Serving As Poll Watcher: You Too Can Help Prevent Voter Fraud

Believe it or not, the question of whether voter fraud is a serious concern is debated not just between the political left and the political right. It’s also a controversy among Republicans and conservatives. What’s not in doubt is that there is plenty of anecdotal and factual evidence out there for everyone to consider.

First, just one anecdote. Inside sources tell me that many Republicans on the ground are convinced that Mike Bost would not have won the general election last year to represent his neighbors in the U.S. House of Representative had it not been for the citizens who stood up to serve as both Election Judges and Poll Watchers throughout the precincts in that southern Illinois congressional district.

Voter fraud was suspected in past elections — and it was expected last year as well. Then on Election Day November 2014, it was not uncommon for a person to be seen entering a polling place, only to see the presence of Poll Watchers and decide against trying to “vote.”

Second, here are five articles from The Daily Signal just this year that cover some of the non-anecdotal evidence that’s available:

Don’t Believe Voter Fraud Happens? Here’s Some Examples

There Are Nearly 300 Cases of Voter Fraud in America

Don’t Think Voter Fraud Happens? Here Are 5 Cases From 2015 That Will Make You Think Again

From Sea to Shining Sea: 5 Examples of Voter Fraud across America

4 More Cases of Voter Fraud in America

I would encourage you to not only read the articles, but also to spend time following the links within them to learn more. Well known journalist John Fund has written two books on the topic, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, and Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk. You can read an article about the second book here: No Voting Fraud? Not so, Says John Fund at AIM Conference. Also, watch the two related videos below from Accuracy in Media.

Based on the evidence, it is my view that election fraud exists. There are many, many stories from America’s long history that back it up — and as the above articles show, you don’t have to go back far into history to find examples.

We all know that laws regarding requiring a photo i.d. are controversial. A less well known fact is that there is still a lack of aggressive investigation into, and prosecution of, many suspected cases of Election Day shenanigans.

There are two huge roles to be played one Election Day that, unfortunately, too few people are aware of: serving as a Poll Watcher and serving as an Election Judge. In this article, let’s take a look at the Poll Watcher. Here is the paragraph describing the position at the Illinois State Board of Elections website:

Candidates, political parties, qualified organization of citizens, organized proponents and opponents of a ballot proposition, and State nonpartisan civic organizations may appoint pollwatchers. The pollwatchers’ role is established by law. Pollwatchers sometimes referred to as challengers, checkers or simply watchers, are election observers who aid in ensuring the free and fair conduct of elections. Pollwatchers may be in the polling place before the polls open, during the actual voting hours, and after the polls close.

You many have noticed people hanging around the polling place on election day. They’re not seated behind the tables looking for your registration but instead seem to hover — often with a clipboard in hand. There’s a good chance that those individuals have been sent by candidates, the local parties, or other “qualified organizations” to keep an eye on things.

One not need be a cop or a lawyer, candidate or elected official to serve as a Poll Watcher. You only need to be properly credentialed — and one of the more common ways is through your local Republican Party organization.

Smart and well organized campaigns man the polling places with Poll Watchers. When this task is overlooked, the consequences are often fatal. It’s not just keeping an eye open for funny business, but also to keep track of who has voted and who hasn’t. Late afternoon and evening Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts are much more effective when Poll Watchers can report back to campaign HQ who hasn’t voted yet.

Here are more of the basics from the State Board of Elections website page describing the roll of the Poll Watcher put into bullet points:

  • All pollwatchers must be registered to vote in the State of Illinois and must possess valid credentials.
  • Every pollwatcher must surrender his credentials to the judges when he/she enters the polling place.
  • Before the polls open, pollwatchers may observe the set-up procedures and check that the ballot box is empty.
  • They may observe the judges as they compare the official ballot with the specimen ballot for that precinct.

That last bullet point might seem crazy, but errors occur, whether through malice or incompetence.

A few more:

  • During the day pollwatchers have a right to be near enough to the judges to visually examine the voter’s ballot application to compare the signature on the application with that on the signature verification record, and to observe the judge initialing the ballots.
  • They may also watch the ballots being deposited into the ballot box and observe the general conduct of the election.
  • Pollwatchers shall be permitted to observe all proceedings and view all reasonably requested records relating to the conduct of the election, provided the secrecy of the ballot is not impinged.
  • Pollwatchers present at the close of the polls may observe the counting and tallying procedures and remain in the polling place until all procedures are completed. While they may not interfere in any way with such procedures, they may call to the attention of the election judges any violations of election laws.

Yes, it makes for a long day — and the responsibilities are substantial. And while it is a volunteer position (unlike the job of Election Judge), you do have the liberty to come and go from the polling place. To learn more, read A Guide for Pollwatchers.

Maintaining our Democratic Republic takes a lot of work — and we all know that both our government and the political arena are in much need of repair. While it might be an obvious statement, neither will occur without more honest people stepping into the fray to help keep things like Election Day honest.

Next time, let’s take a quick look at the all important roll of serving as an Election Judge.

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Here is the introduction used for each of the two videos posted at YouTube:

John Fund, National Affairs columnist for National Review magazine and expert on voter fraud and the American election process; also the co-author of the book, Who’s Counting?

First published at Illinois Family Action