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Related Topic: Elections

A Few State Specifics

  • Kansas requires poll watchers to be registered voters unless the poll watcher is a member of the candidate’s family, or if the poll watcher is 14-17 years old and meets all of the other requirements for being a registered voter except age.

  • Louisiana allows each candidate to appoint one poll watcher per precinct, but also allows them to appoint one “super watcher” who can serve as a poll watcher in any precinct in which the candidate’s name is on the ballot. North Carolina has a similar system in which county party chairs can appoint a set number of at-large observers who can act as poll watchers in any precinct in the county.

  • States including Georgia, North Dakota and South Carolina statutorily require poll watchers to wear a badge indicating their name and organization. Other states may do so through administrative rules.

  • Poll watcher laws also apply in states such as Oregon and Washington that primarily conduct their elections by mail. In those states observers watch the ballots get counted and processed instead of watching voters vote at the polls.

  • Tennessee enacted in 2016 a prohibition on spouses of candidates serving as poll watchers.

Related Resources

NCSL Election Resources

The NCSL elections team provides a variety of resources on election issues, including but not limited to 50-state surveys on state laws, legislation databases, a monthly elections newsletter, enactment summaries and other publications.

2024 State Primary Election Dates

This page provides state primary and presidential election dates for 2024 when legislative, congressional, gubernatorial, statewide office and presidential primary contests will be on the ballots in 46 states.
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