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Michigan bans open carry of firearms in polling places on Election Day

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Posted at 10:32 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 10:32:56-04

(WXYZ) — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced a ban on the open carry of firearms on Election Day in polling places, clerk's offices and and absent voter counting boards.

Local law enforcement agencies will enforce the ban statewide.

“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.”

Secretary Benson issued the directive this morning to all clerks stating that, “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 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.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “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.”

Key Dates & Deadlines

Thursday, Sept. 24: Absentee ballots mailed out
Monday, Oct. 19: Last day to register in any form
Tuesday, Oct. 20 - Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.: Voter registration allowed in-person at local clerk
Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.: Last day to request absentee ballot by mail
Monday, Nov. 2: Absentee ballots must be postmarked to count
Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person voting begins; polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.