The Washington Post:
Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown doesn’t recall seeing many poll watchers during early voting last year — they usually turn up only on Election Day, primarily during presidential elections.
“This year,” she said, “we have had poll watchers here every day, all day long, watching the process of what’s going on.”
And in a county that has been trending blue for years, more poll watchers are wearing Republican badges, Brown said, often outnumbering Democrats 2 to 1 at each location. They observe the voter check-in and the ballot drop boxes. They have asked to observe election officers opening voting equipment. They watch as election officers report the vote tallies at the end of the night and ensure slates are blank when the polls open in the morning….
While many “believed strongly” that voter fraud was a problem, he said, many poll-watching volunteers just wanted to ensure basic election laws and procedures were followed.
A number of Republican poll watchers The Post encountered at early-voting locations in Northern Virginia expressed as much. At the Mount Vernon Governmental Center in Fairfax County on a Tuesday afternoon this month, Tammy Chincheck said she wanted to be a poll watcher because her grandmother had been one — and because she just retired as a history teacher and had found the time. It had nothing to do with fears of voter fraud. “I’m just fulfilling my civic duty,” she said.
“They make sure I’m not making any errors or mistakes!” the polling location’s supervisor, James Hix, cracked as he stepped in to inform Chincheck and her Democratic counterpart of the latest vote tally.
Hix, too, said he was impressed by the “tremendous” increase in poll watchers this year — some elections in his 31-year career he wouldn’t see any at all, he added.
“I’m running out of Republican badges,” hesaid, and so he reminded Chincheck not to throw hers away.