Following President Donald Trump’s comments urging supporters to go to the polls and watch, News 6 wanted to speak to election supervisors in Central Florida, to see how the process of poll watching works in the state of Florida.
“The easiest way to say it is, voting is not a spectator sport, you’re not welcome to come to watch,” Lake County’s Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said.
Hays said not anyone can just be a poll watcher, he said there’s a process, along with approval required.
In order to be a poll watcher, your name has to be submitted, according to Hays.
“The only people that are allowed to be poll watchers are people who have been approved by the local supervisor of elections, from a list that is submitted by either a candidate, or political party, or political committee,” Hays said.
Before the person submitted is approved, Hays said they have to verify the person is a registered voter in the county they wish to be a poll watcher in.
Additionally, Hays said there are strict rules pertaining to poll watchers.
For example, Hays said they are not allowed to interact with any election workers or voters.
He also said the only person a poll watcher can converse with at a polling place is the clerk if the clerk is not busy at that particular moment.
Hays said the approval process is then followed by a training process.
This allows poll watchers to observe what’s going on at a polling place and have a better understanding of the actions they’re witnessing, according to Hays.
Seminole County’s Supervisor of Elections, Chris Anderson, said poll watchers will also be clearly identified.
“We will assign them a badge they have to wear; an identification badge,” Anderson said.
After speaking with election supervisors, we give it a “be careful” on the News 6 Trust Index.