HARTFORD COUNTY, Maryland, October 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Daniel Swain of Fallston, Maryland was arrested Monday at a polling place after a confrontation over his refusal to wear a mask.
CBS Baltimore reported that election officials called law enforcement to Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company, where early voting is taking place, after Swain, 52, and another unidentified man refused to either agree to put on masks or go to a separate area designated for maskless early voting. (The Baltimore Sun identified the other man as Swain’s 22-year-old son.)
Swain, a former Baltimore County Department of Corrections captain, reportedly maintained that the indoor mask mandate imposed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan due to COVID-19 was “unconstitutional.”
After almost a half-hour of conversation with the sheriff’s deputies, the other man agreed to leave, but Swain refused, leading to his arrest for trespassing.
“It is worth noting, Mr. Swain was not banned from the location, and is still able to cast his ballot,” the Harford County Sheriff's Office stressed, according to a Patch report. The office insisted that it does not make arrests solely on the basis of mask violations, but “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.”
Maryland law states that an “election judge, while performing official duties at a polling place, may not willfully and knowingly (…) interfere in any way with the casting of a vote by a person who the election judge knows is lawfully entitled to vote at an election,” though it remains to be seen how courts would interpret a legal challenge citing this provision in light of Hogan’s current emergency order.
Maryland health officials reported that there have been 141,741 COVID-19 cases in the state, with 471 current hospitalizations and 3,962 deaths since the outbreak began. Despite mandates across the country, significant uncertainty remains as to whether masks are truly effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19.