BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Early voting officially started and people raced to the polls to cast their votes.

Some voters, like Nancy Harris, came prepared, with masks in hand.

“I didn’t know. I brought one just in case,” Nancy said.

The accessory of the season, a protective mask, is required in most courthouse across southern West Virginia. Ron Hedrick is a County Commissioner for Raleigh County.

“Just for the safety of people. Basically, you don’t really wear the mask to protect yourself, you wear the mask to protect other people,” Hedrick explained.

Hedrick said Secretary of State Mac Warner sent out an order stating courthouse staff can no longer require citizens to wear masks.

“We had direction from the Secretary of State’s office that no one can be denied access to early voting, so therefore, we made the exception that to actually enter the courthouse, you don’t have to have a mask so you can do early voting,” Hedrick said.

Some voters, like Mark Harris, agreed it was the right thing to do.

“I think it’s actually a great idea. Because we want people to vote. We want to get people out here to let their voices be heard,” Mark said.

Other voters say it would not matter if they had to wear a mask. They would still take part in their right as a citizen.

“I would’ve voted either way,” Nancy said.