The integrity of elections is a concern of all citizens, and although poll watchers may represent particular candidates, political parties or specific-purpose political action committees, their main interest is in the conduct of a fair and honest election.
A poll watcher’s role in an election is established by Chapter 33 of the Texas Election Code and is defined as follows:
Poll Watcher – a person appointed to observe the conduct of an election on behalf of:
- a candidate,
- a political party, or
- the proponents or opponents of a measure (specific-purpose political action committees).
A poll watcher must:
- be a registered voter of the territory (e.g., city, school district) covered by the election and of the county for November general elections, primary elections, or other countywide elections; [Sec. 33.031]
- not be a candidate for public office in an election held on the day the watcher seeks to serve; [Sec. 33.032]
- not hold an elective public office; [Sec. 33.034]
- not be an employee of an election judge or clerk serving at the same polling place; [Sec. 33.033]
- not been finally convicted of an offense in connection with conduct directly attributable to an election; [Sec. 33.035] and
- not be related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity (as determined by Tex. Govt. Code, Chapter 573, Subchapter B, Secs. 573.022 – 573.025) to an election judge or clerk serving at that polling place. A watcher may be related to the candidate the watcher is representing. [Sec. 33.033]
Below you will find a Poll Watcher’s Guide, along with forms to appoint a poll watcher by candidate, proposition, and party.