Election Day, Vote, Polls, Ballot, Early Voting

If you are heading out to the polls you may see some extra people at your voting location.

But they are not just anybody, they are poll watchers, many of whom are associated with both the Lubbock County Republican and Democratic parties.

GOP chairman Cole Shooter says it is a bi-partisan effort to keep the democratic process fair.

"Poll watchers are good, specifically to kind of, make sure that everything is running smoothly at a polling location," Shooter explained.

They must go through training and get certified by the Lubbock County Board of Elections.

"You can be there to support or to watch as a representative of your political party. But you cannot wear any badges or buttons or hats or t shirts that identify you with that party," Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish said.

Similar to election workers, poll watchers observe and watch for any rule-breaking or problems like electioneering within 100 feet of the ballots.

But they cannot intervene, and can only report these "irregularities."

"One thing that can actually come up are just people who come into watch. Or they want to say, record what's going on," Shooter said. "You're not allowed to record within 100 feet of that polling location."

Since this election season is the longest voting period yet, more poll watchers are needed at the county's more than two dozen early voting locations.

"It's a very important job, it's very needed, it's a great way to give back to your community," Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair Gracie Gomez said.

Gomez believes the position is incredibly important this election season.

"This is the first time they've been used in quite awhile. Maybe the environment, the political environment, that people are maybe suspicious or questioning the process," she said.

"We wouldn't mind more. If it's something someone wants to do. They can get in touch and we can steer them the right way," Shooter said.

If you would like to become a poll watcher, you can contact the local Republican or Democratic party to find out how.