monday, with polls being met with lines of anxious residents ready to cast their ballots.
In Broward County, 28,113 people came out to exercise their right to vote. No issues were reported, aside for one incident at the Coral Ridge Mall over wearing masks.
Police were called after a disagreement between election workers and four voters who were not wearing masks at the early voting site in Fort Lauderdale.
At one point the maskless voters were asked to leave, which drew applause from other voters waiting in line.
Fort Lauderdale police said the person in charge of the polling location called them, and Broward County’s supervisor of elections was eventually called. He informed them that it is legal to show up to the polls without a mask, as long as the voters are not being unruly or disruptive.
The voters were let back into the polling place where they cast their ballots. They remained not wearing their masks while they did so.
A YouTube video uploaded Monday afternoon shows a person in the mall getting yelled at to wear a mask, and it appears to be from the same people affiliated with the Reopen South Florida group. The group has been lobbying to remove rules meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, and among their demonstrations was a maskless march through the Target store at that very same mall last month.
Broward’s elections supervisor doesn’t have the authority to enforce a mask mandate, but through an early voting and election day polling site trespass affidavit, the supervisor has granted local law enforcement agencies across the county to remove disruptive or unruly people from voting sites.
Aside from the mask mixup, there have been no major issues reported in Broward County, elections officials say.
Polls will reopen on Tuesday at 7 a.m. There are 22 polling sites in Broward County, and early voting will run through Nov. 1.