PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been a contentious campaign so far and fervent supporters say they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure their candidate wins the election.
But the question is, how far is too far?
It was in Ambridge on Oct. 11 that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised doubts.
“We don’t want this election stolen from us,” he said.
And, on the same day, in Manheim, Pennsylvania, he put out the call.
“You’ve got to get everyone you know and you’ve got to watch your polling place, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania,” Trump said.
So, how far can the supporters of any candidate go when it comes to watching you vote on Election Day?
“Political parties and candidates have the right to appoint watchers on their behalf who are permitted to be there all day, subject to certain rules and regulations,” says Allegheny County Director of Elections Mark Wolosik.
A poll watchers certificate is required.
“They have come in and request watchers’ certificates and we’ve issued them for this election,” Wolosik said.
As of Monday evening, with 1322 precincts to cover in Allegheny County, The Republican Party has received 2,644 certificates, the Democrats 3,966, the Clinton campaign 2,644, and the Green Party 25.
So, suffice it to say, the watchers will be there and they can challenge voters if they have suspicions.
Wolosik says, “As to identity, as to residency in the district.”
“There has to be a mechanism for challenge,” Dr. Mike Shamos, an election expert from Carnegie Mellon University, adds.
Dr. Shamos says challenges are part of the checks and balances of the election system.
“It can’t be done disruptively, so if somebody’s doing it obviously for the purpose of interfering with the election, the police will be called and they will be removed,” Dr. Shamos says.
Watchers can raise an issue first with the judge of elections at the polling place, then with the Board of Elections, and even an election court judge.
“If necessary, they can dispatch sheriffs to any polling place to resolve any problems that come up,” Wolosik said.
Only first-time voters are required to present identification, and if you are told you are not registered and you know you are, insist on casting a provisional ballot. It will be counted once your registration is verified by the Board of Elections.