During the day, in addition to seeing a lot of voters, let’s talk about other people you will encounter. We discussed the Chief Election Officer. The Chief is supported by an Assistant Chief. The Assistant Chief is usually an experienced election officer that helps the Chief carry out his or her responsibilities. The Assistant Chief should be able to assume the role as Chief if for any reason the Chief cannot fulfill their assignment.
According to Virginia law, the Chief and the Assistant Chief represent the two political parties. In Virginia, those two parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
The number of election officers assigned to a precinct depends on the size. In Fairfax County, we have precincts with over 5,000 voters and precincts with less than 1,000 voters.
On Election Day, you will also see Rovers. These people are technical experts that can help the election team trouble shoot issues with the voting equipment. They also carry extra equipment, election materials, and ballots.
The elections in each of the 133 localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia are overseen by a 3-member board. These individuals are politically appointed. Two of the members represent the Democratic Party and the remaining member represents the Republican Party. Why do the Democrats get two Board members? Virginia law says the majority on the Electoral Board represent the party of the Governor, and Ralph Northam, Virginia’s governor, is a Democrat.
Other people you might see on Election Day are candidates (campaigning outside the 40-ft prohibited area);
Authorized poll watchers – these are individuals who have permission from their political party or independent candidate to be inside the polling place to observe.
Poll workers – this is anyone working outside the 40-ft prohibited area…passing out sample ballots, candidate information, collecting signatures for petitions, even exit polling.
Press – news media are allowed to come inside and film or photograph for a limited amount of time. They cannot interview anyone inside the polling place. They cannot film or photograph in any way how a person votes their ballot. Remember, the voter must be able to vote privately and cast a secret ballot.
And finally, authorized visitors. These are usually delegations from other countries that want to observe the process and have asked the Electoral Board for permission to do so.