GRAND RAPIDS, MI - As the country braces for November, cities are preparing for transparency in their voting precincts. In depth training is underway for poll workers to ensure a safe setting for voters.
"On election day it’s no longer about the candidate it’s about the voter experience and the precinct," Darlene O'Neal, Grand Rapids City Clerk said.
O’Neal says every election is different, however, the laws are the same when it comes to what a poll watcher and poll challenger is allowed to do.
"For both the watcher and challenger it is not permitted for them to interact with the voter, speak to the voter, in the precinct, touch any material in the precinct so those things are strictly prohibited," O'Neal said.
There is not a limit on the number of poll watchers allowed at any given precinct. However, political parties are permitted, by election laws, to identify two challengers per political party, per precinct.
"There are rules of conduct as it relates to what a poll watcher can do and what a challenger can do," O'Neal said. "If a voter feels uncomfortable with any interactions they should bring it to the attention of the chair person."
O’Neal says they’ve especially trained their staff leading up to the election, running through potential scenarios. On the day of the chairperson appointed at each precinct is given an emergency guide.
"We make sure we train for the process and make sure our election workers are equipped and ready to respond to any and most scenarios," O'Neal said.
Poll watchers and challengers must abide by a set of rules, as do voters. When it comes to choosing your election day attire, generic is the best way to go.
"Anything displaying a candidate’s name or a political party is prohibited in the precinct so that refers to a button or a hat, or an armband, a t-shirt, a jacket," O'Neal said.
All rules and laws put in place to ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible.
"I’m very confident we will have a very safe and secure process and I’m just looking forward to election day," O'Neal said.
For more information on the differences between poll watchers and poll challengers click here.
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