Texas Secretary of State Offers Online Training for Poll Watchers
To be a poll watcher, a person must be certified by the SOS after completing the new programwhich began on September 1.
The training program and certificate are required under Senate Bill (SB) 1the electoral integrity bill drafted by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and passed in the first special session of the 87th Legislature.
“The new pollwatcher training program launching today will ensure that everyone who wants to observe and report on the voting process in their county understands Texas election law, knows how to spot violations of the Texas election code, and is properly trained on how to report any irregularities they may observe,” read a press release from the SOS office.
Not only must poll watchers complete the required training through the SOS office, they must also be certified as poll watchers on behalf of a candidate, party, or action committee. policy dedicated to a particular ballot measure.
To qualify as a poll watcher, one must be a registered voter in the county, not be a public office holder or candidate, and must not have been convicted of an election offense.
Certified poll watchers can observe activities at polling stations during early voting and election day, as well as curbside voting, central counting station activities, signature verification activities, inspection and securing of voting materials and the transfer of electoral materials.
Complete poll watcher’s guide is available on the SOS website.
“Ensuring transparency is a key aspect of maintaining election integrity, and our office encourages all Texans who wish to become poll watchers to carefully review the training materials and treat all voters, election officials and officials voters with absolute respect while observing the voting process,” the SOS added.
Republicans are preparing to have poll watchers present across the state, having already trained more than 2,000 poll watchers.
“The [Republican National Committee]Election Integrity Program has been on the ground for more than a year, actively training and recruiting poll watchers across the state to ensure transparency at the ballot box. We are replicating these efforts in battleground states across the country and leading the Republican ecosystem to ensure elections are free, fair and safe,” said National Spokesperson Gates McGavick.
Libertarians also encourage poll watching. The party is sharing the availability of SOS training with county chairmen and asking them to recruit volunteer observers in their area, according to Whitney Bilyeu, president of the Texas Libertarian Party.
True Texas Project (TTP), a statewide conservative grassroots network, held workshops this summer for election workers across the state, where they tried to “dive deeper into what it is to be a poll worker/observer, by experienced people,” TTP President Fran Rhodes said The Texan.
TTP emphasizes the importance of training poll watchers. “There is so much to know and learn about this subject that one course is not enough. Poll watchers are desperately needed as front line advocates of election integrity, but poll watchers cannot be effective unless they have been properly trained,” Rhodes explained, adding that they want to ensure that election officials feel empowered to “speak up when [they] see irregularities.
The Texas Democratic Party did not respond to a request for information about its poll monitoring program at press time.