Poll Watching, Poll Challengers and Election Workers
What you need to know and how to get involved
With all the confusion surrounding the 2020 election words like poll watcher, poll challenger and election worker has been thrown around quite a bit. Understanding these terms and how you can become involved is crucial in keeping American voting fair, honest and out of the hands of those who try to usurp our freedoms. Below is a list of Election Day terms and what they mean.
Election Day Management: This is the team within a political party that oversees the groundwork during election day events and gets volunteers prepared for the day months ahead of time through education. They are there to help you if you run into any issues at the polling place or with any unanswered questions.
Poll Watcher: The extent of what a poll watcher can and cannot do is determined state to state. In many states poll watchers are appointed by the state party or candidate committee and must be registered voters of the state and county where they want to watch the election process. The poll watcher’s job is to make sure the election process is being carried out correctly and fairly. They keep account of voter turnout and may give these numbers to the party or candidate of which they are affiliated. They may also watch the canvassing board or any recount. The poll watcher is not to intimidate anyone at the polls, there can be no mention of candidates either verbally or physically and there can be no interruption of election processes by the poll watcher.
Poll Challenger: A poll challenger follows the same benefits and restrictions of a poll watcher, but they have been authorized by their party to challenge any vote that looks to be unqualified or questionable. The poll challenger must have a solid working knowledge of what is acceptable practices of poll workers and what is required of voters in their state. The challenge must be based on fact and not feeling.
Poll Worker: A poll worker are those people who work at the polls to assist voters on Election Day. Education is provided by the state and carried out by the County Clerk. There are usually an equal number of Republican and Democrat workers. There are certain things that election workers sign as a representative of the big two parties, the polling tape that comes out of the voting machine and the poll book are two of those things. Poll workers also make sure the votes are tallied correctly and secured for transport to the receiving and canvassing boards.
Out of the three Election Day positions, the Poll Worker has the most influence. They work intimately with the poll books, computers, and other workers. Please take the time to contact your township or city clerk to volunteer to become a poll worker.
If you are interested in Poll Watching or Poll Challenging, education is provided by political parties. Please become involved in a county committee or if there isn’t one in your area, consider starting one.
For more information on Election Day positions or if you would like to start a county committee please contact Mary Sears, USTPM County Development Director, 906-231-7205(call or text)