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.