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Posted on: October 26, 2012

County Attorney Issues Statement on Foreign Observers of Arizona Elections

PHOENIX, AZ (October 26, 2012) – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery reminds representatives of international organizations interested in observing upcoming state and federal elections in Arizona that they must comply with state statutes that set forth the limitations on who may enter a polling place.

“While we certainly appreciate the interest from foreign citizens who want to observe our democracy in action, we must be mindful of the statutory guarantees that protect and facilitate our right to vote,” remarked County Attorney Montgomery. “The law is very clear on public access to polling places and I encourage any guests from out of town to become familiar with it,” he added.

In particular, Montgomery referenced relevant sections of Title 16 of the Arizona Revised Statutes which govern voting and polling place procedures. These hold that:

NO PERSON may remain inside the 75-foot limit before entering a polling place or inside a polling place while the polls are open, except:

  • for the purpose of voting, or to assist a voter
  • the election officials,
  • Department of Justice Observers, if any, and
  • one political party observer of each political party represented on the ballot and appointed in writing pursuant to ARS § 16-590.

Voters having cast their ballots shall promptly leave the polling place and move outside the 75-foot limit.

  • There is NO exception for:
  • members of the press,
  • persons who conduct exit polls, or
  • “checkers” (The duplicate copy of the poll lists may be taken out to the checkers by the party representatives).

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