In the state of Michigan it is legal to be both an Election Challenger and a Poll Watcher, but there are restrictions for both.

If you are interested in becoming an Election Challegener, or Poll Watcher, you need to know how to become one and what you can and cannot do.

First off, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, anyone can be a poll watcher as long as they follow a few rules which are available in a document on Michigan.gov.

Poll watchers:

  • Are not required to be registered to vote in Michigan.
  • Are subject to the same conduct standards as challengers.
  • Cannot be candidates for an elective office to be voted on at the election.
  • Are not authorized to challenge a person’s right to vote or the actions of the precinct board.
  • Are not permitted to position themselves or sit behind the election inspectors’ processing table.Must sit or stand in the “public area” of the polling place where they will not interfere with the voting process.
  • Are not authorized to approach or talk to voters for any reason.
  • Are allowed to view the Pollbook at the discretion of the precinct board chairperson.

It's a little more complicated to be an Election Challenger, since you must be deemed eligible by being appointed.  According to the document from the Secretary of State, you must be appointed by one of the following entities:

  • A political party that is eligible to appear on the ballot in Michigan.
  • An organized group of citizens interested in the passage or defeat of a ballot proposal being voted on at the election.
  • An organized group interested in preserving the purity of elections and guarding against the abuse of the elective franchise.
  • An incorporated organization.

The code of conduct as well as the rights of the Election Challengers is more strict than a Poll Watcher, that is why you must be appointed.

The guidelines we shared in this post are directly from Michigan's Secretary of State, but you should still read the entire document they provide so you can make sure you are conducting yourself legally at the polls if you go as a Poll Watcher or Election Challenger.