2015 Arkansas Code
Title 7 - Elections
Chapter 5 - Election Procedure Generally
Subchapter 3 - Conduct of Elections
§ 7-5-312 - Challenge of voter's ballot by poll watchers, candidates, or designees.

AR Code § 7-5-312 (2015) What's This?

(a) Poll watchers shall include any:

(1) Candidate in person, but only during the counting and tabulation of ballots and the processing of absentee ballots;

(2) Authorized representative of a candidate;

(3) Authorized representative of a group seeking the passage or defeat of a measure on the ballot; and

(4) Authorized representative of a political party with a candidate on the ballot.

(b) Each candidate, group, or party may have at any given time during the election, including early voting:

(1) One (1) authorized representative present at any one (1) time at each location within a polling site where voters identify themselves to election officials, so as to observe and ascertain the identity of those persons presenting themselves to vote for the purpose of challenging voters; and

(2) One (1) authorized representative present at any one (1) time at each location within the absentee ballot processing site where absentee ballots are processed, so as to observe and ascertain the identity of absentee voters for the purpose of challenging any absentee vote.

(c) In accordance with §§ 7-5-316, 7-5-413, 7-5-416, 7-5-527, and 7-5-615, a candidate in person or an authorized representative of a candidate or political party may be present at a polling site, central counting location, and absentee ballot counting location for the purpose of witnessing the counting of ballots by election officials and determining whether ballots are fairly and accurately counted.

(d) The document designating and authorizing a representative of a candidate, a representative of a group seeking the passage or defeat of a measure on the ballot, and a representative of a political party with a candidate on the ballot shall be filed with the county clerk and a file-marked copy shall be presented by the poll watcher to the election official immediately upon entering the polling site, absentee ballot processing site, or counting location in the following form:

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(e) Poll watcher rights and responsibilities shall be printed on the back of the document in the following form:

"POLL WATCHER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

A poll watcher may be:

(1) A candidate in person, but only during the counting and tabulation of ballots and the processing of absentee ballots;

(2) An authorized representative of a candidate;

(3) An authorized representative of a group seeking the passage or defeat of a measure on the ballot; or

(4) An authorized representative of a party with a candidate on the ballot.

Official recognition of poll watchers:

(1) Only one (1) authorized poll watcher per candidate, group, or party at any one (1) given time may be officially recognized as a poll watcher at each location within a polling site where voters identify themselves to election officials;

(2) Only one (1) authorized poll watcher per candidate, group, or party at any one (1) given time may be officially recognized as a poll watcher at each location within the absentee ballot processing site where absentee ballots are processed; and

(3) Only one (1) authorized poll watcher per candidate or party at any one (1) given time may be officially recognized as a poll watcher at the counting of the ballots.

Poll watcher credentials:

(1) Except for candidates in person, poll watchers must present a valid affidavit in the form of a "Poll Watcher Authorization Form" to an election official immediately upon entering the polling or counting location; and

(2) Candidates in person attending a counting site or absentee ballot processing site are not required to present a "Poll Watcher Authorization Form" but must present some form of identification to an election official immediately upon entering the site for the purpose of confirming the poll watcher as a candidate on the ballot.

Poll watchers may:

(1) Observe the election officials;

(2) Stand close enough to the place where voters check in to vote so as to hear the voter's name;

(3) Compile lists of persons voting;

(4) Challenge ballots upon notification to an election official before the voter signs the precinct voter registration list and upon completing a "Challenged Ballot Form";

(5) Call to the attention of the election sheriff any occurrence believed to be an irregularity or violation of election law. The poll watcher may not discuss the occurrence unless the election sheriff invites the discussion; and

(6) Be present at the opening, processing, and canvassing of absentee ballots for the purpose of challenging absentee votes in the manner provided by law for personal voting challenges.

Poll watchers representing a candidate or political party may:

(1) Remain at the polling site after the poll closes if ballots are counted at the poll;

(2) Be present at the counting of votes by hand or by an electronic vote tabulating device at a central location;

(3) Be present at the counting of absentee ballots for the purpose of witnessing the counting of ballots by election officials and determining whether ballots are fairly and accurately counted; and

(4) Upon request made to an election official, inspect any or all ballots at the time the ballots are being counted.

Poll watchers may not:

(1) Be within six feet (6') of any voting machine or booth used by voters to cast their ballot;

(2) Speak to any voter or in any way attempt to influence a voter inside the polling site or within one hundred feet (100') of the primary exterior entrance used by voters to the building containing the polling site; or

(3) Disrupt the orderly conduct of the election."

(f) Poll watcher rights and responsibilities shall be posted in plain view at each polling site, absentee ballot processing site, and counting site.

(g) A poll watcher may challenge a voter only on the grounds that the voter is not eligible to vote in the precinct or that the voter has previously voted at that election.

(h) (1) When the ballot of any voter is thus challenged, it shall be treated as a provisional ballot.

(2) The poll watcher shall notify an election official of the challenge before the voter signs the precinct voter registration list.

(3) The poll watcher shall complete a challenged ballot form.

(4) The election official shall inform the voter that his or her ballot is being challenged.

(5) The procedures for casting a provisional ballot under § 7-5-308 shall be followed.

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