Sheriff says he won’t enforce ban on open carry at polling places on Election Day

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today issued direction to local election clerks statewide clarifying that the open carry of firearms on Election Day in polling places, clerk’s offices, and absent voter counting boards is prohibited on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.

Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper joined with Secretary Benson in preparations to ensure Michigan voters are safe and secure when voting by informing local law enforcement agencies and ensuring that the ban on openly carried firearms is enforced statewide.

“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,” said Benson. “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.”

Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy

However, Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy says he won’t enforce the directive.

In a story in The Detroit News, Murphy said he won’t enforce the ban on open carry firearms at polling places, much like he did not enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders during the pandemic.

The order, Murphy said, is “unenforceable.”

“They have no authority to supersede law,” Murphy said, adding that he will have additional staff on hand in case of trouble at polling locations.

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. Absent clear standards, there is potential for confusion and uneven application of legal requirements for Michigan’s 1,600 election officials, 30,000 election inspectors, 8 million registered voters, and thousands of challengers and poll watchers on Election Day.”

In furtherance of her role as Michigan’s Chief Elections Officer, with supervisory control over local election officials in the performance of their duties, the Secretary 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.”

Offering her full support of the Secretary’s directive, Attorney General 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.”

“Michiganders should know that law enforcement across multiple levels is working together to ensure that anyone who wishes to exercise their right to vote in-person on election day can do so safely and without the threat of intimidation,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police.

The Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Michigan State Police are working together to ensure uniform enforcement of these requirements. In addition, the Attorney General and Michigan State Police will issue accompanying guidance to law enforcement on safety and security issues that could potentially impact the Nov. 3, election.

A full copy of the Secretary’s guidance can be found here.

Voters who witness or experience intimidation or other unlawful conduct at the polls immediately report this to an election worker or official and document the experience as clearly as possible. If in immediate danger, voters should call 911 prior to informing an election worker or official.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

4 Comments

  1. All I know is that before she opened up her fly trap, you may have had a few stragglers holstered up.
    But by opening up your trap, and telling people they can not do something that is perfectly legal……well have fun with that on election day. I think she was jealous that the Gov and AG were getting all the attention, so she had to get some for herself…..bonehead

  2. It does not surprise me he’ll do nothing. That’s pretty much the mission statement of the Livingston County Sheriff’s department.

  3. I think the line has been crossed on our constitutional rights so many times this year to keep track would be almost impossible. From our authoritarian feckless governor to our health department, the secretary of state and other bias politically charged bad actors to the people that follow along with them like sheep to the slaughter house. I am proud of the Livingston county sheriff for standing for the constitution, and the citizens of this country, upholding the 2a rights of the country as founded. He is a true patriot and I applaud him for doing so. Also let’s not forget the legal gun owners in this country are not the problem, we are not the ones burning, rioting, and trying to defend the police, ripping down statues, and pushing cancel culture. Maybe we should be more worried about intimidation from the left and criminals than stripping the rights of law abiding citizens the right to defend themselves.

    • Eric, I feel that you have been brainwashed by the party of fear and blame. There hasn’t been any burning, rioting or toppling of statues in our city, county or state. I’m not sure what your fake news source is selling you. Regardless, no one believes that there will be any violence at polling stations that enforce or at polling stations that disregard the gun free order.

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