Poll Monitor’s Job: Help the Voter Your job is to: > help the voter successfully vote; > document problems to help future voters. Incident reports and exit surveys help advocacy & litigation. Mostly, you provide voters with basic information and the Hotline. You don’t need to be an expert. Don’t get caught up in emotions of a rude election official or a distressed voter. Stay cool and focused. Many problems involve communication issues, not intentional harm. Don’t jump to conclusions.
Your Supplies “Having Trouble Voting” large sign with stand Incident Report forms Exit Survey forms with large envelope Precinct Audit form “New Rules for Voting” wallet cards Voters Bill of Right factsheets (English & Spanish) Clipboard and pens T-shirt, hat/no sunglasses; let them see your eyes! Phone numbers for Hotline & Board of Elections Folding chair, water, snacks
Getting Started Put up the “Having Trouble Voting” sign outside of polling place, near but separate from other signs. If you’re the first monitor for the day at a poll, introduce yourself to the Chief Judge. Be friendly, say you’re with a non-partisan group providing information and collecting feedback from voters. Stand (or sit) outside of polling places, beyond the “buffer zone” – generally 50 feet from door of poll. Be non-partisan AND an advocate for all voters.
Your Role: Help & Document - 1 In general, talk with voters as they leave, not on their way into vote. Approach them and smile. Ask all voters to fill out Exit Survey: “How was your experience today? We’re conducting a survey with Elon College about people’s voting experience – it’s just 3 questions.”... “It’s anonymous.” Don’t express an opinion about the rules. Just record for research. Thank the voter for voting. Give them a “New Rules for Voting” wallet card. Point to the Hotline on back to call if they ever have questions about voting.
Your Role: Help & Document - 2 Check in with a voter who leaves the poll looking disgruntled. “Was there a problem inside today?” Use the Incident Report to record issues, problems. Get the name and phone of the voter and name of an election official (helps with follow-up investigation.) If the voter is willing, have them call the Hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE to get help right away. If the voter won’t wait, record their name, number and summary of the incident on the Incident Report form and call the Hotline yourself.
Your Role: Help & Document - 3 You can go in the polling place with the voter to explain and try to fix a problem. Ask for the Chief Judge. Stay calm, be clear. BUT if it seems like you’re hurting instead of helping, back out and call the hotline at 1-888-OUR-VOTE. Let election officials know about a problem outside the poll, so they can try to fix it (for example: election advocacy inside buffer zone). Pay attention to discrimination or unequal treatment of voters by officials. Document!
Polling Place Rules On Election Day (May 6) polls are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Voters in line at 7:30 PM must be allowed to vote. All campaigning must stop a set distance away from the door of the polling place, generally 50 feet. This is called the “buffer zone.” Curbside voting should be available for anyone who has difficulty standing in line or reaching the polling place because of age or physical disability.
Polling Place Rules No poll official or observer should be wearing any partisan paraphernalia (stickers, buttons, t-shirts). Voters may wear partisan paraphernalia if they do so quietly without drawing attention to themselves. Voter can take a list or sample ballot with their choices inside, but should not show it to others or leave it behind. Using a cell phone or camera is not allowed inside. Intentionally voting twice or illegally is a felony.
Major Changes in Voting Rules No Same-Day Registration for voters who are new to the county, but voter moving within a county can update a registration at the poll and vote. No out-of-precinct voting on Election Day unless it’s the voter’s old or new precinct. Recent movers can also vote at central office, usually BOE. Early Voting is cut to 10 day period. No straight-party voting in general election. Voter must mark each race separately. Voter IDs at the polls. See next slide.
Who Needs to Show ID this Year? New (first-time) voters in a county who didn’t provide an acceptable identification when they filled out the voter registration application. These voters need to show one of the following: > a current photo ID (not just from gov. agency) > or one of these with name and current address: ▪ utility bill (phone, gas, water, etc) ▪ bank statement or payroll check ▪ any government document (bill, permit, letter)
ID Question for Other Voters Other voters do not need to show an ID in 2014 but the official at the polls will give them a list and ask, “Do you have one of these IDs” The list of acceptable IDs that will be required at the polls starting in 2016: A NC current driver’s license or state-issued ID U.S. Military ID or Veterans Benefits Card Passport Enrollment card from Native American tribe
Why Are They Asking About ID? The goal is to identify any voter who does not have an ID that will be required starting in 2016. Voters will be asked to sign declaration if they don’t have one of the IDs and given an instruction sheet about how to get one. The list of voters signing a declaration is public and will be used by other groups to help voters get IDs. Voters do not need to answer the question. They can say, “I’ll answer that in 2016. I’d like my ballot.”
