Poll Watching and Voting Guidelines



The ACLU of California conducted a Poll Watchers Training attended by over 40 people on Monday, June 6. If you participated as a Poll Watcher, please be sure to send us and the ACLU your observations afterwards.

Here are the Power Point slides from this presentation:

Download (PPT, 5.61MB)

Voter Suppression

According to one local blog and other information we’ve received, Siskiyou County Sheriff deputies and staff from other agencies went door to door in Klamath River County Estates, Mt. Shasta Vista and Mt. Shasta Forest questioning voter registrations. They arrived at homes armed with assault rifles, threatening to arrest people whose voter registrations “looked questionable”. They made no actual arrests for voter fraud, only building code citations.

Unfortunately, these activities appear to be targeted primarily at the Hmong ethnic group. After contact with the ACLU and legal representatives, a half dozen state voting officials were present in Siskiyou County to monitor the election and prevent voter suppression on Tuesday, June 7.

The County Clerk reports there have been 1852 new voter registrations in Siskiyou County since January.

Voter suppression is a tactic that includes not only voter intimidation, but also other measures designed to discourage or prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote. Voter fraud (illegal voting) is very rare. According to this article in the Washington Post, “the frequency of poll impersonation is about one in 15 million.”

There are 18 official polling places in the county listed here. We want to give a great thanks to all the observers who took part in this voter protection activity.

To learn more, you may read through the poll watching guidelines below. You may print copies of the ACLU’s Poll Monitor Report and Incident Report forms below, to help document what you observe.

Poll Watching

The ACLU has provided the following reporting documents which you may download to print in advance before heading out for poll watching:

Poll Monitor Report

Download (DOCX, 116KB)

Incident Report

Download (DOCX, 111KB)

Please refer to page 20 of the Siskiyou County Clerk’s Poll Worker Guidebook online here for additional information on poll watching. It states, “Any person may observe the proceedings at the polls including inspection of the voting equipment and examination of the posted index as long as it does not interfere with the operation of the polls.” You do not have to be associated with our group or any other group – you have the right to be there and observe.

The manual also contains detailed information on polling procedures. As a poll watcher you may note anything you observe not in compliance with these procedures, using the ACLU forms listed above. We ask that you submit your observations (good, bad or indifferent) by emailing info (at) siskiyouforward.org or mailing forms to the ACLU at the address provided. Attach video, interviews or images taken from over 100 feet away. This will help us ensure the election is conducted in a fair manner.

Please pay particular attention to the bullet points on page 21 which list activities prohibited within 100 feet of the polling place. Of course, you should behave professionally and comply with all reasonable requests of poll workers or others in authority. You may record using a video camera or cell phone as long as you are further than 100 feet away.

Again from 100 feet away, you may interview or take information from anyone turned away, and make notes of any irregularities or intimidation. You must not argue or interfere with polling operations or law enforcement – document what you observe for later review.

Voter Guidelines

For voters in Siskiyou County, here are three publications with information about your rights and responsibilities:

ACLU Information:

Comprehensive Brochure on Voter Registration and Voting

Postcard of info voters need on Election Day

How to Vote Checklist (back side talk about what to do on Election Day)

California Secretary of State Information:

Voting Law Compliance Handbook

This election the County Clerk is using new voting machines for the first time. There have been reports of registration errors and glitches, and to be fair, the voting process is complex due to changes in California election law.  Detailed guidelines are found in the Poll Worker Guidebook starting on page 5. Here’s a few key points of information of which voters should become aware:

  • NPP (No Party Preference) voters – you should receive a “Ballot Choice” form which you should read, and then let the poll worker know which ballot you want. You may choose among NPP, Democratic, American Independent, or Libertarian ballots. Other parties do not allow NPP voters to vote their ballot (see page 5).
  • If you have recently registered and did not provide your driver’s license when registering, make sure to bring an acceptable form of ID to the polls (see page 8).
  • If you received a vote by mail ballot you may turn it in at the polls if completed, or surrender it for an in person ballot if uncompleted (see page 6).

Here’s a recent article and video of interest to NPP voters who wish to vote in the Democratic primary.  The article states: “According to the county registrars office, NPP voters must fill out a “Democratic Cross-Over Ballot” in order for their votes to count, not a provisional ballot.”

The following is particularly important to know regarding possible voter suppression. From the handbook:

On Election Day a voter may be orally challenged within the polling place only by a member of the precinct board upon any or all of the following grounds:

  1. The voter is not the person whose name appears on the Roster.
  2. The voter is not a resident of the precinct.
  3. The voter is not a U S citizen.
  4. The voter has already voted that day.
  5. The voter is presently on parole for a felony conviction.

If you have personal knowledge or receive information in writing on Election Day that a voter is not eligible to vote for the above reasons, contact the Clerk’s Office for instructions on how to handle the situation.”

It is important to know that a voter DOES NOT need a residence approved for occupancy via the building code in order to vote. As long as they are in fact a resident of the precinct, they can vote as long as they have a valid mailing address.

The ACLU and the Siskiyou Forward Movement are concerned with voter suppression. We are committed to bringing any such efforts to light, and helping those affected take any legal actions needed.