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 watcher - Appointee 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?
- In the 2019 Poll Watchers Guide published by the Texas Secretary of State's office.
- Chapter 33 of the election code.
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
How can I get help?
- 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