College Students Students may register to vote at the address they consider home - either in the college community or at a parent/guardian’s address. The student’s “intent” is what matters: If they have a definite intent to return to a parent/guardian’s address, they should use that for registration. If they don’t have that specific “intent,” they have a choice See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-55
Felony Disenfranchisement Citizens convicted of a felony are eligible to register after finishing their sentence, including parole or probation. Restitution or fines don’t matter and no document is needed - the right to vote automatically returns. Register like a new voter. Citizens convicted of a misdemeanor do not lose voting rights. Misdemeanants in NC may vote while incarcerated by using a mail-in absentee ballot. Citizens awaiting trial may vote while in jail.
Assistance for Voters All voters have a right to receive assistance from a family member or a poll worker. If a voter has a disability or difficulty reading (due to literacy, language, or vision), they can ask anyone for help except their boss or union agent. Give the Hotline of Disability Rights NC to a voter who has questions/concerns about assistance or their rights – 1-877-235-4210.
What Shouldn’t Happen - 1 Voter harassment Of voters in line outside of the polling place, or By challengers who target certain kinds of voters Very long lines that discourage people from voting. A voter who is properly registered is asked for an ID. A voter is told they’re in the wrong precinct and not offered a provisional ballot. Curbside voting is not available or is very slow.
What Shouldn’t Happen - 2 Someone purposely passing out misinformation about dates, rules, or polling locations. A voter is given the wrong ballot. Assistance from family member or other (non- prohibited) person is not allowed. Election officials refuse to give voters provisional ballots, even when asked. Police intimidation or roadblocks around the poll.
If There Are Problems Use the Incident Reporting Form to record the problem. Voters or poll monitors should call the North Carolina hotline at 1-888-OUR-VOTE. You can also call the national hotline at 1-866- OUR-VOTE or for Spanish-speaking voters, call 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for help. State Board of Elections’ hotline is 866-522-4723.
Provisional Ballots The catch-all solution to problems at the poll. Allows people to vote even if their name isn’t on the rolls for some reason. Before the final ballot count, election officials will research the voter’s registration. The voter should have been given a way to learn if the ballot counts. It should count if registered voter cast ballot in her old or new precinct but failed to report a move. Call the hotline if a voter is denied a provisional ballot or if a poll runs out of provisional ballots.
Voter Challenges Any registered voter in a county may challenge a voter as not being eligible to vote. Elections officials at polls may also challenge a voter. A challenge made on Election Day must be heard and decided (like a little trial) in that precinct by the election judges before the poll closes. A challenge made during Early Voting is like an absentee ballot being challenged. That challenge is heard after Election Day.
Reasons for Voter Challenges The voter is not the person they claim to be. The voter is not a resident of the state, county, or precinct. (Non-residents of county and a precinct may vote at their old precinct if they have been gone from the precinct for less than 30 days.) The voter isn’t 18 as of Election Day. The voter is serving an active felony sentence. The voter has already voted The voter is not a citizen or is dead!
Election Day Voter Challenges If challenged, the voter needs to affirm their identity to the election officials. Then the burden falls on challenger to provide evidence to back up the challenge. If the challenge is overruled, the voter will be able to vote using a regular ballot. Even if it’s sustained, the voter can ask to for a “challenged” ballot. Any voter challenge decision can be appealed (by either the challenger or challenged voter) to the county Superior Court.
Watch Out For A pattern of unfounded or multiple voter challenges at a polling site. Call the hotline if you believe people are engaging in unfounded voter challenges.
Precinct Problem Reporting Form Each poll monitor will get one of these forms. Use this form to report generalized problems at the polling place rather than tied to a specific voter. Examples of problems that might be reported: Broken machines Running out of provisional ballots Long lines Insufficient poll workers You may not have answers to all the questions. Answer as many questions as you can.
Thank You for Defending the Vote in NC! Review the Incident Report Review the Survey Review the wallet card and Bill of Rights Role play talking with voters, precinct officials... Review logistics for the day