Wear a Button or Sticker
If able, obtain a NEW “Please ID Me” Election Integrity Watch button or sticker and wear it all day on Election Day (especially when you go to the polls). If you can’t find a button at an event, you can order them right here (discounts for bulk purchases if you have a group you want to outfit with these). DO NOT wear an old Election Integrity Watch Button with the words, “Please ID Me” into a polling place. Because Voter ID is on the ballot for 2012, the old button can be considered illegal electioneering this year.
Making the Election Integrity Watch campaign highly visible right before and on Election Day will deter fraud. People considering election crimes will think twice if they know people who are trained on what to look for are watching – everywhere. Election crimes are a felony, subject to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. In previous elections, no one was paying attention and it was easy to get way with fraud. Not this time.
Recruit People – Spread the Word
Share Election Integrity Watch with your friends and neighbors. Email the link to ElectionIntegrityWatch.org to your contacts.
If you are part of a politically active group, consider ordering “Please ID Me” Election Integrity Watch buttons or stickers in bulk for your group.
On Election Day, when you go to the polls to vote, bring something to jot down notes and look around, both outside and inside the polling place. Observe what is going on. If you see anything unusual, suspicious or outright illegal happening, carefully document it. Write down names or descriptions of the people involved, the exact time of the incident and what happened. Call the Election Integrity Watch hotline as soon as possible.
If practical, bring a camera to your polling place. Most mobile phones are capable of taking still pictures and video. Don’t take pictures inside the polling place unless you can capture something blatantly illegal underway. Absolutely DO NOT photograph people voting, or their ballots.
Allow yourself extra time to observe the goings-on outside your polling place. Stay 100’ away from the entrance when observing.
Be ready to follow suspicious busses if possible.
What to Watch For
We can’t cover every conceivable form of voter fraud or election irregularities, so below are listed some examples of things to look out for, but this is by no means all-inclusive. It will help if you have a familiarity with Minnesota’s election laws. Spend some time reading up on them here.
If you see a bus load of voters arrive at the polls to be vouched for, take pictures of the bus, the people boarding or exiting the bus and the license plate of the bus. If you don’t have a camera, take notes of the number of people on the bus, the name of the bus company, the bus number (if any), the license plate number and the exact time and location. If possible, when the bus leaves your polling place, try to follow that bus without being noticed to see if it transports the same people to another polling place. Take note of the times and locations.
Watch for groups of people being vouched for by one individual. Does the voucher know the people he or she is vouching for? Is the voucher asking people for their names? Take note of the names of voters and the voucher if possible. Document the time and number of people being vouched for.
Minnesota law permits one person to vouch for up to 15 other voters, but the voucher must have been registered to vote without using a voucher. Watch for people who’ve been vouched for then vouching for other voters and watch for a single voter vouching for more than 15 other voters. Take note of the time, numbers and names if possible.
Don’t Vouch for Strangers
We have received reports of “community organizers” asking people to pick up, transport to a polling place and vouch for people they don’t know. Don’t vouch for anyone you don’t personally know is a valid voter living in your precinct. You may be enabling an election crime.
Drivers licenses and state ID cards issued to non-citizens present in the country on a visa will have the notation “status check” and their visa expiration date printed on the lower-right corner of the ID card. Anyone carrying ID with this indicator is not a citizen of the United States and therefore not eligible to vote in Minnesota. Unless you are an election judge following registration guidelines, don’t ask voters for identification. You may observe a discussion about “status check” between election judges, or betwen a judge and an Election Day registrant. If you overhear such a conversation, make not of the names of the people involved, what was said and when and where it occured. If you happen to notice someone registering with an ID bearing a visa expiration date, report it, but don’t loom over voters or otherwise invade their personal space.
Voters with Multiple Ballots
Minnesota Majority has obtained precinct incident logs indicating that some people were allowed to insert more than one ballot into a voting machine. When one was challenged by an election judge, the voter explained that he’d found a completed ballot left behind in the voting booth. Incredibly, the judge allowed both ballots to be inserted. That precinct later was unable to balance the number of ballots with voter signatures.
People Lingering in or Near a Polling Place
Be on the lookout for people standing in front of the entrance to polling places. Except for officially authorized people like election judges or party-appointed official poll challengers, it is illegal to linger within 100 feet of a polling place. Watch for people harassing, impeding or intimidating voters.
Also watch for people giving things to voters. We have received reports of voters being given gift cards or other incentives for voting right outside of polling places. This has also been noted by election judges in official polling place incident logs. It is illegal to compensate someone for their vote.
