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Genesee County elections officials object to candidate advising supporters to "show up armed" to the polls

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
“We don’t want that to happen,” said John Gleason, Genesee County Clerk, of the prospect of people bringing guns to local polling places, “There’s already enough acrimony, enough disgust and literally hatred between the political parties and the candidates themselves.”

Genesee County election officials are voicing concern about a Republican state Senate candidate telling his supporters to “show up armed” when they go to the polls.

Candidate Mike Detmer made the comment at a campaign event last week when asked about protecting Republican poll observers. He’s running for the newly drawn 22nd state senate seat, that includes part of Genesee County.

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason wants to discourage voters coming armed to the polls.

“We don’t want that to happen,” said Gleason, “There’s already enough acrimony, enough disgust and literally hatred between the political parties and the candidates themselves.”

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Detmer’s run for state Senate.

The former president alleges fraud cost him Michigan votes in the 2020 presidential election, though no evidence of widespread fraud has been discovered.

Detmer is one of several candidates who have echoed the former president’s election fraud claims.

Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelly has told his supporters they should unplug tabulating machines at polling places if they believe something wrong is happening.

But authorities say anyone who tampers with ballot machines or intimidates others at a polling place could face criminal charges.

Genesee County election supervisor Kathy Funk is concerned talk of voters carrying guns may discourage people from serving as election workers. She also worries that this could create a security issue at local polling places.

“That’s taking a big chunk out of your election budget,” said Funk. “And everyone’s running on tight budgets.”