Registered Voters as of 08/16/2019

Poll Watcher FAQ

Poll Watcher Questions


What is a poll watcher?

A person may be asked by a candidate or political party to go to a polling place and observe. We call this person a poll watcher. The poll watcher observes the election process to see if any violations of the election laws occur. If such a violation occurs, the poll watcher is to inform the election board of the violation. The election board consists of the poll workers.

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What are the qualifications needed to become a poll watcher?

According to Florida law, it is necessary for a poll watcher to be a registered voter of Palm Beach County . Applications for poll watchers should be obtained through the candidate or party headquarters. Upon execution, and no later than noon on the 14th day prior to an election, applications must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections Office for certification. Either a party official or a candidate must sign each application prior to submitting same to the Supervisor of Elections.

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Who cannot be a poll watcher?

A candidate, sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer or any other law enforcement officer are not allowed to be poll watchers.

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How many poll watchers are allowed at a polling place?

Each political party and each candidate is allowed to have one watcher at each polling place at any one time.

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From whom does the poll watcher get his/her authority?

Upon receiving requests for poll watchers, the Supervisor of Elections shall certify eligible applicants. This is done at least seven (7) days prior to the election. A list of the poll watchers designated and certified will be furnished to each precinct. Certified watchers will receive letters indicating certification and their assigned precinct(s).

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Does the poll watcher need anything?

Poll watchers are responsible for supplying any necessities or materials needed while at the polls, i.e. chairs, tables, writing materials, etc. They cannot use the poll workers' supplies.

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What can't poll watchers do?

The poll watcher should not interfere with or impede the conduct of any election. He/she should come no closer to the official table or the voting booths than is reasonably necessary. Unless there is an observation of questionable nature, the poll watcher is not permitted to speak to the election board or voter.

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What is the main function of a poll watcher?

The main function of a poll watcher is to observe the activities at the polling place.

  1. The first poll watcher of the election day has the right to see that the ballot box is empty before the first ballot is cast.
  2. A poll watcher may observe the distribution of the ballot to the voter and after the voter has voted the depositing of ballot into the ballot box.
  3. If the poll watcher observes what he thinks might be a violation, he/she may question a voter's privilege by stating his/her case to the election board. Remember, the election board consists of the poll workers at that precinct.
  4. The poll watcher may observe the counting of the ballots when the polls close.

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Are there any important points to remember as a poll watcher?

A poll watcher is not allowed to talk to any person in the polling place except when questioning a procedure. No poll watcher may wear anything advertising a candidacy or promoting for or against an issue. Poll watchers are official observers only. They may observe the conduct of the election before, during and after the polls close. All poll watchers must be certified by the Supervisor of Elections Office. The list of certified poll watchers is prepared by the Supervisor of Elections office. The election board is the sole authority in the polling place on election day. No person, except the board, may handle or touch election supplies and materials. If the poll watcher feels that a violation has taken place during an election, the poll watcher must notify the election board. Electioneering, campaigning or solicitation within one hundred (100) feet of the entrance to the polling room is prohibited.

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