Poll watchers keeping the vote safe in 2020

Posted at 12:41 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 13:41:36-05

TEMPLE, TX — Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

It may happen to you today... but there's nothing bad about it. Poll watchers will be out in force checking out polling places around the country.
You might call Gladys Jimenez, a "fearless voter". "I'm going in there for a purpose, I'm going to cast my vote," said the Temple Woman.
And as she does it, she's likely to have someone watching....
"We've had them forever. We've always had pole watchers, and it has not been a problem in the past, we have more watchers for this election than we've had in the past," said Kathy Van Wolfe, McLennan Election Administrator.

Technically, anybody who pays attention to anything going on at the polls, is a poll watcher, but some folks get to make a day of it, with the right credentials. Watchers can represent a party, a candidate, or even a cause, but they all have to register, and they all have to follow Texas election law.

Political parties call them a valuable resource, to make sure registered voters get to cast a ballot, fair, and free of any outside influence.
"If there is an questionable act or a breach of ethics or the law, then they report, particularly when there is such divisiveness as exists Now, I think each side wants to have poll watchers to ensure that we have an honest fair and correct election," said Col. Jon Ker, of the Texas Republican Executive Committee.

Even the president has asked voters to keep an eye on the polls... but in Texas if you want to be a real poll watcher you have to do the paperwork, get a party to appoint you, and follow the rules, like no talking to voters. Interfering with the election will get you a criminal charge.

Bell County Democrats even plan to have poll watchers inside AND outside polling places. "We'll have poll watchers inside the polling locations. This year we will have line workers who will be outside the polling locations to make sure that people are not harassed and and that you know inappropriate electioneering is not happening," said Bell County Democrat Chair Chris Kelley Rosenberg.

So as you head out to vote this election day, know there's a chance somebody's watching you... for all the right reasons. "I'm going to cast my vote I'm you know they're there if they're there for a reason. That's great," said Jimenez. Great that someone's watching out for democracy and making sure every vote counts.