Proper polling procedures

Election observers are at the polls keeping an open eye for rule violations

Vote sign
(Photo: WBAY)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Even if you’re voting for yourself, taking a “ballot selfie” at the polls and posting it could get you in a lot of trouble.

Paul Nehlen learned the hard way in April’s 1st District primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan. The candidate posted a picture of his marked ballot to his Twitter page. While Nehlen was not charged with a crime, rules regarding “ballot selfies” in Wisconsin are clear.

“It is a criminal offense to take a picture of your ballot and show it to anybody,” League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay president Julie Arneth explains.

But that is not the only thing Arneth watches at the polls. She is registered as an election observer.

The observer’s job is to report any rule violations to the chief election inspector. She explains what they look out for, “Concerns that there might be anything that is done that is not correct, and that any concerns that arise are legitimate concerns.”

Voters can also report to the chief election inspector if they see another voter or an observer breaking bylaws.

The rules for Election Day are the same at early voting locations across the state. If you need to report something you can contact the municipal clerk at the early voting location.

Observers themselves are not allowed to handle election documents, show political influence with a pin or a hat, use a camera or have conversations about the candidates. “You may not interrupt any of the process at the polling place,” Ameth explains. “You are there to observe and that’s it.”