Poll Watcher – F.A.Q.

What is a poll watcher?
Any citizen may go to a polling place and observe. We call this person a poll watcher. The poll watcher watches to see if any violations of the election laws occur. If such a violation occurs, the poll watcher is to inform the election board of the violation. The election board consists of the poll workers.

Who cannot be a poll watcher?
Uniformed law enforcement officers are not allowed to be poll watchers.

Does the poll watcher need anything?
Poll watchers are responsible for supplying any necessities or materials needed while at the polls, i.e. chairs, tables, writing materials, etc. They cannot use the poll workers’ supplies. .

What can't poll watchers do?
The poll watcher may not interfere with or impede the conduct of any election. He/she should come no closer to the official table or the voting booths than is reasonably necessary. Unless there is an observation of questionable nature, the poll watcher is not permitted to speak to the election board or voter.

What is the main function of a poll watcher?
The main function of a poll watcher is to observe the activities at the polling place.
1. The first poll watcher of the election day has the right to see that the ballot box is empty before the first ballot is cast.
2. A poll watcher may observe the distribution of the ballot to the voter and after the voter has voted the depositing of ballot into the ballot box.
3. If the poll watcher observes what he thinks might be a violation, he/she may question a voter’s privilege by stating his/her case to the election board. Remember, the election board consists of the poll workers at that precinct.
4. The poll watcher may observe the closing procedures when the polls close.

Are there any important points to remember as a poll watcher?
A poll watcher is not allowed to talk to any person in the polling place except when questioning a procedure. No poll watcher may wear anything advertising a candidacy or promoting for or against an issue. Poll watchers are official observers only. They may observe the conduct of the election before, during and after the polls close. The election board is the sole authority in the polling place on election day. No person, except the board, may handle or touch election supplies and materials. If the poll watcher feels that a violation has taken place during an election, the poll watcher must notify the election board. Electioneering, campaigning or solicitation within one hundred (100) feet of the entrance to the polling room is prohibited.