2015 Tennessee Code
Title 2 - Elections
Chapter 7 - Procedure at the Polling Place
§ 2-7-104 - Poll watchers.

TN Code § 2-7-104 (2015) What's This?

(a) Each political party and any organization of citizens interested in a question on the ballot or interested in preserving the purity of elections and in guarding against abuse of the elective franchise may appoint poll watchers. The county election commission may require organizations to produce evidence that they are entitled to appoint watchers. Each candidate in primary elections and each independent candidate in general elections may appoint one (1) or more poll watchers for each polling place; provided, however, at any given time, each such candidate shall have not more than one (1) such poll watcher on duty at each polling place. All appointments of watchers shall be in writing and signed by the persons or organizations authorized to make the appointment. All poll watchers' names shall be submitted to the county election commission no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon of the second working day before the election. All appointed poll watchers must have reached the age of seventeen (17) by election day.

(b) Each political party which has candidates in the election and each citizens' organization may have two (2) watchers at each polling place. One (1) of the watchers representing a party may be appointed by the chair of the county executive committee of the party and the other by a majority of the candidates of that party running exclusively within the county in which the watchers are appointed. If the candidates of a party fail to appoint the watchers by twelve o'clock (12:00) noon on the third day before the election, the chair of the county executive committee of the party may appoint both watchers representing the chair's party. In addition, each candidate in a general election may appoint one (1) or more poll watchers for each polling place; provided, however, at any given time, each such candidate shall have not more than one (1) such poll watcher on duty at each polling place.

(c) Upon arrival at the polling place, a watcher shall display such watcher's appointment to the officer of elections and sign the register of watchers. Poll watchers may be present during all proceedings at the polling place governed by this chapter. They may watch and inspect the performance in and around the polling place of all duties under this title. A watcher may, through the judges, challenge any person who offers to vote in the election. A watcher may also inspect all ballots while being called and counted and all tally sheets and poll lists during preparation and certification. A poll watcher who wishes to protest any aspect of the conduct of the election shall present such protest to the officer of elections or to the county election commission or to an inspector. The officer of elections or county election commission shall rule promptly upon the presentation of any protest and take any necessary corrective action.

(d) No watcher may interfere with any voter in the preparation or casting of such voter's ballot or prevent the election officials' performance of their duties. No watcher may observe the giving of assistance in voting to a voter who is entitled to assistance. Watchers shall wear poll watcher badges with their names and their organization's name but no campaign material advocating voting for candidates or positions on questions.

(e) Poll watchers observing the duties of the absentee counting board shall not leave the room, or place of counting, after the actual counting of the ballots has begun. Poll watchers observing the duties of the absentee counting board are prohibited from possessing any electronic device, including a cellular telephone or pager, capable of transmitting election results to a location outside the room where the ballots are being tabulated.

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