Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced a ban on open carry of firearms at voting locations on Election Day.
Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper joined Benson in the effort to ensure Michigan voters are safe when voting.
They've done so by informing local law enforcement agencies and ensuring that the ban on openly carried firearms is enforced statewide.
“Fair, free, and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Benson said. “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, Oct. 16 to all clerks.
“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," Benson said. "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.”
As Michigan’s Chief Elections Officer, with supervisory control over local election officials, the Secretary directed, “[t]he open carry of a firearm is 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.”
“Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day free from threat and intimidation," Nessel said. "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.”