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Philadelphia city commissioners

Candidates & Campaigns

Poll Watcher Certificates

Candidates running for office in the current election may be represented on election day by poll watchers. During a General or Special Election, parties with candidates on the ballot may also be represented by poll watchers. Poll watchers may enter a polling place and remain there throughout the day. They must adhere to all polling place rules and city regulations.

Poll watchers must be issued an official Poll Watcher Certificate by the City Commissioners Office for that election before being granted access to the polling place.

All Poll Watchers must be registered voters in Philadelphia. Poll Watcher Certificates must be authorized in advance by the candidate or political party to have a certificate issued on their behalf.

No more than two Poll Watcher Certificates may be issued for the same division on behalf of the same candidate. No more than three Poll Watcher Certificates may be issued for the same division on behalf of the same political party.

Poll watchers have these rights and responsibilities:

  • Poll watchers must present their certificate to the election board workers upon request
  • During voting hours, only one poll watcher representing a particular party or candidate may be present in the polling place at a given time
  • When no voters are present, poll watchers may inspect the poll book, #2 & #4 books, and request the public count from the voting machines
  • Poll watchers may remain in the polling place after the close of polls while votes are being tabulated by the voting machines

Poll watchers may not:

  • Engage in electioneering inside the polling place, or within 10 feet of the room
  • Photograph, video, or otherwise record anything inside the polling place
  • Interfere with the voting process in any way
  • Enter a voting booth or stand immediately in front of, beside, or behind the voting machines
  • Handle voting materials

Candidates can download and submit the form below to authorize the use of their names for Poll Watcher Certificates. Any questions about the authorization process may be directed to the County Board of Elections by calling 215-686-3469 or emailing

Download Candidate Authorization Form

You may submit as many watchers at once as you wish, provided they are all authorized by the same party/candidate.