Election Observers

Interested in Becoming an Observer?

Generally, the following “appointing authorities” are permitted to appoint observers at any primary, special, or general election:

  1. Any political party (county or state) that is supporting candidates to be voted upon at that election.
  2. Any group of five or more candidates.
  3. Any ballot issue committee recognized by the board of elections pursuant to law as supporting or opposing a ballot issue. Any committee that in good faith advocates or opposes a ballot question or issue may file a petition with the county board of elections asking to be recognized as the committee entitled to appoint observers for the election. Such petitions must be filed no later than 4:00 p.m. on the 20th day before election. If more than one committee files to be the recognized committee advocating or opposing a measure, the board must decide which committee will be recognized as being entitled to appoint observers. The board must make a decision not less than 12 days prior to the election and send a notice via registered mail to each committee.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections does NOT appoint observers – ONLY those appointing authorities listed above. Please contact your local or state party directly if you are interested in becoming an observer.

Educational Materials

Chapter 9 of the Ohio Election Official Manual

Section 9.08 of this document contains details on Election Observers, the appointment process, etc.

Understanding the Role of an Observer

Key information about the role and expectations of Election Observers.

Ohio Secretary of State Forms

Election Observer Notices & Certificates Forms 214-220

Observer Oath - Ohio Revised Code 3505.21(F):

Every observer is required to take an oath prior to observing. The oath is prescribed by law as follows:

“You do solemnly swear that you will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties as an official observer, assigned by law; that you will not cause any delay to persons offering to vote; and/or that you will not disclose or communicate to any person how any elector has voted at such election.”

Observer Hotline

You can call this number on Election Day.


216-443-VOTE (8683)

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If you would like to contact our staff, please email us at electioninfo@cuyahogacounty.gov.