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What’s The Difference Between Poll Workers, Poll Watchers, and Poll Monitors?

We hear a lot about various groups related to the polling place, and it can get confusing to distinguish between them. Let’s break down the difference between poll workers, poll watchers, and poll monitors.


  1. Poll workers are your election judges and clerks. They run the election at their assigned polling location. Each polling location should have a mix of workers from both the county’s Democratic and Republican parties.

  2. Presiding Judges and Alternate Judges- are appointed by the County Commissioner’s Court from lists submitted by the county’s Democratic and Republican Parties

  3. Election Clerks- each Presiding Judge appoints the Clerks for their polling location

  4. Early Voting Officials- appointed by the County Clerk from lists submitted by the county’s Democratic and Republican parties

2. Poll watchers are individuals affiliated with, and appointed by a:

  1. political party

  2. candidate

  3. issue campaign on the ballot

Poll watchers have a legal right to observe election activities inside polling places, but they also have a very problematic history of voter suppression and intimidation in Texas, especially when dealing with BIPOC communities.

While both poll workers and poll watchers are inside polling locations during elections, they serve two different purposes and go through very different selection processes.

3. Poll monitors are non-partisan volunteers who stand 100 feet away from the polling location.

  1. Poll monitors  are trained by Election Protection to provide basic legal assistance to voters at the polls.  If you would like to become a poll monitor, please click here.

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