Election Observer Code of Conduct


What does an Election Observer do?

Observe any and all phases of the election process including:

  • Vote by mail and provisional ballot processing.
  • All activities at the elections office on Election Day.
  • Observe the post-election canvass.
  • Observe testing of election equipment prior to Election Day 

What is expected of the Election Observer?


Observers are responsible for: 

  • Checking in at each site, whether polling place or central counting site.
  • Wearing an identification badge.
  • Maintaining a professional manner while observing the election process.
  • Ensuring they do not interfere with the election process.
  • Following established county observation rules/policies.
  • Being courteous to poll workers and election officials. Speak to them only when it is convenient and does not interfere with the conduct of the election.

 Observers may: 

  • Observe the proceedings at the polls, including the opening and closing procedures.
  • Obtain information from the precinct index that is posted near the entrance.
  • Make notes and watch election procedures.
  • View election-related activities at the central counting site on Election Day.
  • View the canvass of the vote activities following the election.
  • View vote-by-mail and provisional ballot processing.
  • Ask questions of poll workers or voters at the polls as long as they do not interfere with the conduct of any part of the voting process.
  • Ask questions of supervisors at the central counting site as long as they do not interfere with the conduct of the election procedures.

 Observers may not: 

  • Interfere, in the judgment of the elections official, with the conduct of the election.
  • Physically handle any voting materials or equipment.
  • Move or rearrange tables, chairs, or voting booths at the polling place or central counting facility
  • Sit at the official worktables or view confidential voter information on any computer terminal or document.
  • Communicate with voters within 100 feet of the entrance to, or inside of, a polling place, a vote center, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location, regarding the casting of a vote, or speak to a voter regarding his or her qualifications to vote.
  • Display any election material or wear campaign badges, buttons or apparel.
  • Wear the uniform of a peace officer, a private guard, or security personnel.
  • Use the telephones, computers or other polling place facilities at polling places or the central counting site.
  • Talk to or attempt to stop the central counting site workers while they are processing ballots.
  • Make physical contact with election personnel.
  • Eat or drink in the polls or the central counting site.
  • Assist in operations at any polling place or the central counting site.
  • Prevent other observers from observing materials or a process.
  • Enter secure areas without the express permission of the elections official.

 Observers at Tabulation Locations: 

  • Well-designed video programs may provide a sufficient alternative, or way to supplement in-person observation by a small number of observers.
  • If a video is not feasible, make allowances for the space and personal disinfection needs of the observers as you build out these work areas.
  • Given that vote-by-mail ballots will make up a greater percentage of the results than in past years, anticipate and plan for a greater number of requests to observe the mail process, whether by video or in-person.


Observer Panel Feedback

After the election participants are encouraged to provide feedback about their experiences. Feedback may be provided in person, in writing, by telephone or email.

Colusa County Elections Department Contact Information

Phone: 530-458-0500

Email Clerk Information

Colusa County Elections Department
546 Jay Street, Suite 200
Colusa, CA 95932

Office hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 – 4:00