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Erie County GOP calls for volunteer poll watchers

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Posted at 9:17 PM, Nov 07, 2022

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County GOP is calling for volunteer poll watchers to monitor election day voting.

"We're making sure we know which polling places are turning out in key areas, so that we can continue to have our volunteers make phone calls, and make voter contact to make sure every last Republican, Conservative and Independent voter who wants to change this state is out tomorrow night," Michael Kracker, the Chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee, said.

Kracker said they'll be sending poll watchers across the county, but will focus on areas where there are tight races.

"We're obviously going to be monitoring our key races. We've got a very key race here in the Town of Tonawanda, Amherst and Grand Island with the 61st Senate District race. The 142nd Assembly seat is very close. But then we have a county wide ticket, so every polling place matters," Kracker said.

While monitoring polls, these volunteers must follow the state's poll watcher laws.

The first rule, which only applies to primaries, is that any party committee and any candidate on the ballot can have three poll watchers per election district at a time.

Second, watchers can only be present at the polling place at least 15 minutes before the examination of any voting machine or ballot box at the opening of polls and until the signing of the inspectors returns and proclamations of the result.

"Poll watchers are able to get a poll watching certificate from either a campaign or a party to go to the polls and collect the information at the beginning of the day or the end of the night or different points during the day to get how many voters are at each sight," Jeremy Zellner, the Democratic Commissioner for the Erie County Board of Elections.

Third, watchers must be appointed by a certificate in writing, issued by an appointing authority. Watchers are appointed by the chair or an other officer of a party committee, independent body, or political committee.

Fourth, each watcher must be a qualified voter of the country in which he or she is to serve.

"A lot of times it's committee members, rank and file folks that are getting the numbers for the districts that they represent. A lot of times it's candidates that want to monitor the turnout at certain places," Zellner said.

That's exactly what the Chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee said their goal is: to monitor the turnout. They're not calling for poll watchers, because they don't trust the election process.

"I have the utmost confidence in our Erie County Board of Elections team. I'm in constant communication with my partner Commissioner Ralph Mohr and his counterpart Commissioner Zellner," Kracker said.