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People carrying firearms at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on Oct. 17. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky /AFP via Getty Images

Judge Christopher Murray on Tuesday reversed a directive by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that banned the open carry of firearms at or near polling places or absentee counting boards on Election Day.

Why it matters: Benson said the rule was intended to curb the possibility of voter intimidation or harassment on Nov. 3 Meanwhile, the state's Attorney General Dana Nessel argued the necessity for the directive has grown since an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was revealed, according to the Detroit News.

What they're saying: Murray wrote that the edict violated the state law that governs how new rules are enacted by going beyond existing legislation about where open carry is banned.

  • "The Legislature has said: Here are the places you cannot carry a weapon," Murray said at the hearing, according to the Detroit News. "The secretary has expanded that. And so how is that in accordance with state law?"
  • "The directive itself covers a substantive policy area — where a resident can openly carry a firearm — and applies to every resident of this state," suggesting that law enforcement is expected to enforce it, Murray wrote. 

The other side: "As the state's Chief Election Officer I have a sworn duty to protect every voter and their right to cast their ballot free from intimidation and harassment, Benson said, according to CNN. "I will continue to protect that right in Michigan, and we will be appealing this ruling."

What to watch: Nessel responded to Tuesday's decision that her office would appeal "as this issue is of significant public interest and importance to our election process," the Detroit News reports.

Go deeper

GOP Rep. Fred Upton on Trump's push against Michigan election results: "It's over"

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told CNN's "Inside Politics" on Sunday that "the voters have spoken” in Michigan, and that it's time to move on from the election after no evidence of mass voter fraud has been found in his home state.

Why it matters: President Trump reached out directly to Republican leaders last week in Michigan as part of a long-shot effort to prevent the state from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, the New York Times reports.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

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Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.