Poll Watcher FAQ
- Who can be a Watcher?
- What is required to be a Watcher?
- What items are not permitted in the polling place?
- What documents can Watchers review?
- What processes can Watchers observe?
- What Poll Watcher conduct is expected?
- Who can appoint Poll Watchers?
Who can be a Watcher?
“Watcher” shall mean an eligible elector other than a candidate on the ballot who has been selected by a political party chairperson on behalf of the political party, by a party candidate at a primary election, by an unaffiliated candidate at a general, congressional vacancy or nonpartisan election or by a person designated by either the opponents/proponents in the case of a ballot issue or ballot question. If selected by a political party chairperson, a party candidate, or an unaffiliated candidate, the watcher must be affiliated with that political party or unaffiliated as shown on the registration books of the County Clerk and Recorder.
Political party attorneys are not permitted in the polling place unless they are duly appointed as watchers.
What is required to be a Watcher?
Watchers shall certify they are qualified pursuant to the Colorado Revised Statutes. Watchers shall take an oath and shall, upon first entering the precinct place or location, surrender to the election official or election judges a certificate of appointment at each precinct polling place or location where the watcher has been designated to act.
If a watcher leaves a precinct and the same watcher returns later in the day to the same precinct, another certificate of appointment is not necessary and shall not be required. The original certificate of appointment will suffice.
If a watcher is replaced during the day, the watcher replacing the original watcher must have an original certificate of appointment for that precinct.
The Certificate of Appointment as a watcher is not transferable to another individual.
What documents can Watchers review?
To assist Watchers in performing their tasks, the election official or election judge shall provide a list, log, check-in card, or other similar information of voters who have appeared in the precinct polling place to vote. The information or documents shall not be removed from the polling place or voting location. Watchers may maintain a list of eligible electors who have voted by utilizing only that information provided by the election official or election judge, except that they may bring with them into the polling place or location a list of electors previously obtained by the Watcher.
What processes can Watchers observe?
Duly appointed Watchers may observe polling place voting, early voting and the processing and counting of precinct, provisional, mail, and absentee ballots. For mail ballot elections, or absentee processing, watchers may be present at each stage of the election including the receiving and bundling of the ballots received by the designated election official. Watchers may be present during provisional ballot processing but may not have access to confidential voter information.
What Poll Watcher conduct is expected?
Duly appointed Watchers may observe election judges but may not interrupt or disrupt the processing, verification, and counting of any ballots or any other stage of the election. Watchers may track the names of electors who have cast ballots by utilizing their previously obtained lists, but may not write down any ballot numbers or any other identifying information about the electors. Watchers may not handle the poll books, official signature cards, ballots, mail ballot envelopes, absentee ballot envelopes or provisional ballot envelopes, voting or counting machines or machine components. Watchers shall not interfere with the orderly process and conduct of any election, including ballot issuance, receiving of ballots, voting or counting of the ballots. Watchers may not be allowed to interact with election officials or election judges, except that each designated election official shall name at least one individual in each precinct polling place or election location to whom Watchers may direct questions or from whom watchers may seek requested information.
Who can appoint Watchers?
Major and minor political parties with candidates on the ballot may appoint one Watcher each to be present to observe polling place voting, early voting, and the processing and counting of regular, provisional, mail and absentee ballots.