(15 ILCS 310/10b.1) (from Ch. 124, par. 110b.1)
    Sec. 10b.1. Competitive examinations.
    (a) For open competitive examinations to test the relative fitness of applicants for the respective positions. Tests shall be designed to eliminate those who are not qualified for entrance into the Office of the Secretary of State and to discover the relative fitness of those who are qualified. The Director may use any one of or any combination of the following examination methods which in his judgment best serves this end: investigation of education and experience; test of cultural knowledge; test of capacity; test of knowledge; test of manual skill; test of linguistic ability; test of character; test of physical skill; test of psychological fitness. No person with a record of misdemeanor convictions except those under Sections 11-1.50, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-14, 11-15, 11-17, 11-18, 11-19, 11-30, 11-35, 12-2, 12-6, 12-15, 14-4, 16-1, 21.1-3, 24-3.1, 24-5, 25-1, 28-3, 31-1, 31-4, 31-6, 31-7, 32-1, 32-2, 32-3, 32-4, and 32-8, subdivisions (a)(1) and (a)(2)(C) of Section 11-14.3, and sub-sections 1, 6 and 8 of Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012, or arrested for any cause but not convicted thereon shall be disqualified from taking such examinations or subsequent appointment unless the person is attempting to qualify for a position which would give him the powers of a peace officer, in which case the person's conviction or arrest record may be considered as a factor in determining the person's fitness for the position. All examinations shall be announced publicly at least 2 weeks in advance of the date of examinations and may be advertised through the press, radio or other media.
    The Director may, at his discretion, accept the results of competitive examinations conducted by any merit system established by Federal law or by the law of any State, and may compile eligible lists therefrom or may add the names of successful candidates in examinations conducted by those merit systems to existing eligible lists in accordance with their respective ratings. No person who is a non-resident of the State of Illinois may be appointed from those eligible lists, however, unless the requirement that applicants be residents of the State of Illinois is waived by the Director of Personnel and unless there are less than 3 Illinois residents available for appointment from the appropriate eligible list. The results of the examinations conducted by other merit systems may not be used unless they are comparable in difficulty and comprehensiveness to examinations conducted by the Department of Personnel for similar positions. Special linguistic options may also be established where deemed appropriate.
    (b) The Director of Personnel may require that each person seeking employment with the Secretary of State, as part of the application process, authorize an investigation to determine if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime and if so, the disposition of those convictions; this authorization shall indicate the scope of the inquiry and the agencies which may be contacted. Upon this authorization, the Director of Personnel may request and receive information and assistance from any federal, state or local governmental agency as part of the authorized investigation. The investigation shall be undertaken after the fingerprinting of an applicant in the form and manner prescribed by the Department of State Police. The investigation shall consist of a criminal history records check performed by the Department of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or some other entity that has the ability to check the applicant's fingerprints against the fingerprint records now and hereafter filed in the Department of State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history records databases. If the Department of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct an investigation directly for the Secretary of State's Office, then the Department of State Police shall charge a fee for conducting the criminal history records check, which shall be deposited in the State Police Services Fund and shall not exceed the actual cost of the records check. The Department of State Police shall provide information concerning any criminal convictions, and their disposition, brought against the applicant or prospective employee of the Secretary of State upon request of the Department of Personnel when the request is made in the form and manner required by the Department of State Police. The information derived from this investigation, including the source of this information, and any conclusions or recommendations derived from this information by the Director of Personnel shall be provided to the applicant or prospective employee, or his designee, upon request to the Director of Personnel prior to any final action by the Director of Personnel on the application. No information obtained from such investigation may be placed in any automated information system. Any criminal convictions and their disposition information obtained by the Director of Personnel shall be confidential and may not be transmitted outside the Office of the Secretary of State, except as required herein, and may not be transmitted to anyone within the Office of the Secretary of State except as needed for the purpose of evaluating the application. The only physical identity materials which the applicant or prospective employee can be required to provide the Director of Personnel are photographs or fingerprints; these shall be returned to the applicant or prospective employee upon request to the Director of Personnel, after the investigation has been completed and no copy of these materials may be kept by the Director of Personnel or any agency to which such identity materials were transmitted. Only information and standards which bear a reasonable and rational relation to the performance of an employee shall be used by the Director of Personnel. The Secretary of State shall adopt rules and regulations for the administration of this Section. Any employee of the Secretary of State who gives or causes to be given away any confidential information concerning any criminal convictions and their disposition of an applicant or prospective employee shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor unless release of such information is authorized by this Section.
(Source: P.A. 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11; 97-1150, eff. 1-25-13.)