IMAGE: Vote, voting generic

The open carry of firearms on election day is prohibited in polling places, clerk's offices, and absent voter counting boards.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today gave that direction to clerks statewide in hopes of ensuring every voter is protected.

According to her office, there's been many questions and confusion about voter safety.

"Open carry of a firearm at a place where people are voting, that can cause voter intimidation and therefore is not allowable," said Jake Rollow, State Department communications director.

Although the state department does not expect any specific confrontation, it comes as President Donald Trump encourages people to watch the polls, and guns were openly carried in the capitol earlier this year.

The ban will be enforced by Michigan State Police and Attorney General Dana Nessel, who will work with local law enforcement.

It even goes so far as to apply to any hallway used by voters to enter or exit or within one hundred feet of any entrance to a building that has a voting location.

"I think it's a good thing,” Michael Boensch, Birch Run Township voter. “There's been a lot of stories going on now with intimidation and especially in the past few years. For the fact people will be more comfortable voting in person if they choose to do that.”

This is the first time Michigan has a directive like this, but voter intimidation has been illegal for years.

"No voter in Michigan or anywhere should feel intimidated when exercising their right to vote, their right to cast a ballot,” Rollow said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

CLICK HERE to download the TV5 app.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.