Source: The Boston Globe
Wire Service: AP
MONTREAL --Muslim women will have to remove their face coverings if they want to vote in upcoming elections in Quebec, a government official said Friday, reversing his earlier decision to allow the veils.
Marcel Blanchet, the French-speaking province's election chief, had been criticized by Quebec's three main political leaders for allowing voters to wear the niqab, which covers the entire face except for the eyes, if they signed a sworn statement and showed identification when they vote.
But Blanchet reversed his earlier decision Friday, saying it was necessary to avoid disruptions when residents go to the polls.
"Relevant articles to electoral laws were modified to add the following: any person showing up at a polling station must be uncovered to exercise the right to vote," he said.
Blanchet had to get two bodyguards after the Quebec elections office received threatening phone calls and e-mails following his initial decision to allow niqabs. He said some residents had threatened to protest Monday's vote by showing up at polling stations wearing masks.