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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 11, 2019 10:12 AM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Poll Watcher Training and Certification
The most basic, fundamental right of American representative democracy is the ability to vote and elect our governing officials. Any interference or tampering of elections, or even the perception of such, undermines the fairness of an election and attacks the foundation of our democracy.

To ensure free and fair elections, we have laws and individuals to oversee and observe elections. One such individual who is a representative of a candidate, political party, civic organization or proposition who is legally present in a polling place to observe the conduct of an election is a Poll Watcher. Currently, Poll Watchers are required by law to be registered voters and may act as a poll watcher in any district within a county. Although training is usually offered by whomever the Poll Watcher will be representing prior to election day, there is no uniform mandatory training from the State Board of Elections. This lack of training can have the opposite intended effect of the purpose of the Poll Watchers – leading to chaos, disorder and disruption of an election.

One step in safeguarding against election disruption is by mandating training and certification of Poll Watchers. My proposal would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to develop a mandatory professional certification and poll watcher training program for use by county election officials. My legislation goes a step further in limiting chaos on election day by stipulation that Poll Watchers can only perform election activities in the district in which they permanently reside.

Please join me in taking this small but important step to preserve the integrity of our elections. Thank you for your consideration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-787-1407.

*** This is a reintroduction of House Bill 403 from the 2015-2016 Legislative Session ***

Introduced as HB1643