Sign up to be a Poll Watcher for the November Election!
Last November South Florida 912 had a 2012 Election Kick-off meeting where the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) described the differing roles of Poll-workers and Poll-watchers and all of us were encouraged to do our part in making the upcoming Elections honest. Now is the time to get involved!
If you were at the meeting, then you recall that poll-workers are the people who perform the various roles at the precinct where you vote. The positions are paid – but minimally so for the 6am-8pm day that they work. Poll-workers are working for the Supervisor of Elections and are doing a public-service. While it’s not clear that the SOE needs additional poll-workers for the November election – you can find more information and apply on the Poll-worker Information page of the SOE Website.
Poll-watchers are observers that can represent any political party, any candidate, and any issue. Technically – there could be a very large number of poll-watchers at each precinct. While ideally there would be a poll-watcher from each party at each precinct – realistically there are not enough volunteers to go around. So generally each of the two major parties place poll-watchers in the polling places they are most concerned about. The poll-watchers are there to ensure fair and honest elections, report problems or incidents both to the precinct clerk and their parties, and work the same hours at their assigned polling location as do the paid poll-workers. Observations include making sure the ballot boxes are empty and the machines zeroed out at the start of the voting day, that the 100′ solicitation-free zone is enforced, that all voters are asked for id, that provisional ballots are used for voters that meet certain conditions, that ballots are counted correctly and that the ballots counted match the machine results, etc. In the case of the Palm Beach County Republican Party – poll-watchers for all of the candidates are trained by the party. I don’t know how the Democrat Party handles their poll-watching assignments or training, but the required information that goes to the SOE is the same.
It is not necessary to be registered as a Republican to poll-watch for a Republican candidate. If you would like to apply, please print-out the pollwatcher application and mail it, fax it or scan and email it to Mark Hoch at the Republican Party of Palm Beach County as specified on the form. All poll-watchers must be trained and also registered with the Supervisor of Elections in order to receive credentials that allow them to serve on Election Day. There will be several training sessions – generally on the weekend or in the evening. Make sure you take a vacation day or clear your calendar for Election Day and sign-up to be a poll-watcher now! Do your part!