• Oklahoma law says you can't just hang around polls on election day, despite calls by action groups

    By: Rick Maranon

    Updated:

    TULSA COUNTY, Okla. - Quick facts:

    • Some political groups are calling for voters to act as poll monitors.
    • Oklahoma law says poll monitors can only be present when a polling place opens and closes.
    • Those who want to be poll monitors must register within 24 hours of an election.

     

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and a few political action groups are encouraging voters to become poll monitors once they've castes their vote, but the Tulsa County Election Board says the process is a bit more complicated than showing up on Election Day morning and sticking around.

    Patty Bryant, Tulsa County Election Board secretary, says poll monitors are an actual thing, but the title sounds more exciting than the job actually is.

    Oklahoma laws allows poll monitors to be at a polling place only when the location is opening and closing.

    Only if a problem arises will a monitor be called to watch a fix being made if they wish to see that.

    The law says individuals cannot just show up on Election Day and sit at a polling place. Poll monitors must register within 24 hours of an election, and they must be with an established campaign or with one of the three major political parties in Oklahoma.

    Poll watchers, Bryant says, do not have the power to disrupt the process or someone from casting their ballot. If they see a problem, they're asked to call the election board and the local police, and they may not act on their own ambitions and suspicions.

    Under Oklahoma law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor with a $10,000 fine and one year in prison for disrupting an election or preventing a registered voter from casting a ballot.

    Some groups believe campaigns sending poll monitors to certain precincts, such as those used predominately by minorities, could create voter intimidation and discourage someone from casting a ballot out of fear, but Bryant says since poll monitors are really only there only for the first and last five minutes of an election in Oklahoma.

    She could not recall any cases of such intimidation in Tulsa County.

    Both liberal and conservative groups are asking people to have their cell phones ready to capture anything they see that is either fraudulent or suspicious. Bryant says cell phones and elections have a grey area in state law, especially since many voters will look up information and candidates at the polls with their phones.

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