For additional and last-minute instructions, poll watchers are invited to attend the poll-book dinner
at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, 2016, at Famoore's Family Restaurant, 18 E 1st St, Oil City

What To Bring

  • Poll-watcher certificate.
  • List of voters in election district.
  • Fully charged cell phone and phone book.
  • Pad of paper and pens.
  • Food, snacks, water.
  • Digital camera (if you have one, to record incidents).

Contact Person

  • Cindy Swendsen (374-4041) or Bob Martin (437-2033).

How to Conduct Yourself

  • BE COURTEOUS. Don’t obstruct or make a scene. There will be a heightened level of scrutiny this year. The Democrats have already sued charging that poll watchers for the PA GOP and the Trump campaign will threaten and intimidate minority voters to keep them from voting on election day. It may not happen here, but Democrat operatives may try to instigate confrontations that they can then record on their cell phones. DO NOT ENGAGE. WALK AWAY.
  • If a problem can easily be corrected, then politely, privately, and quietly bring it to the attention of the judge of election.
  • Do not speak with voters or anyone else in the polling place. Take concerns only to the judge of election.
  • If a problem cannot easily be corrected or the judge of election does not correct the problem, call Bob Martin at 437-2033 or the Republican Party Election Day Hotline at 1-877-91-PAGOP or 1-877-917-2467
  • Don’t campaign or advise anyone how to vote.
  • Don’t wear political clothing or pins, and don’t bring any political or campaign materials.
  • Obey all directions given by judge of election. If you disagree with any direction, do not argue, but call as described above.

When To Be There

From 6:30 a.m. (for swearing in of election officials) until after 8 p.m. (when polls close and votes are canvassed). Poll watchers may also be assigned to work different shifts throughout the day.

Department of State Poll Worker Training

This video training is for poll workers, not poll watchers, but will give you a good idea of what to expect and watch for: 

Polling Place

  • Single room, every part visible to everyone in the room.
  • Suitable heat and light.
  • Machines must be in full view of the room, surrounded by at minimum six foot space that only voting voter and election officials may enter.

Who Can Be in Polling Place

  • Election officials (judge, majority and minority inspectors, machine operators, clerks).
  • One poll watcher per political party and one poll watcher per candidate.
  • Voters waiting in line to vote or in the process of voting.
  • Police or peace officers only if called in by judge of election to preserve the peace.
  • Persons lawfully assisting others to vote.
  • Nobody within ten feet of polling place can campaign or display campaign materials. Only voters voting or waiting to vote may wear partisan material in the polling place.

Voter Qualifications and Challenges
(25 P.S. §§ 2811 & 3050(d))

  • At least 18 years old.
  • US Citizen for at least 1 month.
  • Pennsylvania resident for at least 90 days.
  • Resident of election district for at least 30 days.
  • In Republican primary, must appear on district register as member of Republican party.

A person who moved out of the district within 30 days before the election may still vote in the district if he or she was qualified to vote in the district before moving out and is still a resident of Pennsylvania.

A poll watcher may challenge only a voter’s identity or continued residency in the district. Do not do this except for good cause. But if you have good cause, then speak up.

If challenged, the voter must produce at least one other qualified voter from the election district, who must make an affidavit of the challenged voter’s identity or continued residence in the district. (A poll watcher may also challenge the witness’s identity and residency in the district.) See 25 P.S. § 3050(e).

There is no $10.00 fee for challenging a voter's identity or residency. The $10.00 fee applies only to challenges to (i) absentee ballots and (ii) applications for absentee ballots. The fee is refundable if the challenge is sustained or withdrawn within five (5) days after the election.  25 P.S. § 3146.8(f).

Other Voting Procedures

  • Polls open at 7:00 a.m.
  • Voter presents self and signs in. Election worker determines whether signatures match.
  • Election officer announces voter’s name loud enough for watchers to hear.
  • ID may be requested but is not required unless voter has not voted in precinct before. If voter has no ID, or voter’s identity is challenged by judge of elections, voter may cast provisional ballot.
  • Poll watchers may inspect voting list when no voters are waiting or voting in the polling place.
  • Polls close at 8:00 p.m.
  • Voters waiting in line inside or outside the polling place when the polls close may still vote.