State of Illinois
2013 and 2014


Introduced 2/15/2013, by Sen. John M. Sullivan


10 ILCS 5/17-23  from Ch. 46, par. 17-23

    Amends the Election Code. Provides that the State Board of Elections (now only local election authorities) can issue pollwatcher credentials. Effective immediately.

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1    AN ACT concerning elections.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Election Code is amended by changing Section
517-23 as follows:
6    (10 ILCS 5/17-23)  (from Ch. 46, par. 17-23)
7    Sec. 17-23. Pollwatchers in a general election shall be
8authorized in the following manner:
9    (1) Each established political party shall be entitled to
10appoint two pollwatchers per precinct. Such pollwatchers must
11be affiliated with the political party for which they are
12pollwatching. For all elections, the pollwatchers must be
13registered to vote in Illinois.
14    (2) Each candidate shall be entitled to appoint two
15pollwatchers per precinct. For all elections, the pollwatchers
16must be registered to vote in Illinois.
17    (3) Each organization of citizens within the county or
18political subdivision, which has among its purposes or
19interests the investigation or prosecution of election frauds,
20and which shall have registered its name and address and the
21name and addresses of its principal officers with the proper
22election authority at least 40 days before the election, shall
23be entitled to appoint one pollwatcher per precinct. For all



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1elections, the pollwatcher must be registered to vote in
3    (3.5) Each State nonpartisan civic organization within the
4county or political subdivision shall be entitled to appoint
5one pollwatcher per precinct, provided that no more than 2
6pollwatchers appointed by State nonpartisan civic
7organizations shall be present in a precinct polling place at
8the same time. Each organization shall have registered the
9names and addresses of its principal officers with the proper
10election authority at least 40 days before the election. The
11pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois. For the
12purpose of this paragraph, a "State nonpartisan civic
13organization" means any corporation, unincorporated
14association, or organization that:
15        (i) as part of its written articles of incorporation,
16    bylaws, or charter or by separate written declaration, has
17    among its stated purposes the provision of voter
18    information and education, the protection of individual
19    voters' rights, and the promotion of free and equal
20    elections;
21        (ii) is organized or primarily conducts its activities
22    within the State of Illinois; and
23        (iii) continuously maintains an office or business
24    location within the State of Illinois, together with a
25    current listed telephone number (a post office box number
26    without a current listed telephone number is not



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1    sufficient).
2    (4) In any general election held to elect candidates for
3the offices of a municipality of less than 3,000,000 population
4that is situated in 2 or more counties, a pollwatcher who is a
5resident of Illinois shall be eligible to serve as a
6pollwatcher in any poll located within such municipality,
7provided that such pollwatcher otherwise complies with the
8respective requirements of subsections (1) through (3) of this
9Section and is a registered voter in Illinois.
10    (5) Each organized group of proponents or opponents of a
11ballot proposition, which shall have registered the name and
12address of its organization or committee and the name and
13address of its chairman with the proper election authority at
14least 40 days before the election, shall be entitled to appoint
15one pollwatcher per precinct. The pollwatcher must be
16registered to vote in Illinois.
17    All pollwatchers shall be required to have proper
18credentials. Such credentials shall be printed in sufficient
19quantities, shall be issued by and under the facsimile
20signature(s) of the election authority or the State Board of
21Elections and shall be available for distribution by the
22election authority and State Board of Elections at least 2
23weeks prior to the election. Such credentials shall be
24authorized by the real or facsimile signature of the State or
25local party official or the candidate or the presiding officer
26of the civic organization or the chairman of the proponent or



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1opponent group, as the case may be. The election authority or
2the State Board of Elections may not require any such party
3official or the candidate or the presiding officer of the civic
4organization or the chairman of the proponent or opponent group
5to submit the names or other information concerning
6pollwatchers before making credentials available to such
7persons or organizations.
8    Pollwatcher credentials shall be in substantially the
9following form:
12    In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code, the
13undersigned hereby appoints .......... (name of pollwatcher)
14who resides at ........... (address) in the county of
15..........., .......... (township or municipality) of
16........... (name), State of Illinois and who is duly
17registered to vote from this address, to act as a pollwatcher
18in the ........... precinct of the ........... ward (if
19applicable) of the ........... (township or municipality) of
20........... at the ........... election to be held on (insert
22........................  (Signature of Appointing Authority)
23......................... TITLE  (party official,  candidate,
24                                civic organization president,
25                        proponent or opponent group chairman)



