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Some law enforcement agencies will boost staffing levels on Election Day

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
A polling location in Ann Arbor, Mich.

A number of Michigan police and sheriffs’ departments are increasing staffing levels on Election Day, just in case.

There could be more poll watchers and poll challengers than usual this year, and the Michigan Supreme Court has yet to rule in a lawsuit over whether the Michigan Secretary of State can ban people from openly carrying guns into and near polling places. 

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton says he understands that some people may be feeling more apprehensive about voting this year, but his department is ready to respond swiftly to any threats against voters. 

And he is optimistic that polling places will remain safe for all.

“We can't let situations deter us from exercising our constitutional right to vote, our First Amendment right to speak,” says Clayton. “All those things are sacred and we should be comfortable exercising that.”

Police departments in Detroit and Warren, and sheriff's departments in Kent and Macomb counties are among those increasing staffing levels on Election Day.

The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office says it is planning a meeting with law enforcement executives in the county to discuss the issue of Election Day safety.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says it has not received any credible threats to polling activity. 

In an emailed statement, the department said, “The City of Grand Rapids and its police department are dedicated to ensuring everyone is safe, and feels safe, at all times. As always, our officers are prepared to respond to any and all law enforcement situations in an equitable and impartial manner. Additional personnel will be available, but we will not have a high visibility presence at the polling locations.”

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.