Livingston County sheriff questions open carry ban at polls on Election Day

State officials ban firearms at voting locations, clerk’s offices, absent voting counting boards on Nov. 3

Local sheriff questions open carry ban at polls on Election Day

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. – Sheriff Mike Murphy in Livingston County is asking people not to open carry on Election Day.

However, he doesn’t think it is enforceable.

“There is no statute, it’s a directive. I’m a law enforcement officer, not a directive enforcement officer,” Murphy said.

Murphy has been openly defiant of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders in the past. Now, he’s voicing his intent about an order from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to enforce.

The order being that open carry of firearms are banned on Election Day at polling locations, clerk’s offices or an absentee counting board in an effort to prevent voter intimidation.

“If there is intimidation, if there’s shenanigans, and if statutes are being broken, then we will enforce them... But open carry, there’s no statute that prevents somebody from doing that,” Murphy said.

Benson issued the direction to election clerks statewide. Nessel and Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper have joined with Benson to ensure that the ban is enforced statewide.

Michael Sedlak, who is the clerk in Livingston County’s Green Oak Charter Township, said that open carry has never been a problem, but he and the sheriff believe that calling attention to the issue could backfire.

“I think the Secretary’s order is going to encourage more people to bring open carry to the polls rather than discourage them; or taking attention away from what we should be doing, and that’s conducting a safe and secure election...,” Sedlak said.

If MSP does show up, Murphy said he will not get in their way, while Sedlak said he will welcome them with open arms.

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About the Authors:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.