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§ 10-311. Challengers and watchers

West's Annotated Code of MarylandElection Law

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Election Law (Refs & Annos)
Title 10. Polling Places
Subtitle 3. Polling Place Procedures (Refs & Annos)
MD Code, Election Law, § 10-311
Formerly cited as MD CODE Art. 33, § 10-311
§ 10-311. Challengers and watchers
Designation and removal of challengers and watchers
(a)(1) The following persons or entities have the right to designate a registered voter as a challenger or a watcher at each place of registration and election:
(i) the State Board for any polling place in the State;
(ii) a local board for any polling place located in the county of the local board;
(iii) a candidate;
(iv) a political party; and
(v) any other group of voters supporting or opposing a candidate, principle, or proposition on the ballot.
(2) A person who appoints a challenger or watcher may remove the challenger or watcher at any time.
Rights of challengers and watchers
(b) Except as provided in § 10-303(d)(2) of this subtitle and subsection (d) of this section, a challenger or watcher has the right to:
(1) enter the polling place one-half hour before the polls open;
(2) enter or be present at the polling place at any time when the polls are open;
(3) remain in the polling place until the completion of all tasks associated with the close of the polls under § 10-314 of this subtitle and the election judges leave the polling place;
(4) maintain a list of registered voters who have voted, or individuals who have cast provisional ballots, and take the list outside of the polling place; and
(5) enter and leave a polling place for the purpose of taking outside of the polling place information that identifies registered voters who have cast ballots or individuals who have cast provisional ballots.
Certificate as evidence of right to be present
(c)(1)(i) A certificate signed by any party or candidate shall be sufficient evidence of the right of a challenger or watcher to be present in the voting room.
(ii) The State Board shall prescribe a form that shall be supplied to the challenger or watcher by the person or entity designating the challenger or watcher.
(2) A challenger or watcher shall be positioned near the election judges and inside the voting room so that the challenger or watcher may see and hear each person as the person offers to vote.
Prohibited activities
(d)(1) A challenger or watcher may not attempt to:
(i) ascertain how a voter voted or intends to vote;
(ii) converse in the polling place with any voter;
(iii) assist any voter in voting; or
(iv) physically handle an original election document.
(2) An election judge may eject a challenger or watcher who violates the prohibitions under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
Individuals other than accredited challengers or watchers
(e)(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, an election judge shall permit an individual other than an accredited challenger or watcher who desires to challenge the right to vote of any other individual to enter the polling place for that purpose.
(2) A majority of the election judges may limit the number of nonaccredited challengers and watchers allowed in the polling place at any one time for the purpose of challenging the right of an individual to vote.
(3) A nonaccredited challenger or watcher shall leave the polling place as soon as a majority of the election judges decides the right to vote of the individual challenged by the challenger or watcher.
(4) In addition to restrictions provided under this subsection, all restrictions on the actions of an accredited challenger or watcher provided under this subtitle apply to a nonaccredited challenger or watcher.


Added as Art. 33, § 10-311, by Acts 1998, c. 585, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. Transferred to Election Law § 10-311 by Acts 2002, c. 291, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2003. Amended by Acts 2002, c. 291, § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, c. 379, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2003.
Formerly Art. 33, § 10-311.
MD Code, Election Law, § 10-311, MD ELEC LAW § 10-311
Current through legislation effective February 15, 2021, from the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
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