Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday that Michigan will not allow the open carrying of guns at polling places, clerk’s offices, and other locations where absentee ballots are counted on election day, Nov. 3.
According to a story by CNN, on Michigan’s bans of open weapon-carry at voting sites, the directive prohibits Michigan residents from open-carrying firearms “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.”
The Michigan GOP says that it will be in court on Monday seeking an injunction to prevent this.
Nationwide, concerns are being voiced about security at polling locations, especially in Michigan, where 13 people were charged earlier this month in a domestic terror plot to kidnap the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
In what seems a logical statement, the press release from Benson’s office says “The presence of firearms at the polling place, clerk’s office(s), or absentee voter counting board may cause disruption, fear, or intimidation for voters, election workers, and others present.”
Meanwhile, the release continued, encouragement by President Donald Trump and his allies for his supporters to join an “army” of poll watchers to watch polling locations is raising fears of voter intimidation, and suppression of the vote at polling locations.
“I am committed to ensuring all eligible Michigan citizens can freely exercise their fundamental right to vote without fear of threats, intimidation, or harassment,” says Benson’s release. “Prohibiting the open-carry of firearms in areas where citizens cast their ballots is necessary to ensure every voter is protected.”
Early voting in Michigan is limited to people dropping off or filling out absentee ballots at election offices. The Michigan State Police are expected to issue accompanying guidance to law enforcement.
In response, the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, represented by legal counsel Steve Dulan, said “There’s no case law that I’m aware of that defines the mere presence of a visible firearm as intimidation. In fact, we’ve got a law that goes the opposite way in Michigan, that the mere presence of a firearm is not disturbing the peace.” he added: “a significant portion of the population has decided that it’s important to their safety to be armed. And this is an infringement on that.”
A spokeswoman for Whitmer said, “The Whitmer administration supports efforts to keep our election safe and secure,” Tiffany Brown told CNN. “All voters have the right to vote safely without fear of intimidation or violence.”