Elections are conducted on a local level, even though governed by state and federal laws. So while the crisis in the U.S. election system is a national one, many effective solutions can be carried out locally. Community monitoring of elections can only be done on a local level. Resources on this site have been designed to help you choose the most effective projects to undertake in your community and learn how to do them.
The example you set through public education and leadership will enable others to recognize the dangers we face and join the struggle for election justice.
Monitoring an election means providing community oversight of the processes and procedures that guide OUR elections, as they are conducted by employees of OUR government. In this era of stolen elections and violations of laws requiring elections to be conducted in a transparent manner, We the People cannot afford to sit back and assume that elections are being run in a manner that protects the accuracy and validity of the vote. The majority of election officials and their staff members are honest, hard-working people committed to our democracy. Yet even their eyes cannot be everywhere at once. Monitoring is key in both preventing and detecting many problems that could even be serious enough to alter the outcome of an election.
1.Community election monitoring is a deterrent to some nefarious activity. Just the knowledge that they are being watched, especially being watched by a knowledgeable observer, can deter people from illegal activity.
2.Monitoring is a deterrent to sloppy behavior. Elections officials and poll workers will be more vigilant knowing they are being watched and their mistakes could be publicized.
3.Monitors sometimes catch errors that can be corrected immediately by elections officials.
4.Information gathered can be used to improve future elections.
5.Monitors can make incident reports to election protection hotlines such as 1 (866) OUR-VOTE, adding their findings to thousands of comments aggregated and analyzed for patterns of election anomalies.
6.Community monitoring efforts can provide the basis for challenges to elections, including recounts initiated by the public or by candidates. Recount and challenge laws vary by state.(top)
What can we do to address this danger and protect the integrity of our elections? First, citizen-led monitoring of our elections, such as the MyVote1 effort, is critically needed to identify election concerns and to collect the data from voters on election day. Without the MyVote1 hotline, it is unclear whether we would have learned of the extent of the problems with electronic poll books in Georgia in the February 5th primary.
Here are some of the many examples where monitoring was successful.
1.Jon Bonifaz, legal director of Voter Action, gave testimony in April 2008 before the Committee on House Administration of the US House of Representatives, based on analysis of the nationwide monitoring and incident reporting effort called "Watch the Vote Program."
2.Jerry McNerney was elected to Congress (CA-11) in 2006 in a key election against an incumbent. Organized monitoring efforts in the district for McNerney, including over 80 monitors, resulted in incident reports of activities before, during, and after the election, pointing out problems to registrars of voters in four California counties that led to a number of improvements, such as:
*Including the rights of public monitors into the poll worker training
*The taping open of the privacy flap on Diebold VVPAT (printer attachment) so the default position was to show the paper record to the voter, not to cover it up. Read full report (top)
Learn about who runs the elections in your state and in your county, parish or other local jurisdiction download .pdf
Find out what kind of equipment your county or jurisdiction uses to vote download .pdf
Learn what activities can be observed download .pdf
Note: Check back soon for additional information about how to conduct community monitoring/oversight of our elections!