Pollwatchers in Illinois have the legal right to observe all aspects of the voting process.
Pollwatchers in Illinois have the legal right to observe all aspects of the voting process. To observe signature comparisons, they may sit or stand behind election judges. Pollwatchers may not touch the equipment or materials, but they can observe all aspects of the election.
In this instance, the pollwatcher located in a Wisconsin polling place left the poll at the request of the Chief Inspector. The Chief Inspector appears to be similar to an election judge in Illinois.
In Illinois, Defend the Vote teachers encourage pollwatchers to speak with the election judge in such a way that you cause minimal disruption to the voters. If the election judge still will not allow you to observe, then pollwatchers should stand back and call election central. They do not have to leave the polling place.
Your right to observe is beyond dispute, but you also should do all that you can to avoid disrupting voters, because ultimately their right to vote trumps your right to observe.
In 2012, Defend the Vote will produce materials for election judges and pollwatchers to use that will help in situations such as this.
Also, we will be covering Wisconsin's elections this week. There are some important lessons for Illinois voters that can be learned from our friends up north.