Michigan lawmakers hear proposal to ban guns at polling locations

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:22 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Fair, free, secure and safe elections are something many people agree everyone has the right to.

And one proposal lawmakers are considering bans guns from Michigan polling locations.

Tensions were high around recent elections, and elected leaders say workers were even threatened in the 2020 and 2022 cycles.

Clerks across Michigan, including East Lansing interim clerk Marie Wicks, told the House Elections Committee Tuesday they can’t find enough workers because of it.

She said banning guns at the polls could help, especially since the question comes up during every training session.

“What I always advise is anyone feeling threatened by the presence of a weapon in a polling location should immediately call 911,” said Wicks.

Wicks said now she’s worried Michigan State University students won’t vote in future elections after this month’s shooting.

“With at least five off-campus precincts with heavy student presence, I cannot fathom how triggering a weapon would be in a polling location,” said Wicks.

The proposal would ban guns within 100 feet of polling locations and ballot drop boxes.

People who spoke against the bill said they want to see ballot drop boxes excluded from the bill because many are in neighborhoods.

“This means anyone driving down the road or walking on a sidewalk would be committing a misdemeanor if they carry a firearm within the perimeter. In many cases a person may not even know they are walking or driving by a drop box,” said Cynthia Richardson, Pure Integrity Michigan Elections.

Richardson told the committee this proposal won’t prevent violence.

“A person who’s already decided to commit a felony and grievously bodily harm will not be deterred by locations determined as gun-free zones,” said Richardson.

The proposals mirror a rule Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tried to put in place for the 2020 general election but the state supreme court struck that down.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said 12 states have some sort of gun ban at polling locations.


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