Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Friday issued a ban on open carry of firearms at polling sites on Election Day.
“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 wrote in her directive.
Under the rule, open carry will be prohibited in a polling place or within 100 feet of its entrance and exit.
Benson said in a statement that she was “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 Michigan official stated.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel backed the restriction, asserting that “an armed presence at the polls is inconsistent with our notion of a free democracy.”
Benson’s ban comes on the heels of the FBI announcing last week an alleged domestic terrorist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) allegedly over her restrictions on business operations amid COVID-19. Several of the alleged suspects of the scheme were members of a militia group called “the Wolverine Watchmen.”