SOS Benson working to ban guns at polling places

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D)
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D)(Stephen DeLadurantaye)
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 12:48 PM EST
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DETROIT, Mich. (WNEM) - Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is looking to enact legislation that would ban firearms at polling places.

At this week’s annual Judge Damon Keith Memorial Soul Food Luncheon, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced she is working with state lawmakers to enact a Voting Rights Act for the state of Michigan, which would prohibit anyone from bringing guns within 100 feet of polling places and other election venues.

“The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” said Benson, noting that many states, including Georgia, already ban firearms in polling places. “The time for taking action to ensure Michiganders are safe – in schools, in grocery stores, in places where we vote and everywhere in between – is now.”

According to Benson, the Michigan Voting Rights Act will mirror and expand upon existing state constitutional protections enacted in 2022.

“Our kids deserve to go to school free from fear of gun violence. They deserve to go to church or synagogues or mosques with their families to worship free from fear of gun violence. They deserve to live in a democracy where their voices are heard and where they can cast their ballots free from intimidation or threats of violence. That is the world I am fighting for,” Benson said.

The Act hopes to bring peace of mind to voters going to the polls. According to Benson, the new legislation would prohibit voter suppression in the state of Michigan, while also banning intimidation, coercion, and deceptive practices in elections.

Benson also hopes to make voting places more inclusive by expanding the number of jurisdictions that must translate election-related information into languages other than English and enhance protections for voters with disabilities.

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