Voter Fraud this year is an Extreme Risk
Reposted by Paul Saunders
Oct 13, 2016
Donald J. Trump is really, really worried about voter fraud this year, and thinks his supporters should be, too.
"We have to make sure we're protected. We have to make sure the people of Philadelphia are protected, that the vote counts are 100 percent," Trump told a crowd in Wilkes-Barre recently, reinforcing and amplifying his calls for an all-volunteer force to watch the polls for suspicious activity on Nov. 8.
A not-so-subtle sign-up feature on Trump's website calls on volunteers to help "stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election."
It's not clear how many will answer the call, or how many already have. An email to Trump's campaign containing that very question went unanswered this week.
But state election officials, aware of the heightened interest, have the following advice for anyone considering a poll watching stint this year.
Here's what Wanda Murren, press secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of State, says those prospective poll monitors should know:
* Pennsylvania permits candidates and parties to designate "civilian monitors," or poll watchers who are permitted in the polling place and within 10 feet of the check-in table.
* The Election Code limits the number of appointees and how many can be inside at any given time. The party may designate 3 watchers and candidates may designate 2 watchers per polling place. However, only one party watcher and one watcher per candidate can be inside at any given time. (Link to video for more details).
* Poll workers clearly and audibly announce every voter's name so that the watchers may hear it.
* Poll watchers cannot interact with voters directly. Instead, they must bring prospective challenges to the on-site judge of elections.
* Watchers may be present before the polls open and after the polls close.
* Watchers must be credentialed in advance by the county board of elections, must be designated for a specific candidate or party and must be a registered voter in the county in which they desire to watch.
* Watchers typically sign-on through their political party's local or county chapter.
* Poll watchers must be credentialed by the county in which they are registered to vote.
* Instead of a statewide credentialing process for poll watchers, each county has its own process, Murren explains.
* Independent voters can be poll watchers, but they have to be appointed by a candidate or a party. They can't go in and observe by themselves or on their own behalf.
* Watchers can also be appointed by political bodies who have nominated candidates. This year, that means Green, Libertarian and Constitution.
Anticipating an increase in poll watching activity this year, Murren said the Department of State is issuing guidance to make sure "everyone has a clear understanding of the law, the expectations and what amounts to illegal behavior."
She added, "The Department will not tolerate behavior that has the intent of or effect of disrupting peaceful voting at the polling place."
How to become a poll watcher, and what you can (and can’t) do as one
Poll Watchers - Pennsylvania Department of State – Video 1 minute 40 seconds
Editor's note: Portions of this article first appeared in an Aug. 23, 2016, PennLive post.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include information about Independent voters serving as poll watchers.