Skip to comments.Texas Poll Watcher's Guide (PDF vanity)
Posted on 10/27/2008 5:52:54 AM PDT by uncommonsense
Good overall reference, but pertains to Tx laws.
Q. What illegal activities should a watcher look for?
A. The election judge may be notified of any activity that appears to be prohibited by law. If any of the following activities occurs, bring it to the election judge’s attention and note the individual(s) involved, including time and place of occurrence, if possible:
1. Election workers allowing voters who do not have a current voter registration certificate to vote without providing proof of identification. If a voter does not have his or her voter registration certificate, Texas law requires that he or she provide one of the following forms of identification:
(a) a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety or similar documents from other states;
(b) a form of identification containing a photograph that establishes a person’s identity (such as an employee identification card);
(c) a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes a person’s identity;
(d) United States citizenship papers;
(e) a United States passport;
(f) official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental agency;
(g) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter; or
(h) any other form of identification presented by the Secretary of State’s office.
2. Electioneering and loitering within 100 feet of the entrance of the building in which a polling place is located. [Sec. 61.003]. Examples of electioneering include, but are not limited to, the following:
• wearing a badge, insignia, emblem, or other item relating to a candidate or a measure. [Sec. 61.010(a)].
• unauthorized posting of signs, posters or other similar items. [Sec. 62.013]
• unlawful operation of a sound amplification device or soundtruck used for campaigning purposes within 1,000 feet of a building in which a polling place is located. [Sec. 61.004]
NOTE: A candidate in an election commits a Class C misdemeanor if he or she is in the polling place for a purpose other than (1) voting or (2) official business in the building in which the polling place is located; however, a candidate may assist a voter without violating this section. [Sec. 61.001(b)]
EXCEPTION: It is a defense to prosecution under Section 61.001(b) if the candidate is (1) not in plain view of persons in the voting area or the area where voters are being qualified and (2) not engaged in campaign activity. [Sec. 61.001(c)].
3. Bribing voters [Sec. 36.02, Penal Code];
4. Unlawfully influencing voters [Sec. 61.008];
5. Coercing voters [Sec. 36.03, Penal Code];
6. Unlawfully telling another person information that was obtained at the polling place about how a voter has voted [Sec. 61.006];
7. Unlawfully giving information about the status of the vote count or the names of people who have voted before the polls close [Sec. 61.007];
8. Tampering with voting equipment [Sec. 127.127];
9. Voting illegally [Sec. 64.012];
10. Unlawfully removing ballots from ballot box [Sec. 276.003];
11. Harassing the election officials [Sec. 32.075];
12. Unlawfully assisting voters [Sec. 64.036];
13. Unlawfully accepting or refusing to accept voters [Sec. 63.012];
14. Using a wireless communication device within 100 feet of polling place [Secs. 33.052(b) and 62.011];
15. Interfering with the voting process; and
16. Violating any other Texas election laws.
Persons allowed in the polling place:
Q. Who is allowed inside the polling place?
A. 1. Election judge and clerks. [Secs. 32.071 & 32.072].
2. Poll watchers and Secretary of State inspectors. [Secs. 33.052 & 34.002].
3. Persons admitted to vote. [Sec. 63.001].
4. Children under 18 years old who are accompanying a parent who is admitted to vote. [Sec. 64.002(b)].
5. Persons providing assistance to or interpreting for a voter who is entitled to assistance or to an interpreter. [Secs. 61.032 & 64.032; 42 U.S.C. 197aa-6].
6. Federal inspectors appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
7. Persons summoned or appointed by the presiding election judge to act as special peace officers to preserve order. [Sec. 32.075].
Individuals who claim to be registered but whose names do not appear on the voter registration list or voters who are unable to produce their certificate or another form of required identification at the polling place are required to vote provisionally. Provisional ballots are not counted until the voter registrar and early voting ballot board verify the voter's eligibility. The affidavit which provisional voters must sign also acts as a voter registration application, ensuring that individuals, who are not on the list of registered voters, are registered for future elections.
Q. Who is eligible to cast a provisional ballot?
A. The following individuals are eligible to cast a provisional ballot:
• An individual who claims to be properly registered and eligible to vote, but whose name does not appear on the list of registered voters and voter registrar cannot be reached or whose registration status cannot be confirmed by the voter registrar; or
• An individual who is not on the list and did not provide a certificate or other form of identification; or
• An individual who is registered to vote, but is trying to vote in a precinct other than the precinct where the voter is registered (on election day); or
• An individual who does not have his/her voter registration certificate and no form of identification; or
• An individual who has applied for a ballot by mail but has not returned the ballot or cancelled the ballot by mail with the early voting clerk; or
• An individual who is voting after 7:00 p.m. due to court order which extended voting hours; or
• An individual who is registered in the precinct but whose registered address is not located in the political subdivision conducting the election; or
• An individual who is attempting to vote in a primary election but has already participated in another party primary in the same election year.
