Secretary of State Benson announces ban of open carry of a firearm at voting locations

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:31 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Friday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued direction to local election clerks statewide clarifying that the open carry of firearms on Election Day in polling places, clerk’s offices, and absent voter counting boards is prohibited.

“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” said Benson. “I am committed to ensuring all eligible Michigan citizens can freely exercise their fundamental right to vote without fear of threats, intimidation or harassment. Prohibiting the open-carry of firearms in areas where citizens cast their ballots is necessary to ensure every voter is protected.”

Secretary Benson issued the directive Friday morning to all clerks stating that, “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.”

A full copy of the Secretary’s guidance can be found here.

The Secretary of State’s office says that voters who witness or experience intimidation or other unlawful conduct at the polls should immediately report this to an election worker or official and document the experience as clearly as possible.

If in immediate danger, voters should call 911 prior to informing an election worker or official.

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