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10 ILCS 5/17-23

    (10 ILCS 5/17-23) (from Ch. 46, par. 17-23)
    (Text of Section before amendment by P.A. 100-1027)
    Sec. 17-23. Pollwatchers in a general election shall be authorized in the following manner:
    (1) Each established political party shall be entitled to appoint two pollwatchers per precinct. Such pollwatchers must be affiliated with the political party for which they are pollwatching. For all elections, the pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois.
    (2) Each candidate shall be entitled to appoint two pollwatchers per precinct. For all 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 name and addresses of its principal officers with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. For all 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 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) In any general election held to elect 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 Illinois shall be eligible to serve as a pollwatcher in any poll located within such municipality, provided that such pollwatcher otherwise complies with the respective requirements of subsections (1) through (3) of this Section and is a registered voter in Illinois.
    (5) 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 chairman with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. The pollwatcher must be registered to vote in 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 or the State Board of Elections and shall be available for distribution by the election authority and State Board of Elections 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 chairman of the proponent or opponent group, as the case may be. Neither the election authority nor the State Board of Elections may require any such party official or the candidate or the presiding officer of the civic organization or the chairman of the proponent or opponent group to submit the names or other information concerning pollwatchers before making credentials available to such persons or organizations.
    Pollwatcher credentials shall be in substantially the following form:
 
POLLWATCHER CREDENTIALS
TO THE JUDGES OF ELECTION:
    In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code, the undersigned hereby appoints .......... (name of pollwatcher) who resides 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 chairman)
 
    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 and qualified civic organizations 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 State Board of Elections or 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:
 
CANDIDATE CREDENTIALS
    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
                                      CANDIDATE SEEKS
                                      NOMINATION OR
                                      ELECTION
 
    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 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. 98-115, eff. 7-29-13; 98-1171, eff. 6-1-15.)
 
    (Text of Section after amendment by P.A. 100-1027)
    Sec. 17-23. Pollwatchers in a general election shall be authorized in the following manner:
    (1) Each established political party shall be entitled to appoint two pollwatchers per precinct. Such pollwatchers must be affiliated with the political party for which they are pollwatching. For all elections, the pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois.
    (2) Each candidate shall be entitled to appoint two pollwatchers per precinct. For all 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 name and addresses of its principal officers with the proper election authority at least 40 days before the election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. For all 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 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) In any general election held to elect 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 Illinois shall be eligible to serve as a pollwatcher in any poll located within such municipality, provided that such pollwatcher otherwise complies with the respective requirements of subsections (1) through (3) of this Section and is a registered voter in Illinois.
    (5) 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 election, shall be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. The pollwatcher must be registered to vote in 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 or the State Board of Elections and shall be available for distribution by the election authority and State Board of Elections 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. Neither the election authority nor the State Board of Elections may require any such party official or the candidate or the presiding officer of the civic organization or the chair of the proponent or opponent group to submit the names or other information concerning pollwatchers before making credentials available to such persons or organizations.
    Pollwatcher credentials shall be in substantially the following form:
 
POLLWATCHER CREDENTIALS
TO THE JUDGES OF ELECTION:
    In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code, the undersigned hereby appoints .......... (name of pollwatcher) who resides 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 and qualified civic organizations 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 State Board of Elections or 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:
 
CANDIDATE CREDENTIALS
    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
                                      CANDIDATE SEEKS
                                      NOMINATION OR
                                      ELECTION
 
    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 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.)