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Poll Watcher Guidelines

Who may appoint poll watchers?

  • Each political party – political party means an organization which nominates candidates for public office
  • Each candidate in a general or primary election
  • Any citizens’ organization interested in a question on the ballot
  • Any citizens’ organization interested in the integrity of the election process

How are poll watchers appointed?

  • A list of appointees must be submitted to the Davidson County Election Commission in writing and be signed by the person or organization authorized to make the appointment
  • The same person may be appointed to serve in more than one polling location
  • A poll watcher must be age seventeen (17) or older by Election Day
  • A poll watcher must be a resident of Tennessee, but does not have to live in Davidson County

Who may not be appointed as a poll watcher?

  • Anyone who is a candidate for an office on the ballot
  • The spouse of a candidate

When must appointments be submitted to the Davidson County Election Commission?

Early Voting

No later than 12 noon two (2) business days before the poll watcher will be present at the early voting site

Election Day

No later than 12 noon two (2) business days before the election

How must appointments be submitted to the Davidson County Election Commission?

Submit appointments in one of the following ways:

  • Scan signed list and email to: joan.nixon@nashville.gov
  • Mail signed list (per deadlines above) to:
    Joan Nixon
    PO Box 650
    Nashville, TN 37202-0650
  • Hand-deliver signed list to:
    Davidson County Election Commission Main Office
    1417 Murfreesboro Pike
    Nashville, TN 37217

What must a poll watcher do upon arriving at the polling place?

  • Show his/her Poll Watcher Badge to the Officer of Elections
  • Sign the Visitor Log
  • Wear the badge provided by the Davidson County Election Commission and signed by Joan A. Nixon, Chief Deputy, at all times while in the polling place

What activities are permitted?

  • Watch and inspect performance in and around the polling place
  • Inspect the Technician’s Certification and paper poll book
  • Speak to the Officer of Elections
  • Challenge voters, through the Officer of Elections
  • Present a protest of any aspect of the conduct of the election to the Officer of Elections or Davidson County Election Commission
  • Be present during all proceedings at the polling place

What activities are prohibited?

  • Interfere with any voter in preparing or casting their ballot
  • Prevent election officials from performing their duties
  • Observe the giving of assistance to a voter
  • Wear campaign material of any kind during the performance of their duties as a poll watcher
  • Speak to voters; this includes greeting the voter or standing in the doorway where the voter enters
  • Exit the room of the Absentee Counting Board after the counting of ballots begins
  • Possess or use electronic devices when observing the duties of the Absentee Counting Board

May poll watchers engage in campaign activities?

  • In the polling place – no campaign activity is permitted
  • Outside the 100-foot boundary/campaign-free zone – yes, after removing the Poll Watcher Badge