Election Observer Plan

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

County Information
County of Marin
Lynda Roberts
Registrar of Voters
(415) 473-6401

System Information
Dominion Voting System:
ImageCast Central
ImageCastX ballot marking device

Purpose of Election Observer Panel

  • Provides an avenue for public observation of the election process
  • Assists in ensuring the integrity of the election process
  • Encourages participation and builds voter confidence in the election process
  • Provides feedback to Registrar of Voters


Prepare an Election Fact Sheet which includes observer opportunities with dates of key activities for the upcoming election. Distribute to Election Advisory Committee, City/Town Clerks, and post on Registrar of Voters website.

Between E-60 and E-40, send invitations to participate on the Logic and Accuracy Board/Observer Panel to the following organizations:

  • Marin County Grand Jury
  • League of Women Voters

Appointment Letters and Letters for Introduction to Poll Workers

Marin County’s formal Observer Panel is composed of members of the Logic and Accuracy Board/Observer Panel. The Registrar of Voters sends appointment letters to all members of this board and other individuals who wish to observe the election, and provides

  • Letter of introduction to Inspectors of polling places,
  • List of polling place addresses within the county,
  • Election Observer Guidelines,
  • Name Badge, and
  • Observer Feedback Form

Mechanism for Feedback

The Department provides questionnaires for observers to fill out for each polling place they visit on Election Day. Questionnaire provides feedback to election official.

General Rules for Observers

Observation at polling places on Election Day

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Observers may observe all aspects of operations at the polls including polling place set-up before the polls open, all activities while the polls are open, and polling place closing procedures. Following are guidelines for observers.

  • All observers must check in with the Chief Inspector at the polling place.
  • No eating or drinking is allowed in the work areas. Water is ok.
  • No talking on cell phones inside polling place.
  • No photos, videotaping or filming within 100’ of the polling place entrance and inside the polling place.
  • No campaign buttons, signs or literature allowed within 100 feet of the polling place entrance.
  • An observer’s function is to observe procedures at the polls. Observers cannot assist in operations, touch or handle any ballots or other election-related materials, challenge actions by poll workers or sit at official table.
  • Direct all questions to the Chief Inspector or Deputy Inspector.
  • Avoid physical contact with poll workers.
  • Hold discussions and conversations with other observers outside of the polling place.
  • Report problems with observation activities or concerns about procedures to the Registrar of Voters at (415) 473-6401.

Notice to Media

The Registrar of Voters provides information about election night vote counting activities to news media through a news advisory.

Meet with Observers

At E-18, the Registrar and Assistant Registrar meet with the Logic and Accuracy Board/Observer panel members from the Marin County League of Women Voters and the Marin County Grand Jury to conduct the Logic and Accuracy test and explain election observer responsibilities. As needed, the Registrar of Voters arranges to meet with additional observers to provide observer materials and answer questions.

Public Notice of Vote Counting

At E-18, the Registrar of Voters publishes a legal notice notifying the public of the addresses of all polling places in the county and the location of the central count site for mail ballots. At E+6, the Registrar of Voters will release a news advisory notifying the public of the time and place of the one percent manual tally, and time and place of selection of precincts to be tallied.

Rev. 1/7/2014