Genesee County Clerk asks voters to leave guns at home

Clerk John Gleason talks safety at the polls ahead of Election Day Tuesday
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 5:08 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/29/2020) - Clerks across the state are gearing up for one of the most highly contested elections in U.S. history.

And they want you to know, your safety at the polls is a priority.

A new report states Michigan is one of 5 states at “high risk” for activity by armed groups around election day.

Earlier Thursday, the State Court of Appeals rejected an appeal on a ban on firearms at the polls.

The Court said voter intimidation already is illegal and that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson didn’t go through a formal rule-making process required under Michigan law.

Regardless, a mid-Michigan clerk is asking gun owners to leave their weapons at home.

“Those of you that don’t have to take your sidearm, don’t take it. Don’t take it. It’s not a good look. Yes, we understand you have the right to carry. But in the end, should you? The question -- not if you can, but should you?” Genesse County Clerk John Gleason said.

He explained he doesn’t want to tell people what to do, but Gleason doesn’t want voters in his county feeling fearful at the polls.

He mentioned the impact an open-carried gun could have for parents who bring their kids with them to witness the process.

Knowing tensions are higher than normal this election year, Gleason said he’s been speaking with area police departments for the last three weeks.

He’s not expecting any issues or worried about dealing with one; because he explained, they’re prepared.

“There’s only so much you can do because of the traffic, the day of the vote, people migrating in and out of the precinct. But we think we’re in good shape,” Gleason said. “We don’t expect any issues whatsoever.”

Gleason added you won’t see police at the polls, but they have been asked to make their presence known throughout the community November 3rd.

If you have any concerns or see a problem, you’re urged to notify a poll worker. If it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1.

The County Clerk and police both agreed no matter what, avoid any instigators.

“Don’t get in between any skirmishes. That’s what the local police are for. If there’s some little dust up at a precinct, please don’t get between combatants,” Gleason said.

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