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Watcher Information

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who Can Be A watcher?

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Who cannot be a watcher?

Star bulletpoint   An eligible elector other than a candidate on the ballot who has been selected by a political party chairperson on behalf of the political party, by a party candidate at a primary election, by an unaffiliated candidate at a general, congressional vacancy, or nonpartisan election, or by a person designated by either the opponents or the proponents in the case of a ballot issue or ballot question.

Star bulletpoint   If selected as a watcher by a political party chairperson, a party candidate, or an unaffiliated candidate, the watcher shall be affiliated with the political party or unaffiliated as shown on the registration books of the county clerk and recorder.

Star bulletpoint   "Neither candidates nor members of their immediate families by blood, marriage, or civil union, to the second degree, may be poll watchers for that candidate” [C.R.S. § 1-7-108(2)].

Star bulletpoint   “A political party attorney may not be in the polling location unless he or she is a duly appointed watcher or is casting his or her ballot” Colorado Secretary of State Election Rules [8 CCR 1505-1] Rule 8.3.


who may appoint watchers?

Primary Election
Section 1-7-105, C.R.S.

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A political party chairperson on behalf of the party
A party candidate on the ballot

General Election or Congressional Vacancy Election
Section 1-7-106, C.R.S.

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A political party chairperson on behalf of the party
An unaffiliated or write-in candidate 
A registered issue committee for or against a ballot issue

Coordinated Election
Section 1-7-107, C.R.S.
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A candidate
A registered issue committee for or against a ballot issue

Recall Election
Election Rule 8.2

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Interested parties


How to appoint a watcher

Appointing authorities may fill out a Watcher Appointment Request Form, listing those people they wish to give watcher status to and the Voter Service and Polling Center or Ballot Processing area where they will be assigned. Appointing authorities also are required to submit a training Certificate of Completion for each person listed on the Watcher Appointment Request Form.



Know the Rules
Carefully read the state statutes and Colorado Secretary of State Rules regarding watchers.


Download and Complete the Form
To appoint poll watchers, download a copy of the Watcher Appointment Request Form to list your appointees.

Save the Watcher Appointment Request Form spreadsheet to your 
system. When clicking on the appointment form link above, if you get a
message to Open, Save or Save As, choose Save As and save to your
system to proceed.


Provide a Signature Image
Prepare a .jpg or .gif file of an electronic signature for your organization’s appointing authority along with your Watcher Appointment Request Form. If you do not provide an electronic signature, all certificates will need to be signed before being issued to the watchers.


Submit Your Request
Submit the Watcher Appointment Request Form, Watcher Training Certificate(s) of Completion and Signature Image file as early as possible. Email the completed form and image file as attachments to

What Happens Next?

All names on your appointment list will be checked to be sure they are registered to vote in Colorado. Then Appointment Certificates will be created and emailed to you as a PDF file.

The certificates may then be printed and distributed to each watcher. Remember, if an electronic signature wasn’t provided, the appointing authority must sign each form before they can be distributed to watchers. You will be emailed one certificate for each watcher for each location.

A certificate is only good for that identified watcher and is not transferable to another person. Watchers may come and go throughout the day at the same location without presenting a new certificate and also may be designated to observe in more than one location.

Upon first entering the assigned location, watchers must present the Certificate of Appointment to the supervisor judge or other authorized election worker at each location where the watcher is designated to observe.  The oath of watcher will be administered and both the supervisor and watcher must sign the oath on the certificate.

The watcher must affirm that he or she will not:

  • Attempt to determine how any elector voted;
  • Attempt to review confidential voter information unless they have taken the watcher training provided by the Secretary of State under Election Rule 8.1.5; or,
  • Disclose or record any confidential voter information that he or she may observe; or
  • Disclose any results before the polls have closed and the election official has announced the results.

Additional Directions

The minimum number of watchers the county clerk must accommodate for each appointing entity and location assignment is further defined in Election Rule 8.8.

A watcher may not:

  • Personally interrupt or disrupt the processing, verification and counting of any ballots or any other stage of the election, except as permitted by the clerk and recorder under Election Rule 8.13.
  • Write down any ballot numbers or any other identifying information about the electors.
  • Touch or handle the official signature cards, ballots, mail ballot envelopes, provisional ballot envelopes, voting or counting machines, or machine components.
  • Interfere with the orderly conduct of any election process, including issuance of ballots, receiving of ballots, and voting or counting of ballots.
  • Interact with election judges other than a designated watcher contact, except as permitted by the county clerk under Election Rule 8.13.
  • Use a mobile phone or other electronic device to make or receive a call in any polling location or other place election activities are conducted.
  • Use any electronic device to take or record pictures, video, or audio in any polling location or other place election activities are conducted.
  • Attempt to determine how any elector voted.
  • Disclose or record any confidential voter information as defined in section 24-72-204(8), C.R.S., that he or she may observe.
  • Disclose any results before the polls have closed.

If a watcher is removed for any reason, the county clerk must notify the party, candidate or committee who appointed the watcher. The removed watcher may be replaced by an alternate watcher.

For additional information regarding watchers, please refer to sections 1-1-104(51), 1-7-105, 1-7-106, 1-7-107, and 1-7-108 C.R.S., and Election Rules 1.1.46 and 8.