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Pollwatcher Toolkit

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Coalition for Voting Integrity presents the following pollwatcher toolkit,designed for use with touchscreen machines in Pennsylvania but can be adapted and expanded for other states and optical scanners. See our website Home Page for this information also.

There are four parts to pollwatcher toolkit.
 They should be placed in the following order:

1. Suggested letter to Comimtteepersons and Pollwatchers
2. Pollwatcher guidelines
3. Pollwathchers check list
4. Pollwatcher extra comment page.

Scroll down to see the printout of items #1 (suggested letter )and #2 (pollwatcher guidelines). However I cannot print out the Excel item #3( the checklist) and #4 (comment page). See Home Page for these items.

The checklist is the material that the pollwatchers need to become most familiar with.The checklist consists of items #1-8 on the Guideilnes: with slots for Time of Day, Describe Problem, How was it resolved? Pollwatcher's Name.
Pollwatchers may be overwhelmed by the detail of the one page guideline, but guideline should be available for way of explanation when they have questions. Guideline also tells pollwatchers who to contact if problems.

One toolkit should be distributed to each precinct. You should print out enough checklists for all shifts, though you only need one guideline for all watchers to share.

 Enclose a  stamped, self addressed oversized envelope for checklist results to be addressed to your local election integrity group (or you may pre-address the envelopes to Coalition for Voting Integrity P.O. Box 536, Doyletown, Pa. 18901).

 Please contact me if you need financial assistance with expenses of printing, supplies or stamps for this Election Day nonpartisan project.

If you have suggestions for changes or  improvements, such comments are welcomed.
Feedback as to whether you found this toolkit helpful would also be welcomed.

Ruth Matheny

Item 1 in pollwatcher's kit:SUGGESTED LETTER AND PROTOCOL FOR ELECTION INTEGRITY GROUPS , LOCAL POLLWATCHERS AND COMMITTEEPERSONS: _____________________________________________________________' To Pollwatchers and Committeepersons: Enclosed are simple tools to help monitor this Election November 4, 2008 1.      POLLWATCHER GUIDELINES: This needs to be shared by all shifts on Election Day. Do not remove guideline from Polling Room. Use this guideline to fill out the pollwatcher checklists 2.      POLLWATCHER CHECKLIST   6 double sided checklists per day recommended  3.      EXTRA COMMENT PAGES: 3-6 double sided extra comment copies suggested.    At end of Election Day, Committee person or designated pollwatcher should use the enclosed self addressed stamped yellow envelope to return all completed materials, for the entire day, to: _________________________________(fill in the name of the local group monitoring your election in your County.) Thank you for your assistance. You can be proud to participate in a one of kind effort by pollwatchers to protect our vote. Your help is invaluable in this nonpartisan effort.  Name, Address and phone number  of Sponsoring election integrity group
Item 2 in Pollwatcher Kit.. As in the attachment: this information should be able to be formatted to print out to one sheet of paper exactly HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE POLL WATCHER: A POLLWATCHER GUIDELINE designed for Counties with touchscreens: Additional guidelines may be needed for optical scanners.  Following are the election integrity pollwatching tasks that need to be done on Election Day to increase accountability and transparency. See  for details                                                  
 Critical items are in bold:  WATCH for electioneering within 10 feet of the polls: No political activity within area of polling room: No distribution or posting of campaign literature or pollworker/ pollwatcher campaign buttons or apparel and no campaign literature left lying on tables are allowed in the polling room or within 10 feet of the polling room. Stay attuned to local Election Protection lawyers &  County govt. for restrictions to voters' political apparel or buttons, considered electioneering at times. WATCH FOR CONSISTENCY between numbered lists of voters vs. machine counts as the day progresses. The numbers should match identically.

WATCH FOR FLEEING VOTERS and catch them before they leave the polling room. Those voters need to be asked to come back and press the vote button to finalize their voting choices.

WATCH FOR MALFUNCTIONING MACHINES (votes that are switching, fading, etc.).

WATCH FOR ANY MACHINE THAT DOESN'T WORK, for however short a time.

WATCH FOR LONG LINES: Are voters complaining that lines are long?

WATCH FOR APPROPRIATE USE OF EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOTS:  If a voting machine is inoperable, and not repairable or replaceable, then emergency paper ballots may be used, per Pennsylvania law.  If all of a precinct's voting machines malfunction, then emergency paper ballots MUST be used, per new State of Pennsylvania Directive.
WATCH how voter situations are handled when names are not in the poll book (sign in book for voters). The Judge of Elections should be expected to call the Board of Elections for advice on any unresolved questions (for example, to find out if a voter needs to go to another polling place). Watchers should know that Judges are REQUIRED to call the County Board of Elections regarding the use of provisional ballots. These are used when neither the Judge nor the Board of Elections can determine the registration.
Before polling place opens:Watch for chain of custody. Where were the voting machines stored prior to election day? Were they in a locked location? After polls close:WATCH that absentee ballots are processed according to procedure, preserving privacy.
WATCH to be sure the machine tape results match the recorded results on the canvas report.

Pollwatching encourages transparency in the voting process and promotes citizen ownership of our elections. If there are vigilant and knowledgeable pollwatchers in the polling room throughout the day, we will have a better chance of catching problems early. When pollwatchers see problems, you should tell your Judge of Elections and committee people and local election protection lawyers. You will be told, as a pollwatcher, how to contact election protection lawyers. Call the nonpartisan Coalition for Voting Integrity hotline: 215-589-1930 and we will call national hotline: 1-866-OUR""VOTE for you. Trust your instincts - call if you see anything unusual. Fill out enclosed pollwatcher checklist. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Item 3 in Kit is Excel generic Pollwatcher checklist .See website Home Page for this information.


Item 4  is  Excel Pollwatcher Checklist and Extra Comments:  See website Home Page for this information .


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Ruth is the co-founder with Mary Ann Gould of the, a nonpartisan organization headquartered in historic Bucks County, serving all of Pennsylvania. We call on Americans of all parties to join together and support the (more...)
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