Michigan announced a ban on Friday of the open carry of guns at polling places to avoid voter harassment and intimidation during the critical swing state election.
The announcement by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson drew a quick rebuke from some Republicans and gun rights activists, including the National Rifle Association, but the Democratic official said firearms at voting sites could cause fear and disruption for election workers and Michiganders trying to cast their ballots on Nov. 3.
“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Benson said in a statement. “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.”
Michigan leaders have been high alert for armed intimidation, in the wake of gun-carrying protesters storming the Michigan Capitol and a foiled plot by Michigan militia extremists attempting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. President Trump, who has repeatedly warned of voter fraud, urged his supporters to be vigilant and “to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen.”
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs
— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
(Read more from “State Bans Open Carry of Guns at Polling Locations” HERE)