Does My Campaign Need Poll Watchers This Year?
One of your campaign’s most important tools is the use of poll watchers. Poll watchers are individuals that a campaign can choose to send to silently watch and observe election activity on behalf of the candidate. The purpose of poll watchers is to have an independent avenue that checks against irregularities and abuse of the election process or procedures, and to increase transparency. One expected or hopeful result of poll watchers, is to reduce fraud. Poll watchers have the right to be given free access to anywhere election activity is being conducted. This includes a central count room, a ballot board room, a signature check room, or any polling location. They also have the right to follow ballots anywhere they go, so they have the right to be present at any individual or regional drop-off site, or to follow ballots as they are transported from one room or area to another. They do not however, have the right to access any of these locations when there is no activity ongoing at the moment.
As a candidate, this means that your poll watchers are your eyes and ears on the ground throughout your district. These individuals are trained (or should be) to observe that all procedures are being followed, and that no irregular or suspicious activity is taking place that could pose a risk to your candidacy or the election in general. Now, your poll watchers do not have the right to disrupt the activity of voting, and they cannot talk to the voters. If they do speak to a voter or disrupt voting in anyway, they may be asked to leave by the Judge. But so long as they follow the rules in the Texas Election Code, they can observe every single activity from the moment the polling location is set up, all the way to the central counting room when the ballots are finally counted. But how many should you have? Where should you send them? How many can you send to each location? How can you keep track of every rule? Is there a manual? Where can you send your team to get training? It can be overwhelming.
Here at Guest & Gray we understand that campaigns can be difficult. We have experienced election attorneys who have represented countless campaigns at every level from local to federal, in all aspects of the election process. We know how hard you’ve worked and how stressful it can be to put yourself out there and run for office. We want you to be prepared. Let us help you prepared your team. We offer poll watcher training, and complaint support during early voting and election day. We have experience dealing with election procedural hiccups, irregularities, and malfeasance. Call Guest & Gray and make sure your team is prepared.