Q. Who makes the determination if an individual is qualified to vote provisionally?
A. The election judge at the precinct makes that determination. If a voter is eligible to cast a provisional ballot, then the election judge immediately informs the voter of that right. In order to vote provisionally, the voter must complete and sign an "Affidavit of Provisional Voter," a form which will also serve as a voter registration application in the event the voter is not registered or as an update to the voter's registration record in the event the information is different.
Q. Are there cases when a provisional ballot will not be counted? When is a voter notified?
A. While a provisional voter may be allowed to vote at the polling place, there are certain circumstances in which they will immediately be informed that their ballot will not be counted. For example, the election judge will notify the voter that their ballot will not be counted if:
• the ballot is cast at a precinct in which the voter is not registered (regardless of whether the voter is registered in another precinct in same political subdivision); or
• if the voter is required to present identification because of an “ID” notation next to their name but does not; [examples of acceptable forms of identification include: a driver's license or state-issued ID card, birth certificate, passport, copy of current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck]; or
• the voter is attempting to vote in a primary election but has already voted in the other party’s primary election.
Q. If a voter applied for a ballot by mail, may he vote provisionally at the election day precinct polling place without returning the mail ballot to the election judge?
A. Yes. A voter who appears on the list of registered voters as having applied for and/or received a ballot by mail may go to the polling place and vote. If the voter does not have the ballot to return to the judge, he will have to vote a provisional ballot. If the mail ballot does not arrive at the ballot board before the provisional ballot, the provisional ballot will be counted. If the mail ballot does arrive at the ballot board before the provisional ballot, the mail ballot will be counted.
Q. How are provisional ballots reviewed and handled?
A. At the polling place, the election judge provides the provisional voter written notice informing the voter that they will be notified within 10 days after the local canvass as to whether or not their ballot was counted and, if not, why it was not counted. The notice also includes instructions and additional details regarding the provisional voting process.
Q. How is the secrecy of the ballot preserved?
A. The voter places the voted provisional ballot in a plain white secrecy envelope which in turn is placed inside the Provisional Affidavit Ballot Envelope. Provisional ballots are placed either in the general ballot box or in another designated, secure container until the voter registrar and early voting ballot board complete their review. The transfer and tabulation of these ballots are handled with the same care, secrecy and security as other ballots and voting system equipment. Note: If the voter is casting an electronic provisional ballot, the voter completes the affidavit on the provisional envelope but does not include a ballot.
Q. What is the deadline for reviewing provisional affidavits?
A. The voter registrar has 3 business days to review the voter’s registration record. The early voting ballot board must complete the processing and counting, where applicable, of the provisional ballots by the seventh day after the election. Notice must be delivered to provisional voters regarding whether their ballot was counted, noting a reason, if their ballot was not counted. This notice must be delivered no later than the 10th day after the local canvass.
Using English and interpreters:
All election officials, while on duty at the polling place, must use English, except when helping a voter who does not understand English. [Sec. 61.031(a)].
Q. What is an interpreter and when is one used?
A. 1. If a voter cannot communicate in English, an election official may communicate with the voter in a language the official and the voter understand. [Sec. 61.031(b)].
2. An interpreter may be used when the voter and the election official(s) helping the voter cannot speak the same language. [Sec. 61.032].
17. Upon taking the oath of interpreter, any registered voter of the county may act as an interpreter for one or more voters. [Secs. 61.035 & 61.033].
4. The interpreter may be a person provided by the authority conducting the election. However, even if an interpreter is provided, a voter may use his own interpreter. [Sec. 61.032].
5. A watcher may request and receive an English translation of anything spoken in a language other than English by a voter or by an election official. [Sec. 61.036].
Casting the ballot:
Q. If voters make a mistake marking their ballot, can they start over?
A. Yes. Voters who make mistakes while marking their paper or optical scan ballots may take the spoiled ballot to an election official and exchange it for a new ballot. A voter may only
receive up to two replacement ballots (the original ballot, plus two replacement ballots yields a total of three possible ballots per voter). [Sec. 64.007(a) & (b)].
Q: If a voter is voting provisionally on paper or optical scan ballot, do they use the same type of ballot as a regular voter?
A: Yes, but the election officials may have a few ballots pre-stamped “provisional” in a separate stack from regular ballots. The following steps must occur:
(1) the voter votes the ballot;
(2) seals the ballot in the privacy envelope;
(3) seals the privacy envelope in the provisional ballot affidavit envelope; and
(4) casts the ballot in the regular ballot box or other designated secured container as directed by the election officials.
NOTE: Some electronic voting systems allow the voter to cast a provisional ballot directly on the machine.
