DETROIT -- People will not be allowed to openly carry firearms at polling places, clerks' offices or locations where absentee ballots are counted, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday.
Benson included the decision in guidance sent to Michigan clerks as elections officials prepare for any voter intimidation efforts on Election Day, Nov. 3.
"Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy," Benson said in a news 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."
The directive states that no one may openly carry a firearm within 100 feet of a polling place, clerk's office or absentee ballot counting board. It requires clerks to post signage noting the rule, and to contact law enforcement if there are any violations.
Additional guidance from the state to law enforcement on possible safety and security issues on Election Day is expected soon.
There are thousands of polling places around the state, many located at schools, churches or similar venues. Although President Donald Trump has bashed mail-in voting and encouraged supporters to vote in person on Election Day, he has also called for an "army" of supporters to monitor voting at the polls.
This has prompted concerns there may be an increase of voter intimidation, especially in a state like Michigan where the presidential race was decided by just 10,704 votes in 2016.