NAACP seal

The Detroit NAACP branch announced Tuesday that its members and area attorneys will monitor polls across the city and state on Election Day for instances of voter intimidation or voter suppression.

The group said that if any such efforts are seen, or if any voters feel threatened by gun-carrying individuals “watching” the polls, police and prosecutors will be contacted.

Gun rights groups have filed a legal challenge to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ban on openly carrying firearms at or near polling places on Election Day.

The order bans openly carrying firearms where people will vote or where ballots are counted. Benson’s office said she has a legal duty to protect voters and poll workers from intimidation, harassment, and coercion.

Dean Greenblatt is an attorney for the group Michigan Open Carry. He says Benson is acting outside her authority because state law allows people to openly carry firearms.

Openly carried firearms will not be allowed at polling places.

       Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she’s using her authority to ensure fair and orderly elections.

Spokesman Jake Rollow says the directive will help ensure people can vote without feeling threatened during a very heated election. The directive says openly carried guns won’t be allowed within 100 feet of a polling place, clerks’ offices where absentee ballots are dropped off, and where absentee ballot counting boards meet.

Voting booths photo

Michigan will not allow people to openly carry guns at or near polling places on Election Day in an effort to limit voter intimidation, the state’s top election official said Friday.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent the guidance to clerks just over a week after members of two anti-government paramilitary groups were charged with taking part in plotting the kidnapping of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Some of the men were charged under federal law and others under state law.

State and federal authorities have charged a group of suspected terrorists with a plot that included kidnapping Governor Gretchen Whitmer and storming the state Capitol.

The Michigan State Police and the FBI say the plotters also staked out Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home and planned to kidnap her, bring her to a remote location, and charge put her on trial for “treason.”
                US Attorney Matthew Schneider said this appeared to be a militia operation with the goal of toppling Michigan’s government, and attracting anti-government supporters.

Commission will discuss guns at the Capitol

May 18, 2020
Associated Press

The Michigan State Capitol Commission will hold a meeting remotely today One of the agenda items is a discussion on whether to ban firearms in the Capitol. This will be the commission’s first meeting since a protest that saw many demonstrators carry guns into the building at the same time the Legislature was meeting to make decisions on the state’s coronavirus response. Many Democrats say they felt threatened and called for a ban on the open carry of firearms in the building.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she has health and safety concerns about future protests at the state Capitol.

The next known demonstration is supposed to happen Thursday.

Whitmer says she hopes threatening gestures and rhetoric don’t turn to actual violence. Whitmer says she found the images of nooses, people carrying firearms into the Capitol, and yelling very disturbing.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission has delayed a decision on whether to ban the open-carry of firearms in the building. The commission called for further study first.


The commission is responsible for the grounds and many public areas of the Capitol in Lansing. The commission’s lawyer says the group can NOT banish guns under Michigan’s open carry law. Attorney General Dana Nessel says the Capitol building – just like schools and courts -- is not subject to the law.

Dana Nessel photo
Dana Nessel

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says guns can be banned inside the state Capitol. She gave that advice today  to the Michigan State Capitol Commission.

The commission controls public areas of the building.

Nessel advised the commission it has the power to take action to protect public safety, including the authority to ban firearms.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Michigan Senate /

Guns cannot be banned from Michigan’s Capitol unless legislators change state law, an official who helps oversee the building said Wednesday, less than a week after some protesters armed with rifles shouted at lawmakers inside the Senate chamber.

John Truscott, vice chairman of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, said he received “early indications” from the panel’s lawyer that “we do not have jurisdictions to prohibit weapons in the building. That’s a legislative function.”

It appears unlikely the Republican-led Legislature would restrict guns in the Statehouse.