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1    Under penalties provided by law pursuant to Section 29-10
2of the Election Code, the undersigned pollwatcher certifies
3that he or she resides at ................ (address) in the
4county of ............, ......... (township or municipality)
5of ........... (name), State of Illinois, and is duly
6registered to vote in Illinois.
7..........................            .......................
8(Precinct and/or Ward in           (Signature of Pollwatcher)
9Which Pollwatcher Resides)
10    Pollwatchers must present their credentials to the Judges
11of Election upon entering the polling place. Pollwatcher
12credentials properly executed and signed shall be proof of the
13qualifications of the pollwatcher authorized thereby. Such
14credentials are retained by the Judges and returned to the
15Election Authority at the end of the day of election with the
16other election materials. Once a pollwatcher has surrendered a
17valid credential, he may leave and reenter the polling place
18provided that such continuing action does not disrupt the
19conduct of the election. Pollwatchers may be substituted during
20the course of the day, but established political parties,
21candidates and qualified civic organizations can have only as
22many pollwatchers at any given time as are authorized in this
23Article. A substitute must present his signed credential to the
24judges of election upon entering the polling place. Election



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1authorities must provide a sufficient number of credentials to
2allow for substitution of pollwatchers. After the polls have
3closed pollwatchers shall be allowed to remain until the
4canvass of votes is completed; but may leave and reenter only
5in cases of necessity, provided that such action is not so
6continuous as to disrupt the canvass of votes.
7    Candidates seeking office in a district or municipality
8encompassing 2 or more counties shall be admitted to any and
9all polling places throughout such district or municipality
10without regard to the counties in which such candidates are
11registered to vote. Actions of such candidates shall be
12governed in each polling place by the same privileges and
13limitations that apply to pollwatchers as provided in this
14Section. Any such candidate who engages in an activity in a
15polling place which could reasonably be construed by a majority
16of the judges of election as campaign activity shall be removed
17forthwith from such polling place.
18    Candidates seeking office in a district or municipality
19encompassing 2 or more counties who desire to be admitted to
20polling places on election day in such district or municipality
21shall be required to have proper credentials. Such credentials
22shall be printed in sufficient quantities, shall be issued by
23and under the facsimile signature of the election authority of
24the election jurisdiction where the polling place in which the
25candidate seeks admittance is located, and shall be available
26for distribution at least 2 weeks prior to the election. Such



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1credentials shall be signed by the candidate.
2    Candidate credentials shall be in substantially the
3following form:
6    In accordance with the provisions of the Election Code, I
7...... (name of candidate) hereby certify that I am a candidate
8for ....... (name of office) and seek admittance to .......
9precinct of the ....... ward (if applicable) of the .......
10(township or municipality) of ....... at the ....... election
11to be held on (insert date).
12.........................             .......................
13(Signature of Candidate)              OFFICE FOR WHICH
14                                      CANDIDATE SEEKS
15                                      NOMINATION OR
16                                      ELECTION
17    Pollwatchers shall be permitted to observe all proceedings
18and view all reasonably requested records relating to the
19conduct of the election, provided the secrecy of the ballot is
20not impinged, and to station themselves in a position in the
21voting room as will enable them to observe the judges making
22the signature comparison between the voter application and the
23voter registration record card; provided, however, that such
24pollwatchers shall not be permitted to station themselves in



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1such close proximity to the judges of election so as to
2interfere with the orderly conduct of the election and shall
3not, in any event, be permitted to handle election materials.
4Pollwatchers may challenge for cause the voting qualifications
5of a person offering to vote and may call to the attention of
6the judges of election any incorrect procedure or apparent
7violations of this Code.
8    If a majority of the judges of election determine that the
9polling place has become too overcrowded with pollwatchers so
10as to interfere with the orderly conduct of the election, the
11judges shall, by lot, limit such pollwatchers to a reasonable
12number, except that each established or new political party
13shall be permitted to have at least one pollwatcher present.
14    Representatives of an election authority, with regard to an
15election under its jurisdiction, the State Board of Elections,
16and law enforcement agencies, including but not limited to a
17United States Attorney, a State's attorney, the Attorney
18General, and a State, county, or local police department, in
19the performance of their official election duties, shall be
20permitted at all times to enter and remain in the polling
21place. Upon entering the polling place, such representatives
22shall display their official credentials or other
23identification to the judges of election.
24    Uniformed police officers assigned to polling place duty
25shall follow all lawful instructions of the judges of election.
26    The provisions of this Section shall also apply to



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1supervised casting of absentee ballots as provided in Section
219-12.2 of this Act.
3(Source: P.A. 94-645, eff. 8-22-05; 95-267, eff. 8-17-07;
495-699, eff. 11-9-07; 95-876, eff. 8-21-08.)
5    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
6becoming law.