Illinois Compiled Statutes
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10 ILCS 5/7-34
(10 ILCS 5/7-34)
(from Ch. 46, par. 7-34)
Pollwatchers in a primary election shall be authorized in
the following manner:
(1) Each established political party shall be
entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. Such pollwatchers must be affiliated with the political party for which they are pollwatching and must be a registered voter in Illinois.
(2) Each candidate shall be entitled to appoint two
pollwatchers per precinct. For Federal, State, county, township, and municipal primary elections, the pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois.
(3) Each organization of citizens within the county
or political subdivision, which has among its purposes or interests the investigation or prosecution of election frauds, and which shall have registered its name and address and the names and addresses of its principal officers with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the primary election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. For all primary elections, the pollwatcher must be registered to vote in Illinois.
(3.5) Each State nonpartisan civic organization
within the county or political subdivision shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct, provided that no more than 2 pollwatchers appointed by State nonpartisan civic organizations shall be present in a precinct polling place at the same time. Each organization shall have registered the names and addresses of its principal officers with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the primary election. The pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois. For the purpose of this paragraph, a "State nonpartisan civic organization" means any corporation, unincorporated association, or organization that:
(i) as part of its written articles of
incorporation, bylaws, or charter or by separate written declaration, has among its stated purposes the provision of voter information and education, the protection of individual voters' rights, and the promotion of free and equal elections;
(ii) is organized or primarily conducts its
activities within the State of Illinois; and
(iii) continuously maintains an office or
business location within the State of Illinois, together with a current listed telephone number (a post office box number without a current listed telephone number is not sufficient).
(4) Each organized group of proponents or opponents
of a ballot proposition, which shall have registered the name and address of its organization or committee and the name and address of its chair with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the primary election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. The pollwatcher must be registered to vote in Illinois.
(5) In any primary election held to nominate
candidates for the offices of a municipality of less than 3,000,000 population that is situated in 2 or more counties, a pollwatcher who is a resident of a county in which any part of the municipality is situated shall be eligible to serve as a pollwatcher in any polling place located within such municipality, provided that such pollwatcher otherwise complies with the respective requirements of subsections (1) through (4) of this Section and is a registered voter whose residence is within Illinois.
All pollwatchers shall be required to have proper credentials. Such
credentials shall be printed in sufficient quantities, shall be issued
by and under the facsimile signature(s) of the election authority and
shall be available for distribution at least 2 weeks prior to the
election. Such credentials shall be authorized by the real or facsimile
signature of the State or local party official or the candidate or the
presiding officer of the civic organization or the chair of the
proponent or opponent group, as the case may be.
Pollwatcher credentials shall be in substantially the following form:
TO THE JUDGES OF ELECTION:
In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code,
the undersigned hereby appoints ........... (name of pollwatcher)
at .......... (address) in the county of ...........,
.......... (township or municipality) of ........... (name), State of Illinois
and who is duly registered to vote from this address,
to act as a pollwatcher in the ........... precinct of the
.......... ward (if applicable) of the ...........
(township or municipality) of ........... at the
........... election to be held on (insert date).
........................ (Signature of Appointing Authority)
........................ TITLE (party official, candidate,
civic organization president,
proponent or opponent group chair)
Under penalties provided by law pursuant to Section 29-10 of the
Election Code, the undersigned pollwatcher certifies that he or she resides
at .............. (address) in the county of ........., ......... (township
or municipality) of .......... (name), State of Illinois, and is duly
registered to vote in Illinois.
(Precinct and/or Ward in
(Signature of Pollwatcher)
Which Pollwatcher Resides)
Pollwatchers must present their credentials to the Judges of Election
upon entering the polling place. Pollwatcher credentials properly
executed and signed shall be proof of the qualifications of the
pollwatcher authorized thereby. Such credentials are retained by the
Judges and returned to the Election Authority at the end of the day of election
with the other election materials. Once a pollwatcher has surrendered a
valid credential, he may leave and reenter the polling place provided
that such continuing action does not disrupt the conduct of the election.
Pollwatchers may be substituted during the course of the day, but established
political parties, candidates, qualified civic organizations and proponents
and opponents of a ballot proposition can have only as many pollwatchers
at any given time as are authorized in this Article. A substitute must
present his signed credential to the judges of election upon entering the
polling place. Election authorities must provide a sufficient number of
credentials to allow for substitution of pollwatchers.
After the polls have closed, pollwatchers shall be allowed to
remain until the canvass of votes is completed; but may leave and
reenter only in cases of necessity, provided that such action is not so
continuous as to disrupt the canvass of votes.
Candidates seeking office in a district or municipality encompassing 2
or more counties shall be admitted to any and all polling places throughout
such district or municipality without regard to the counties in which such
candidates are registered to vote. Actions of such candidates shall be
governed in each polling place by the same privileges and limitations that
apply to pollwatchers as provided in this Section. Any such candidate who
engages in an activity in a polling place which could reasonably be
construed by a majority of the judges of election as campaign activity
shall be removed forthwith from such polling place.
Candidates seeking office in a district or municipality encompassing 2 or
more counties who desire to be admitted to polling places on election day
in such district or municipality shall be required to have proper
credentials. Such credentials shall be printed in sufficient quantities,
shall be issued by and under the facsimile signature of the
election authority of the election jurisdiction where the polling place in
which the candidate seeks admittance is located, and shall be available for
distribution at least 2 weeks prior to the election. Such credentials shall
be signed by the candidate.
Candidate credentials shall be in substantially the following form:
TO THE JUDGES OF ELECTION:
In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code, I ...... (name of
candidate) hereby certify that I am a candidate for ....... (name of
office) and seek admittance to ....... precinct of the ....... ward (if
applicable) of the ....... (township or municipality) of ....... at the
....... election to be held on (insert date).
(Signature of Candidate) OFFICE FOR WHICH
Pollwatchers shall be permitted to observe all proceedings and view all reasonably requested records relating
to the conduct of the election, provided the secrecy of the ballot is not impinged, and to station themselves in a position
in the voting room as will enable them to observe the judges making the
signature comparison between the voter application and the voter
registration record card; provided, however, that such pollwatchers
shall not be permitted to station themselves in such close proximity to
the judges of election so as to interfere with the orderly conduct of
the election and shall not, in any event, be permitted to handle
election materials. Pollwatchers may challenge for cause the voting
qualifications of a person offering to vote and may call to the
attention of the judges of election any incorrect procedure or apparent
violations of this Code.
If a majority of the judges of election determine that the polling
place has become too overcrowded with pollwatchers so as to interfere
with the orderly conduct of the election, the judges shall, by lot,
limit such pollwatchers to a reasonable number, except that each
candidate and each established or new political party shall be permitted
to have at least one pollwatcher present.
Representatives of an election authority, with regard to an election
under its jurisdiction, the State Board of Elections, and law
enforcement agencies, including but not limited to a United States
Attorney, a State's attorney, the Attorney General, and a State, county,
or local police department, in the performance of their official
election duties, shall be permitted at all times to enter and remain in
the polling place. Upon entering the polling place, such
representatives shall display their official credentials or other
identification to the judges of election.
Uniformed police officers assigned to polling place duty shall follow
all lawful instructions of the judges of election.
The provisions of this Section shall also apply to supervised casting of vote by mail
ballots as provided in Section 19-12.2 of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 100-1027, eff. 1-1-19