Cruz calls for standardized training for poll watches in proposed legislation

HARRISBURG, June 17 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., is introducing legislation (H.B. 1643) that would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to develop a mandatory professional certification and poll watcher training program to be used by county election officials.

“The only lawful requirement for a poll watcher is that they must be a registered voter in the county of the polling place and certified by their county board of elections, but there is no official training process. Insufficiently trained poll watchers can lead to chaos, disorder and disruption of an election,” Cruz said. “In fact, the haphazard training poll watchers do receive is from their candidate, a political party or organization which, in today’s political climate, could easily result in voter intimidation and suppression. We must do all we can to prevent that from happening.”

Cruz’s legislation would establish a state mandated uniform training and certification procedure to be used by all 67 county election boards. It would also limit poll watchers to perform election activities in the district they permanently reside in.

“Election tampering has been reported in many areas in our commonwealth, and nationally,” Cruz said. “It’s important that the basic American cornerstone of representative democracy- the right to vote- is protected at all costs.”