Challengers & Watchers

Maryland law permits properly designated individuals to serve as Challengers and/or Watchers on Election Day.  Accredited Challengers and/or Watchers are election observers who have access to Vote Center, Same Day Voter Registration on Election Day.

Challengers and/or Watchers represent candidates, recognized political parties, or proponents and opponents of ballot issues.  To be an accredited Challenger and/or Watcher, an individual must have a certificate completed by one of the following persons or entities:

  • The State Board of Supervisors of Elections
  • Local Board of Elections (County or city Clerk’s Office)
  • A candidate (including filed Write-In candidates)
  • Any other group of voters supporting or opposing a candidate, principle, or proposition on the ballot

A Challenger and/or Watcher has the right to:

  • Be in the Vote Center at least 1/2 hour before it opens.
  • Be in the Vote Center at any time during the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Be in the Vote Center during the completion of all tasks associated with closing the center; provided they are present prior to the closing of the center.
    • The Judge is not required to place a Challenger and/or Watcher where they can view Ballot Marking Stations.
  • Challenge a voter’s identity.
    • Judges have the discretion to determine if the Vote Center is too busy at the time of a request and then comply with the request during non-peak voting times.

A Challenger and/or Watcher cannot attempt to: 

  • Find out how a voter voted or intends to vote. 
  • Talk with any voter in the Vote Center. 
  • Move about the Vote Center during voting hours Assist any voter in voting. 
  • Interfere with the election process or impede a voter’s access to an Election Judge. 
  • Physically handle an original election document. 
  • Use a cell phone, laptop, pager, or other electronic equipment in the Vote Center.

Apply to become a Challenger and Watcher