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Pollworkers for Democracy

Pollworkers, please print out the following documents and have them with you when you go to the polls to do poll watching or as a NY election inspector:

Election Day Instructions [~22kb PDF]

Checklist for Election Procedures [~40kb PDF]

Checklist for Special Situations at the Polls [~28kb PDF]

Incident Report Form (short version) [~30kb PDF]

NYVV is coordinating the New York State Pollworkers for Democracy effort. This is a coordinated national campaign to establish citizen monitoring of our elections. We’re asking citizens around the nation to sign up with their county boards of elections as poll workers and inspectors. If you’d like to help out, you must first register at the Pollworkers for Democracy website as the first step.

New York State has very restrictive rules for poll workers (called election inspectors and election clerks). Only registered Democrats and Republicans can be poll workers. Poll workers get paid for their time at the polls and during the required annual training. They must be approved by the county party chair and can only work within their home county. But this arrangement leaves all other registered voters out.

However, other voters can volunteer as poll watchers. Any person or group with a candidate or resolution on the ballot can have up to 3 poll watchers per polling place. Poll watchers do not need to belong to any particular party, but can also only work in their home counties.

Even if you are already an election inspector or election clerk, you should register with Pollworkers for Democracy.  They will provide training, support, and an online Election Incident Reporting System for you to report any problems you observe during the election.

If you are not already working the polls, sign up with Pollworkers for Democracy and then email us  P4D@nyvv.org about working as a poll watcher. We will be organizing poll watchers including those who are not registered Democrats or Republicans. To find out how to be certified as a poll watcher in your county, send an email to P4D@nyvv.org.

Every pollwatcher must have a pollwatching certificate signed by the candidate or the party they are pollwatching for. If you have been contacted by your P4D county coordinator, you will be given this certificate after you attend the local pollwatcher training [NB: http://volunteerforchange.org/community/front/3 is no longer a valid link]. In counties where too few people signed up to warrant a county coordinator pollwatchers should send email to volunteer@voterachel.org with "pollwatching certificate" in the subject line. A generic, unsigned pollwatching certificate is also provided here, as a nominal 110kb PDF:POLL WATCHER'S CERTIFICATE. You can download it and have it signed by the party or candidate of your choice.

The pollwatcher certificate you will receive via email is signed electronically by the candidate. In case you are questioned about the legality of this signature, please download and print the document "Electronic Signatures" [~8kb PDF] and carry it with your pollwatcher certificate. If you have trouble obtaining your pollwatcher certificate, send email to P4D@nyvv.org.

Please listen to an MP3 version of the training call if you have not participated in one of the live training calls [http://pollworkersfordemocracy.org/training.html]. If you missed the training calls (and even if you didn't!), please go to the Pollworkers for Democracy [http://www.pollworkersfordemocracy.org/pollworker_info.html] website and check out the extensive list of materials that may be useful in your pollwatching effort.

A reminder: Much of this material has been written to help with pollwatching efforts on new electronic voting equipment, which will not be used in NY State this year. But we hope that many of you will be on board for next year, when we, too, will be dealing with new equipment.

Monitoring the 2006 Election in New York State

In 2006, most of New York State will still be voting on the lever machines, although every county will have one or more ballot markers for accessible voting. We need people in all counties to watch the first extensive use of the ballot markers in this state.

Saratoga County Poll Watching Effort
There are already a small number of electronic touch screen machines (DREs) in use in New York, primarily in Saratoga County. These paperless DREs have been used for several years but never monitored, so this year our main poll watching effort will be focused on these DREs. Citizens from Saratoga County are needed as volunteers. Send an email to P4D@nyvv.org to let us know if you can help monitor New York’s DREs.

Poll watcher information published by the NY State Board of Elections

A Poll Watcher is a representative of a candidate, political party or independent group who observes the election to confirm its fairness and get early unofficial results. Each poll watcher must present to the inspector a watcher's certificate issued by a candidate or the chairperson or secretary of a political committee or independent body whose candidates are on the ballot. Only three watchers per candidate or organization may be present at an ED at one time. Only one of these watchers may be within the ED "guard rail" (three feet from the inspectors' table).

Candidates and poll watchers may:

  • Arrive at the poll site at 5:45 am to witness the opening of the polls and/or examine the ballot box.
  • Examine the machine when it is not in use.
  • Challenge voters.
  • Be given information about who has voted, if the inspectors are keeping a list.
  • Attend the canvass and tally at the end of the day.

Candidates and poll watchers may not:

  • Electioneer within a 100 feet radius of the entrance to your site.
  • Disrupt proceedings.
  • Participate in any manner in the conduct of the election.

Federal Observers and others:

Federal observers from the Department of Justice may visit your site to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Please note that these observers may, with the permission of the voter, accompany a voter and Interpreter into the voting booth to observe the manner in which the poll worker interprets for the voter.

There may also be observers from the Board of Elections, city and state agencies or monitors from community organizations. You are expected to cooperate in a courteous manner with all visitors who have proper identification.

Checklist for Election Procedures [~40kb PDF]

Checklist for Special Situations at the Polls [~28kb PDF]

Incident Report Form [~47kb PDF]

Incident Report Form (short version) [~30kb PDF]

Please Join Us!
We need everyone to help out on Election Day as a poll worker or poll watcher.

This is the start of a new national movement to have true citizen oversight of our elections. Democracy needs you.

New Yorkers for Verified Voting
Email – P4D@nyvv.org

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