In connection with the role of watchers in elections, the bill does the following:
- Section 1 of the bill authorizes each political party participating in a primary election to have at least one watcher at any one time in each voter service and polling center in the county and at each place where votes are counted. This section requires the chairperson of the county central committee of each political party to select the names of the persons who will represent their political party in each precinct in the county as a watcher. If such chairperson is not able to make the appointments, the chairperson of the state central committee of the political party or another official of the state political party are required to make the appointments. The date by which the chairperson is required to submit the names of the watchers is specified.
- Section 2 requires that, in the case of an issue committee, the registered agent of the issue committee is the authorized representative of the issue committee entitled to appoint one or more watchers. The date by which the appointing authority is required to submit the names of the appointees is specified.
- Section 3 imposes the same requirements with respect to proponents and opponents of a ballot issue.
- Section 4 specifies procedures to be followed if a watcher sees a potential discrepancy. This section of the bill also allows the watcher to observe the process of signature verification. This section of the bill additionally contains an oath or affirmation that a person appointed as a watcher is to recite before beginning his or her service.
- Section 5 removes an existing exception to a prohibition on the sale, disclosure, or release of a photocopied or microfilmed image of an elector's signature to effect an overall ban on the sale, disclosure, or release of certain confidential personal information.
- Section 6 gives county clerk and recorders the same access to the criminal history records of watchers as they currently have with respect to election judges and gives the secretary of state the power to require that certain duties may only be performed by watchers for whom the county clerk and recorder has requested their criminal justice records. This section further clarifies that such duties performed by a watcher include observing electors' records in the statewide voter registration system.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)