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Michigan bans open carrying of guns at polling sites on Election Day

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

I voted stickers sit on a table during a presidential primary election at the Journey Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. - Americans in Wisconsin began casting ballots Tuesday in a controversial presidential primary held despite a state-wide stay-at-home order and concern that the election could expose thousands of voters and poll workers to the coronavirus. Democratic officials had sought to postpone the election but were overruled by the top state court, and the US Supreme Court stepped in to bar an extension of voting by mail that would have allowed more people to cast ballots without going to polling stations. Both courts have conservative majorities. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Michigan will not allow the open carrying of guns at polling places, clerk's offices and other locations where absentee ballots are counted, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday.

(CNN)Michigan will not allow the open carrying of guns at polling places, clerk's offices and other locations where absentee ballots are counted, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday.

Benson's 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 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 said in a press release.

Benson continued, "I am committed to ensuring all eligible Michigan citizens can freely exercise their fundamental right to vote without fear of threats, intimidation or harassment.

The announcement comes amid nationwide concerns 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.

Early voting in Michigan is limited to people dropping off or filling out absentee ballots at election offices, and Benson's guidance on firearms does not apply to these situations.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said the new guidelines will help streamline the process of voting on Election Day. Build your own road to 270 electoral votes with CNN's interactive map

Voter intimidation is "a question that has been coming up among both voters and election workers," Swope added.

Asked if she thinks this directive will help curtail voter intimidation on Election Day, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey said, "We hope so. "

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