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

A federal judge has blocked Michigan's longstanding ban on transporting voters to the polls, ruling it conflicts with U.S. election law. District Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis in Detroit issued an injunction Thursday against enforcing the restriction in November's presidential election. A form of the prohibition has been on the books since 1895. It is a misdemeanor to hire drivers to take voters to polling places unless they physically cannot walk.

U.S. postal mailboxes photo / USPS

A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the secretary of state's mailing of absentee ballot applications to millions of voters who did not request one. State Court of Claim Judge Cynthia Stephen ruled Wednesday that Jocelyn Benson had "clear and broad" authority to do so. Stephens' decision had been signaled after she rejected a request for a preliminary injunction in June. Benson is a Democrat.

Jocelyn Benson photo
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan will mail postcards telling 4.4 million registered voters that they can vote from home in November’s presidential election, and it will spend $2 million to reimburse local governments that provide pre-paid postage on absentee ballot return envelopes, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Thursday.

She said the moves, which come amid the coronavirus pandemic, are needed to make sure voters and election workers can stay safe. She pointed to the record number of absentee ballots that were cast in last week’s primary, which also had record turnout.

Voting during pandemic photo
Associated Press

Michigan county and municipal clerks are finding it challenging to meet the needs of voters amid the coronavirus pandemic and following changes in 2018 when state voters approved of same-day voter registration and no-reason absentee voting.

The Secretary of State’s Office reported this week that over 1.5 million requests for absentee ballots had been filled out and returned heading to the Aug. 4 primary, more than three-and-a-half times the number than at the same time in 2016.

Polling station
Hilary Farrell

County clerks are asking the federal government to come up with 40 million dollars so Michigan poll workers can have the personal protective equipment and other supplies they’ll need in August and November. 

State election officials are encouraging Michiganders to vote absentee to avoid possibly spreading the coronavirus.

But Saginaw County Clerk Mike Hanley expects many will still vote in person.

Your Vote Counts badge

Michigan's top election official says absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all 7.7 million registered voters for the August primary and November general election.Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the step Tuesday as the state continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic. She says it will ensure no one "has to to choose between their health and their right to vote." Her office mailed absentee ballot applications to voters in jurisdictions with local elections earlier this month, and there was record turnout.

voting sticker
Vox Efx via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 /

People in about 50 Michigan communities are participating in largely mail-based local elections that might be a blueprint for the presidential battleground state in November. In a first, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office automatically sent absentee ballot applications to all 740,000 registered voters in those municipalities to discourage in-person voting. More than 4,000 people in Michigan have died from coronavirus complications. Turnout for Tuesday's elections was expected to be more than twice than what is typical for May elections.

A Democratic group is challenging Michigan's restrictions on transporting voters to the polls and helping people apply for absentee ballots, asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the laws.

The lawsuit was filed late Tuesday. It is the second voting-related suit brought in two weeks by Priorities USA, a super PAC that plans to spend millions of dollars to mobilize and turn out voters in Michigan.

Voting booths photo

Voters in West Michigan headed to the polls yesterday to vote on a number of proposals in both Kent and Muskegon Counties. In the City of Grand Rapids, voters re-elected Commissioner Senita Lenear for a second term. Originally elected to the city commission in 2014, Lenear held off challenger Kent Boersema and maintained her seat on the City Commission.