Michigan Closes Legislative Buildings Over Safety Concerns Before Electoral College Meeting

December 14, 2020 Updated: December 14, 2020

Officials said that Michigan Statehouse and Senate office buildings will be closed Monday as the Electoral College meets, citing security concerns.

“The decision was not made because of anticipated protests, but was made based on credible threats of violence,” Amber McCann, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said in a statement to news outlets.

The Michigan state Capitol in Lansing will also be closed to the public, with only those essential for the Electoral College meeting allowed inside, according to local media.

McCann said Senate leadership does not have the authority to close the Capitol and that the decision to do so was made by the Capitol Commission.

The Capitol Commission did not immediately respond to a query from the The Epoch Times regarding the closure.

Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield, told Detroit Free Press that queries regarding the specific nature of the threat should be directed to the Michigan State Police (MSP) and declined to provide details.

Lt. Darren Green of the MSP told the paper that authorities are monitoring social media and other communications, but did not comment on the presence of any specific threats. He added that the police did not issue any recommendations regarding the closures.

Rep. Darrin Camilleri took to Twitter to comment on the matter, writing: “Due to safety concerns for tomorrow’s Electoral College vote, the entire legislature is closed and will be working remotely. I’m thankful for the courage of our electors who will be exercising their democratic duty and selecting our next president.”

Members of the Electoral College are due to convene in states across the country on Monday, casting votes for the next U.S. president. The state-by-state votes, traditionally an afterthought, have taken on outsized significance this year in light of President Donald Trump’s challenges of the 2020 election, with the president and his allies filing multiple lawsuits amid claims of irregularities and fraudulent activity. Michigan has been one of the states in which Trump and his legal team have alleged voter fraud.

Camilleri was asked in a comment thread whether the closure was prompted by a specific threat or broad concerns about crowds of protesters showing up.

“I have not been briefed on specific threats but when this has happened in the past, it was because there were some,” Camilleri replied. “I’ve heard there are also planned protests—with the expectation that many will will bring weapons and open carry.”

Michigan House Democratic Leader-elect Donna Lasinski, in a statement on Twitter, wrote, “The meeting of the Electoral College should be a celebration of our democracy but instead has now become a target for threats, intimidation, and violence.”

The Michigan state Capitol has been the site of armed protests this year, including demonstrations against pandemic-related lockdowns, in support of open-carry rights, and expressing opposition to a recent push to ban guns from the Capitol building.

The Capitol Commission recently rejected two proposals to impose weapons bans inside the Capitol.

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