Q. If a voter leaves a voted ballot in the voting station or elsewhere in the polling place rather than putting it in the ballot box, or if a voter voting on an electronic voting system leaves without finally casting his or her ballot, is the ballot counted?
A. No. The ballot cast by a “fleeing” voter is not cast. The judge should treat it as a cancelled ballot. [65.010(a)(4)] On an electronic voting system, the ballot is cancelled.
As a poll watcher, you are entitled to observe the conduct of the election at the location to which you are assigned. Please remember, however, that the election judge is in charge of the polling place and the central counting station and the presiding judge of the early voting ballot board is in charge of the early voting ballot board meetings. These officers are responsible for maintaining control and order. You should establish a cooperative relationship with these presiding officers and work with them to ensure that the voting process works smoothly.
If any questions arise during your service that the election judge cannot answer or you question the accuracy of the information provided, you may call the Elections Division at our toll-free number, 1-800-252-VOTE(8683). The Elections Division is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and during all uniform election dates from before the polls open until after they close. If you desire to learn more about the election process, please call our office to request one of our handbooks for election day officials and the early voting ballot board. You may also wish to review our online poll worker training at www.texaspollworkertraining.com.
Fabulous, Thanks for this! I went to a Poll Watchers class on Saturday and it STUNK, the guy could not teach how to get out of a car.
I asked questions and he could not answer.
Thanks - TAB
bumb for Texas Polling
Thanks for posting this.
Can you find anything about the use of cameras — either inside or outside voting locations?
Cameras and recording devices are ILLEGAL within the polling place in Texas. For tips on how to prevent vote fraud see my short treatise: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1991953/posts Also see my posts going back to the 1996 election on vote fraud.
Quite a bit of info on rules, intimidation (including cameras, video, etc.):
Freepers say use a camera:
A Pub poll watcher had a Kerry Lawyer shove a video in his face:
"Then his assistant whipped out a video camera and shoved it in my face. (Im guessing Democrat lawyers are in some cave somewhere analyzing the video today trying to figure out how they can allege something against me to somehow make up for a resounding defeat of their candidate - good luck, guys) This guy stood in front of the polling place videotaping for 10 minutes. This is a tactic the Democrats allege Republicans do to intimidate voters. Of course, it came as no surprise to me that a Democrat would do the very act he accused Republicans of."
Typical Rat fraud witnessed:
For poll watchers, why not set up a private Twitter group that's set to share amongst a controlled group of watchers, McCain campaign officials and other authorities. Twitter allows broadcasting 140 characters of text to a group of "friends". Then, everyone can alert others on incidents they see in real time, ask for assistance, etc. and have a consolidated electronic audit trail of the whole event. This list can reveal patterns of abuse, warn others of roving vans of people voting multiple times, and keep track of other common issues.
Have everyone set up a new, private Twitter account that is routed to your cell phone so you can use text messaging. You can use a browser too if that works better. Go to http://twitter.com and set up a new account, then only share it with your poll watchers and trusted officials that need to be in the loop. Have your Twitter pseudonym list with you at the poll, phone numbers of officials, etc.
In Texas, they would have to step outside the 100 foot perimeter to use the cell phone.
You cannot have any electronic devices running in a Texas polling place. Only the Election Judge gets to have a cell phone which is to be used for checking on registrations. I hate to tell you this, but I have not seen even ONE Poll Watcher. Furthermore, I have not seen a Republican Alternate Election Judge in any polling place in Houston. Every polling place appears to be run EXCLUSIVELY by democrat volunteers. This is why conservatism and the Republican Party are in such sad shape. Where the hell are our people? Do we really have to edure four years of Obama to get motivated? See my post. IF YOU ARE NOT THERE YOU CANNOT STOP THE VOTE FRAUD. BTW, this year I am camping out near polling places watching for vans and buses with my telephoto videocam. If I catch any, you will be the first to know.
Can someone just show up and watch without some “official” designation?
To be present at a polling place, you would have to be there in an "official" capacity if you are not voting or there with a voter. See above "Who is allowed inside the polling place?"
To be a poll watcher, you need to obtain a Certificate of Appointment from your County Party or a candidate. Where do you live? In Harris County, for instance, there is a greater need for alternate judges and clerks to work in highly Democrat precincts than for poll watchers, which is a more passive activity. FReepmail me if you want more information.
Nope, but its easy to become a Poll Watcher in Texas. Just contact a candidate running for an office in that precinct. It could be a Congressional seat, Senate, state office, constable, etc. The candidate signs a form designating you as a Poll Watcher. Show up before 0630. Bring a thermos of coffee, a lunch, donuts for all, the phone numbers of the Secretary of State’s office, a cell phone, and a SMILE. Be friendly and follow all the rules. I used a clipboard to take notes and record fishy stuff like the names of people who tried to vote with out-of-state driver’s licenses. Its a lot harder for them to commit fraud with you taking notes.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.