Michigan bans open carry of firearms at voting locations on Election Day

Attorney General Dana Nessel, police director to ensure ban is enforced

FILE - In this April 5, 2014, file photo, a man open carries a 1911 handgun while at a CCDL gun rights rally at the Connecticut state capitol in Hartford. The Democratic co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Gary Winfield and Rep. Steve Stafstrom, have introduced a bill to revamp Connecticut's 1999 "red flag" law, which was the first in the country to allow judges to order someone's guns seized upon evidence they are a danger to themselves or others. The bill would add relatives, household members and medical professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses and psychologists. (Mike Orazzi/The Bristol Press via AP, File) (Mike Orazzi)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials have banned the open carry of firearms at voting locations, clerk’s offices and absent voting counting boards on Election Day.

“The presence of firearms at the polling place, clerk’s office(s), or absent voter counting board may cause disruption, fear, or intimidation for voters, election workers, and others present. Absent clear standards, there is potential for confusion and uneven application of legal requirements for Michigan’s 1,600 election officials, 30,000 election inspectors, 8 million registered voters, and thousands of challengers and poll watchers on Election Day,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.

Benson issued the direction to election clerks statewide. Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper have joined with Benson to ensure that the ban is enforced statewide.

“Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day free from threat and intimidation. An armed presence at the polls is inconsistent with our notion of a free democracy. I stand with the Secretary in her commitment to ensure that every eligible voter who wants to vote in person can do so safely and without fear or intimidation,” Nessel said.

The open carry of a firearm is now prohibited in a polling place, in any hallway used by voters to enter or exit, or within 100 feet of any entrance to a building in which a polling place is located.

Voters who witness or experience intimidation or other unlawful conduct at the polls should report it to an election worker, or official and document the experience as clearly as possible. If you are in danger at the polls you should call 911 before alerting an election worker.

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.