Marion County poll watcher rules

Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox describes a sample of a poll watcher id in his office at the Marion County Election Center in Ocala, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Wilcox said that he has poll watchers wear the id to avoid voters from misidentifying them as election workers. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

State law and local regulations govern what poll watchers can and cannot do on Election Day. Here is a list of rules posted on the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website.

  • Poll watchers shall produce identification to the precinct clerk upon entering the polling place (this information will be verified against a list of designated poll watchers compiled prior to Election Day).
  • The Supervisor of Elections shall provide to each designated poll watcher a poll watcher identification badge that identifies the poll watcher by name.
  • Poll watchers must wear the ID badge while in the polling room or early voting area.
  • Each political party, candidate, and political committee is permitted to have ONE poll watcher at a time in each polling room or early voting area.
  • Poll watchers shall not obstruct the orderly conduct of the election.
  • Poll watchers may not talk to voters while in the polling place or within 150 ft. of the polling place.
  • Poll watchers may not interfere in conversations between election workers and voters.
  • Poll watchers shall direct any questions/concerns to the precinct clerk.
  • Poll watchers shall direct any voter challenges to the precinct clerk.
  • Poll watchers are permitted within the polling room to observe the conduct of voters and election workers; however, the election worker staff may designate a location for the poll watchers that will not interfere with voter processing. This designation may be based on site constraints and other space limitations.
  • Election workers are NOT required to call out a voter’s name.
  • Poll watchers may not stand so close that the voter feels his/her ballot secrecy is compromised.
  • Poll watchers are required to furnish their own materials and necessities.
  • Candidates cannot be poll watchers, nor can they enter any polling location except to vote.
  • Poll watchers may not touch any voting equipment or materials, e.g. ballot scanner.
  • The use of cell phones, cameras, tape recorders, and all other audio/visual recording devices are prohibited in the polling room.  The device must be set so as to produce no noise or a low volume vibration.  One must exit the polling location to make and receive phone calls.
  • Poll watchers may not wear political advertisements or campaign paraphernalia in the polling place. This includes but is not limited to the following: clothing, campaign buttons, hats, wristbands, badges, and other similar items. (Voters are entitled to wear political advertisements or campaign paraphernalia). Poll watchers may contact the Election Center at 352-620-3290 if they have any questions regarding Florida election laws and/or procedures.
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