Transparency: Watchers & Media

What is a Watcher?

To be a watcher, you must be registered to vote in Colorado and formally appointed by an authorized individual or entity.  Please note: Candidates and family members of candidates (by blood, marriage or civil union) are not permitted to be watchers for that candidate.

Who Can Appoint Watchers?

Under State law, certain individuals and entities are entitled to appoint watchers, depending on the type of the election. (See Colorado Revised Statutes for more information.)

  • Primary Elections: (C.R.S. 1-7-105)
    • Political party Candidates
    • The chairperson of the county committee for a political party participating in the primary election may appoint watchers who are either affiliated with that party or unaffiliated.
  • General (Even-Year) Elections: (C.R.S. 1-7-106)
    • A major or minor political party with a candidate on the ballot (watchers must be affiliated with their political party or unaffiliated.)
    • An unaffiliated candidate on the ballot (watchers must be unaffiliated.)
    • A registered issue committee for or against an issue on the ballot
    • A write-in candidate
  • Coordinated (Odd-Year) Elections: (C.R.S. 1-7-107)
    • Candidates for office
    • Registered agents or designated filing agents for issue committee pro/against measures on the ballot.

How to Appoint Watchers

  • A party chairperson, authorized official, issue committee, or candidate should contact Summit County Clerk & Recorder at 
  • Return both the spreadsheet and signature image via email to at least one business day before the watcher plans to observe a Voting Service and Polling Center (VSPC) or Election Facility To the extent possible, please submit names by the close of business on the Friday immediately preceding the election for Election Day watchers.
  • The Summit County Clerk & Recorder has to verify the voter registration for each poll watcher name, create a PDF Certificate of Appointment and Oath of Watcher for each qualified name, and return the certificates to you via email.  You may then distribute each certificate to the respective poll watcher.
  • The watcher must print and bring the certificate with them to the VSPC or Election Facility where they plan to observe. (Only one copy is needed; the poll watcher does need to surrender his/her certificate at the location.) They will sign the Oath at the VSPC or Election Facility witnessed by the election official checking them in.

Watcher Training

  • Individuals interested in serving as a watcher are strongly encouraged to complete the Colorado Secretary of State's online Watcher Training Course before being appointed.
  • This course is required under Colorado Election Rules in order for a watcher to observe activities where voters’ confidential or personally identifying information is within view. This includes viewing the voter registration system, or any other paper or electronic documentation that shows a voter’s signature, date of birth, driver’s license number or Social Security Number.


The Summit County Clerk & Recorder facilitates tours and observation opportunities for media. Email for more information. Be sure to request to be added to the media distribution email list for timely results and other information surrounding voter registration and elections.