If you observe any illegal loitering inside or within 100′ of a polling place, tell an election judge if practical and report it to Election Integrity Watch. If you witness voter intimidation or harassment, call 911 first to summon police.
Voters Getting Assistance
Observe whether the voter is voting for themselves, or is the assistant doing the voting?
Assisted Living Facilities
There have long been reports of absentee ballots being delivered to residents of nursing homes when they weren’t requested by the resident. It’s illegal to deliver an absentee ballot to a voter who did not apply for one. Some reports indicate that nursing home staff, political canvassers and even election officials are completing the absentee ballots for the resident. If you observe any suspicious election activity in an assisted living facility, document the time and names of people involved in the incident and contact us immediately.
Improper Handling of Ballots
Sometimes a voter makes a mistake and requests a new ballot. The old ballot is supposed to be spoiled and placed in a special envelope for spoiled ballots. Ballots that can’t be read by the machine (due to creasing or damage) are to be duplicated by election judges and the original ballot is to be set aside in a special envelope. There have been reports of improper handling of spoiled or duplicated ballots. Be on the lookout for this.
Beware of Distractions or Diversions
When voter fraud is being attempted, there may be a diversion to draw attention away, or someone may attempt to obscure the view of poll challengers or election judges by standing in their way. If there is a disruption in the polling place, look around to see what else is happening. Be aware of what’s going on around you.
We can’t cover every conceivable form of voter fraud or election irregularities. These are just some examples of things to look out for, but this is by no means all-inclusive. It will help if you have a familiarity with Minnesota’s election laws. Spend some time reading up on them here.
Additional Steps for Election Judges and Poll Challengers
Arrive early to observe setup, verifying that the election machines are all reading zero ballots before the polls open.
Stay until the end. After the polls close, a lot of work is still left to be done by election judges. Poll challengers should stay and observe all the work that is being done and verify that signature counts match ballot counts; that voting machine counts match signature counts.
Verify that all envelopes and ballot transfer cases are properly sealed and signed by election judges in accordance with state law.
Verify that summary statements are correct and not tampered with before being sealed in their envelopes and the seals are signed by election judges.
Verify that no seals are signed in advance of envelopes being sealed.
What to Do if You See Suspicious Activity
Take good notes. Record the time of the incident and if possible, the names of the people involved. Detail what occurred. Call 1-877-602-WATCH (1-877-602-9282) to report the incident.
If you spot a suspicious bus or other vehicle, get a picture of the vehicle, it’s occupants and the license plate. Note the name of the bus company and the bus number if there is one. If you are able, follow the bus when it leaves your polling place. Try not to be noticed following. If the bus brings the same people to another polling place, take pictures and record the time and location. Call Election Integrity Watch to report the details and then email us the pictures as soon as possible at report – at- electionintegritywatch.com.
What Not to Do
Do not argue with election judges. They have the final say on what goes on at the polling place. If you are asked to leave, leave the building and move at least 100’ away from the entrance.
Do not linger inside or within 100′ of a polling place. When you go to vote, do be observant, but don’t linger.
Don’t ask voters for identification or question them about their eligibility. That’s the job of election judges.
Unless you are an election judge or officially authorized poll challenger, do not directly challenge voters you believe are ineligible. Instead bring it to the attention of election judges and/or the official poll challengers on site. If you have personal knowledge that a person attempting to vote is ineligible, an election judge will provide you with a challenge form.
Don’t approach voters for any reason. Just observe. Record and report suspicious activity.
Do not create a disruption in the polling place.
Do not take photos or video inside the polling place unless you are able to capture an act of blatant voter fraud. Under no circumstances should you photograph someone while they are voting or photograph a completed ballot. Generally speaking, cameras are prohibited in the polling place.
Do not wear any candidate’s campaign attire, buttons or stickers to the polling place. Don’t bring any signs into or within 100’ of a polling place.
Not surprisingly, the pro-fraud crowd isn’t very happy about Election Integrity Watch. They claim the simple act of watching for and reporting fraud is voter intimidation. Pro-fraud elements may harass you or try to goad you into creating a scene. Don’t take the bait! Stand your ground. Be polite and don’t engage people like that.
Some pro-fraud individuals who’ve posted online comments about Election Integrity Watch have even resorted to threats of violence against fraud spotters. If you plan to observe a polling location, it would be best to bring a friend and work in teams.
Remember to stay at least 100’ from the polling place. Bring a tape measure if you have one handy in case there’s any doubt.
Need more information? See answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).