Be A Pollwatcher

 The Bronx County Green Party can use pollwatchers on Election Day. The Democratic and Republican parties rarely use pollwatchers. They don’t have to. By NY State Election Law,  they run elections and they’re the only ones who can be Poll Workers. From experience, the Green Party knows that irregularities occur at the polls – anything from defective voting machines to voters being turned away for various reasons.  As a Pollwatcher for the Green Party, you can act as an observer on behalf of the party or a candidate, and not only report on problems you might find, but in some cases intervene. Specific “Dos and Don’ts” are printed in the Pollwatcher Tutorial below. 

We don’t expect you to stay at the site the entire day, but it is important to be at the site when it opens to make sure procedures are being followed, and again at the end of the day to record vote totals for Green candidates. 

If you’d like to help us with this valuable and necessary service, print out a Watcher Certificate and a Pollwatcher Guide, and call 347-948-4010 to make arrangements to have the certificate signed by me. 

Show the certificate to the Police Officer on duty and to the Poll Captain. Keep it in your possession. 

You’ll need to enter all the Election Districts of that site and the Assembly District they’re in. You can be a Pollwatcher at more than one polling site. You’ll need certificates for each site. Find the EDs at your polling site on the Poll Site List.



To ensure fair and honest elections, New York State law provides for appointing Poll Watchers to observe voting at the polls. Poll Watchers are designated by candidates, political parties, independent organizations that have candidates on the ballot, and/or political committees.


The role of the Poll Watcher is to observe elections at the polling sites on behalf of a particular candidate, political party or organization and where they observe irregularities, report these observations to the Elections Inspector, the Police Officer and/or the Board of Elections.


Poll Watchers must be qualified voters of the City of New York. Poll Watchers must be certified in writing by a candidate, or a chairperson of a political committee or independent body and must present a certificate for each polling site (specifying the AD in which the polling site is located and the ED’s at that site), to the Elections Inspector for that polling site. This information can be found on the Poll Site List for each borough available at the BOE office.   


New York State law provides for three Poll Watchers per election district at any one time from each candidate, political committee or independent body. Only one of these watchers may be within the “guard rail.” Few, if any, polling places actually have guard rails. The phrase refers to the area of the table used by election inspectors, the voting booths, the ballot boxes and Board of Elections equipment.


The Poll Watcher may:

  • Arrive 15 minutes before opening to observe the opening of the polls to verify that no votes have been cast.
  • Examine poll books as long as they don’t interfere with inspectors or election proceedings.
  • Compare the ballot on the voting machine with paper ballots to see that they match.
  • Observe the closing of the polls and the final canvasses.
  • Challenge individual voters on the basis of:
    • Signature authenticity
    • Residence
    • Multiple Voting
    • Qualification to vote
    • Electioneering


The Poll Watcher may not:

  • Electioneer in any manner. (Electioneering includes soliciting votes or distributing, wearing or carrying political literature, posters, banners or buttons or displaying refreshments showing a candidate or party’s name.)
  • Tamper with election materials.
  • Interfere with the election process.
  • Protest a vote ruling.
  • Accompany a voter to the booth.


Poll Watchers are not law enforcement officers, however, they may attempt to enforce their candidate’s rights by reporting a violation to any of the following:

  • Election Inspectors
  • The Police Officer on duty
  • The New York City Board of Elections

2 responses to “Be A Pollwatcher

  1. GreenRedJohnRey

    Please sign me up as a pollwatcher, Carl, for all AD / ED’s within Council District 11! I can find nothing in the law to prevent a candidate from being a poll watcher! In fact, in 2010, when I ran for NY State Senate in the 33rd SD, I served as a Green Party pollwatcher.

  2. I am experienced poll watcher looking for a position. My phone number is 9172146219.

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