Genesee County sending uniformed, plainclothes police to patrol the polls

In Genesee County, the Sheriff’s Office will have 43 cars in service throughout Election Day to make sure you are comfortable casting your ballot at the polls.
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 5:09 PM EST
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (11/2/2020) - Election Security is top priority for law enforcement and government leaders across Michigan.

Police agencies across Michigan are stepping up patrols this Election Day, but you may not always notice.

Both uniformed and plain clothes officers are working Tuesday to make sure you’re comfortable casting your ballot at the polls.

ABC12 has reported since last week that Michigan is one of five states at “high risk” for activity by armed groups around Election Day.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is not worried. The Sheriff said they are prepared.

As election inspectors show up for their shifts Tuesday morning, Sheriff Chris Swanson said his staff will be meeting one final time before they report to their Election Day assignments.

“That’s what police do, we prepare and hope that nothing happens,” he said. “But, I think the community feels comfortable when police are prepared and the Sheriff’s Office is more than prepared with 43 cars out throughout the day tomorrow. Every one of my unmarked cars and all my patrol cars are gonna be out there; because, we want people to know that if there’s a presence, hopefully that will deter any issues that may come up.”

The Sheriff explained throughout the last few weeks, Offices of the Sheriff, Prosecutor, Attorney General and other area police departments have done their investigative work to ‘preempt’ anything that could happen.

Most importantly, he said, if someone tries to start something with you, don’t panic and don’t engage. The Sheriff is asking you to call 9-1-1 or touch base with an election inspector.

When it comes to the open carry at the polls, the Sheriff does admit the Michigan Court of Appeals decision last week is complicating their efforts.

“We want people to exercise their right, but be sensitive that schools and churches are still schools and churches,” Sheriff Swanson said. “And, you know, open carry has been ruled upon by the Attorney General, as well as the most importantly, the Appeals Court, and unless the Supreme Court comes out with something in the next 24 hours, that’s the, that’s the message we’re following.”

If you believe you’re a victim of voter intimidation, the state wants to hear from you. The number to call is 517-335-7659, or you can email

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