Michigan is working to ensure the safety and peace of voters on Election Day by banning the open carry of firearms in polling places, clerk’s offices and absent voter counting boards.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says the ban was issued as a precaution against voter intimidation and harassment.
“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Benson said in a press release. “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.”
The ban was announced one week after the failed kidnapping attempt of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Many suspect the plot was an unsuccessful attack by disdained Trump supporters to liberate Michigan. The state was shut down in mid-March to reduce the number of coronavirus casualties.
Officials provided specific instructions for gun carriers to follow if they wish to cast their vote in-person on Nov. 3.
The open carry of firearms will be “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,” as explained by Benson.
Michigan voters will be allowed to keep their firearms inside vehicles that are parked within 100 feet of the buildings “if otherwise permitted by law to possess the firearm within the vehicle,” as outlined in the guidance.
Attorney General Dana Nessel stood in agreement with Benson Thursday emphasizing the importance of in-person that is free from danger and risk.
“Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day free from threat and intimidation. 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,” Nessel said.