Precinct Officials and Poll Watchers
Who are precinct officials?
Precinct officials (or poll workers) are election officials that conduct elections at the precinct level. They are your neighbors, family, friends, and community leaders.
By law, each precinct is designed with bipartisan oversight. Each precinct has a minimum of three precinct officials – an inspector, judge, and clerk. (See 26 O.S. § 2-123.)
- At least one precinct official must be a member of the party with the highest number of registered voters in the state.
- At least one precinct official must be a member of the party with the second highest number of registered voters in the state.
- The third precinct official may be from any recognized party in the state or a registered Independent.
Each precinct official serves in a distinct capacity.
- Inspector – The Inspector is the principal administrative officer of the precinct election board.
- Judge – The Judge works with the precinct registry and checks the proof of identity for every voter.
- Clerk – The Clerk issues ballots to voters.
More information about becoming a precinct official can be found at https://oklahoma.gov/elections/volunteer/poll-worker-opportunities.html.
Who are poll watchers?
Poll watchers are individuals commissioned by a recognized party or by a candidate to observe certain election preparations and procedures as outlined in 26 O.S. § 7-130.
Commission for a poll watcher must be filed with the secretary of the appropriate county election board no later than 5 p.m., the Wednesday preceding the election.
- Poll watchers must subscribe to an oath to observe all laws and rules prescribed by statute.
- Poll watchers shall be entitled to observe the voting device both before the polls open and after the polls are closed, but shall not be present at the polling place at other times.
- Watchers may be commissioned to observe voting device testing and repair/maintenance work conducted on devices during the election and are limited to observing and making a written record of their observations.
- Watchers must appear in person. (The use of watchers via electronic devices is prohibited.)
- Watchers who violate the law prescribed for watching shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.