Man Wouldn't Wear Mask to Vote, Gets Arrested

Daniel Swain argued with deputies for 30 minutes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2020 7:01 AM CDT
Man Wouldn't Wear Mask to Vote, Gets Arrested
Daniel Swain.   (Harford County Sheriff's Office)

A polling place in Maryland had a special outdoor booth set up where people unwilling or unable to wear face masks could cast their ballots—but it wasn't enough for two men on the first day of early voting. Election officials called police after 52-year-old Daniel Swain and his 22-year-old son declared the mask requirement unconstitutional and refused to wear masks or leave the indoor portion of the polling place, the Baltimore Sun reports. Police say the son agreed to leave after deputies arrived at the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company, but Swain, a former Baltimore County Department of Corrections captain, "continued to argue" and was arrested for trespassing "when it was clear there were no other options."

The Harford County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that deputies tried to resolve the situation for nearly 30 minutes before Swain was arrested Monday, NBC reports. He was released later in the day. "It is worth noting, Mr. Swain was not banned from the location, and is still able to cast his ballot," the sheriff's office said. Violating Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's order on face coverings in a misdemeanor. But the sheriff's office said that Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler aims to handle violations through education, not arrests or citations. "However, if a private property owner, store manager, or in this case, election official needed assistance in having a person vacate a premise, we would enforce a trespassing violation." The Sun reports Swain has sued both Gahler and the Harford County Board of Elections, arguing he and his son were denied their right to vote. (More Maryland stories.)

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