Election Watchers and Observers

Election Watchers and Observers(PDF, 155KB)

What is an Election Watcher or Observer?

An eligible voter in Colorado who has been appointed by candidates, political parties or issue committees depending on the type of election to witness and verify the conduct of an election. The watcher cannot be a candidate on the ballot nor an immediate family member if watching for the candidate.

What steps and forms are applicable to Election Watchers?

Must have Certificate of Appointment & Oath of Watcher form submitted to the County Clerk with Watcher’s name and location of observation. The watcher must also complete training courses provided by or approved by the Secretary of State if going to observe election activities where confidential and personally identifiable information may be within view.  These forms must be submitted the Friday before the election, to the extent possible.  The Certificate must accompany the Watcher to the observing location and surrendered to the Supervisor Judge. (If a Watcher leaves a location but returns to the same location, another Certificate of Appointment is not necessary, but a new Watcher who is replacing an original Watcher must provide his or her Certificate of Appointment for that polling location. The Certificate of Appointment is not transferable to another individual.)

Must take an oath administered by an Election Judge.

What are a Watcher’s Restrictions?

Watchers may be present at each stage of the conduct of the election, when electors are voting or when election judges are present and performing election activities but must be aware of the following accommodations:

  • Stay at least 6 feet from the voting equipment, voting booths and ballot box (the immediate voting area).
  • Not handle election supplies, touch, or handle the official signature cards, ballots, mail ballot and/or provisional ballot envelopes, voting or counting machines or machine components.
  • Disrupt or interfere with any stage of the election process, including issuance of ballots, receiving of ballots, and voting or counting of ballots.
  • Must not interact with Election Judges other than a designated watcher contact, except as permitted by the County Clerk.
  • Use of a mobile phone or other electronic device to make or receive a call, or to use electronic device to take or record pictures, video or audio in any place election activities are conducted is not permitted.
  • Must not attempt to determine how any elector voted or disclose any confidential voter information including recording of ballot numbers or other identifying information about electors.
  • Disclose any election results before the polls have closed.

A County Clerk may remove a Watcher upon finding the Watcher has committed or encouraged fraud in connection with his or her duties, violated any of the limitations outlined above, violated his or her oath or was abusive or threatening toward election officials, judges, or voters.

What are the Election Judges Positions and Duties?

  • Supervisor:  VSPC & Board Coordinator, responsible for assigning duties and supervising conduct of the election.

  • Ballot Box Judge:  Responsible for the collection of Mail Ballots at VSPC’s.

  • Greeter Judge:  Provides Signature Card to voter and verify voter identification was brought.

  • Log Book JudgeEnsures voter identification requirements are met and maintain the log book of voters entering the VSPC.

  • Computer Judge: Responsible for registering new voters, providing in person paper ballots, mail ballots or ballot marking device credit, and indicating on each voter’s record that they have voted.

  • Voting Assistance Judge: Provide direction for voter to assure a secret ballot.  If paper ballot is chosen then the voter will be directed to a voting booth to complete, and if a ballot marking device, then assist voters as needed to complete the process and print out their ballot. The Exit Voting Assistance Judge will direct voter to place ballot in Ballot Box.

  • Ballot Courier:  Responsible for collecting ballots from polling locations and 24-hour drop off locations and delivering them to the ballot processing facility.

  • Receiving Board Judge:  Responsible for collecting ballots delivered by couriers, arranging them, and applying a date stamp received to each envelope. 

  • Signature Verification Judge:  Responsible for comparing voter’s signature on the voter’s mail ballot to what is on file.  Identify any discrepancies and report them to election staff.

  • Opening Board Judge:  Responsible for separating the ballot from the envelope then batching ballots together for processing and scanning by the Central Count Judges.

  • Central Count Judge:  Responsible for scanning ballots, duplicating ballots too difficult to scan, and adjudicating ballots that are over-or-under voted.