Watchers

A Watcher is appointed by a candidate or issue committee to observe election activities.

Who can be a Watcher?
An eligible elector other than a candidate on the ballot who has been selected by:
  • A candidate on behalf of the candidate
  • The opponents or the proponents in the case of a ballot issue or ballot question
Who cannot be a Watcher?
Neither candidates nor members of their immediate families by blood or marriage to the 2nd degree may be poll watchers for that candidate.

How are Watchers designated?
A Watcher must provide a written certificate of appointment by September 4. View the certificate form (PDF).

How many Watchers can there be?
No more than 1 Watcher per candidate, per proponent group, and per opponent group can be present at the polling place.

What is a Media Observer?
A Media Observer is an observer with valid and current media credentials from the media who shall adhere to the Guidelines for Members of the Media Who Observe Election Counts and Recounts (PDF).

Watchers May:
  • Observe any part of the election process including early voting and the processing and counting of provisional and mail-in ballots
  • Be present while judges set up the polling place before polls open, during voting, and after the polls close while the judges finish their work
  • Observe each stage of the process including running the zero tape on voting machines and receiving and bundling of the mail-in ballots
  • Maintain their own list of eligible electors who have voted
  • Compare the final county machine vote totals with the poll book check-in totals
  • Leave and return during the hours the polls are open (another certificate of appointment is not necessary, the original certificate will suffice);
  • Challenge ineligible electors in writing (no oral challenges are allowed)
Watchers May Not:
  • Record ballot numbers or other identifying information about electors, but they must be provided with a way to find out who has voted
  • Handle election supplies
  • Take pictures or make any video or digital recordings within the polling place
  • Use cell phones, laptops, smartphones, cameras, PDAs or other electronic devices in the voting area and ballot processing and counting locations
  • Interrupt, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the orderly process and conduct of any election
  • Interact with Election Judges, except the Judge designated as the Watchers point of contact.
The City Clerk will assign an Election Judge to be the point of contact for watchers at each polling place. The Election Judge will provide the watcher with a list of individuals who have voted.

Watchers may observe all activities within the polling place, but must stay at least 6 feet from voting booths, ballot boxes, and all voting equipment including direct record electronic voting machines and tabulation equipment.