Who is at the polls?

Who is at the polls?

What is a poll watcher? graphic

Who voters might meet at the polls?

  • Election/poll workers and Election Judges - County employees trained to work the polls and who CAN interact with voters inside or outside of the polling location. Learn more
  • Poll monitors - Often a non-partisan volunteer who CAN interact with voters (answer questions) 100 ft outside of the polling location
  • Poll greeter - Often a partisan volunteer or candidates who CAN interact with voters (electioneer) 100 ft outside of the polling location
  • Poll watcherAppointee of a candidate, party, or proponents or opponents of a ballot measure who CANNOT interact with the voters

What do you need to know about poll watchers?

  • Are APPOINTED by a candidate, a political party, or proponents or opponents of a measure (specific-purpose political action committees) 
  • MUST wear a form of ID indicating that they are poll watchers.
  • CAN report violations of state laws to the election judge
  • CANNOT talk to voters
  • CANNOT be inside a voting booth
  • CANNOT question the reasonableness of a voter’s impediment to getting a photo ID
  • CANNOT possess a device that records sound or images

Does a poll watcher need a certificate?

  • Yes. A certificate of appointment which includes
    • Name, residence address, and voter registration number of the poll watcher
    • The signature of the person(s) making the appointment
    • The election and the number of the precinct where the poll watcher is to serve
    • An indication of the capacity in which the appointing authority is acting such, as an election on a measure, an identification of the measure (if more than one is to be voted on) and a statement of which side the appointee represents
    • The signature of the poll watcher.

 Who is eligible to be a poll watcher?

  • A watcher must:
    • be a registered voter of the territory (e.g., city, school district) covered by the election and of the county for November general elections for state and county officers (held on even-years), primary elections, or other countywide elections
    • NOT be a candidate for public office in an election held on the day the watcher seeks to serve;
    • NOT hold an elective public office
    • NOT be an employee of an election judge or clerk serving at the same polling place.
    • NOT been finally convicted of an offense in connection with conduct directly attributable to an election
    • NOT be related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to an election judge or clerk serving at that polling place. A watcher may be related to the candidate the watcher is representing. 

Where can I find more information about the rules a poll watcher must follow? 

What is electioneering?

  • Advocating for or against a candidate, measure, or political party.

What is not allowed?

  • Inside the 100 foot zone: Electioneering is prohibited. No one is allowed to wear any item or share handouts, signs, etc which promote a candidate measure or political party.
  • Inside a 1000 feet zone: Megaphones or speakers are prohibited.

What is allowed?

  • Outside the 100-foot zone: Electioneering is allowed. Campaign folks may provide handouts, hold signs, give speeches.

Texas voters have the right to vote free from intimidation

Voter intimidation is illegal and can include:

  • Direct confrontation of voters
  • The use of insulting, offensive, or threatening language
  • The use of raised voices
  • Spreading false information about voter requirements
  • Blocking entry to a polling place
  • Attempting to act as a poll watcher without certification
  • The use or threat of physical force
  • The possession of guns and other weapons, apart from those belonging to peace officers, are prohibited in a polling place

Learn more 

How can I get help?

Election Protection Graphic "866 OURVOTE"

  • 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) English
  • 888-Ve-Y-Vota (839-8682) Spanish
  • 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Tagalog
  • 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) Arabic
  • 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683) American Sign Language (video call)
  • 888-796-VOTE Disability Rights Texas 

Who might you meet at the polls?