Michigan Secretary of State to Push for Gun Ban at Polling Places

by Scott McClallen


Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she is working with state lawmakers to ban firearms at polling places and enact a Voting Rights Act.

“The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” Benson said in a statement. “The time for taking action to ensure Michiganders are safe – in schools, in grocery stores, in places where we vote and everywhere in between – is now.”

The announcement follows a shooting Monday night at Michigan State University that killed three students and seriously wounded five others.

In 2020, a Court of Claims judge stopped a previous Benson directive trying to ban guns at polling places, noting that voter intimidation is already illegal.

“Our kids deserve to go to school free from fear of gun violence,” Benson said in a statement. “They deserve to go to church or synagogues or mosques with their families to worship free from fear of gun violence. They deserve to live in a democracy where their voices are heard and where they can cast their ballots free from intimidation or threats of violence.”

Benson aims to ban firearms within 100 feet of polling places. The Michigan Voting Rights Act proposes to:

  • Prohibit voter suppression.
  • Expand the number of jurisdictions that must translate election-related information into languages other than English.
  • Enhance and clarify protections for voters with disabilities or others who need assistance to participate in elections.
  • Prohibit intimidation, coercion, and deceptive practices in elections.

Benson will be drafting the bill with the input of clerks, voting advocates and other stakeholders.

Sen. Darrin Camilleri, D-Trenton, welcomed the legislation.

“When we remove barriers to participation, we create fairer elections, Camilleri said in a statement. “I’m honored to lead the effort in the Legislature to create a Michigan Voting Rights Act and make sure voters of color and those with disabilities can make their voices heard in our elections. While federal law has lapsed in protecting all of our residents’ right to vote, we are going to use our power at the state level to defend our residents and our democracy.”

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Jocelyn Benson” by Ghanumal77. CC BY-SA 3.0. Background Photo “Election Day 2020” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.




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