A pollwatcher is a representative of a candidate, political party, civic organization or proposition who is legally in the polling place to observe the conduct of the election.
To be a pollwatcher in Peoria County, the pollwatcher must be registered to vote in Illinois.
A pollwatcher must surrender a signed credential to the judges of election upon entering a polling place. After a credential has been surrendered, a pollwatcher may leave that polling place and return, without presenting an additional credential. However, if a pollwatcher monitors multiple polling places, the pollwatcher must present a credential at each of those polling places where the pollwatcher plans to monitor.
Pollwatchers are observers only.
They may observe the conduct of the election before, during and after the polls close. Pollwatchers have the right to:
Hear and see instructions given to each voter.
Compare signatures in the poll book with the signatures on the ballot application.
Observe the judge make the proper marking in the poll book to indicate the voter has voted.
Challenge the right of any voter if the pollwatcher believes the voter is not qualified to vote. Note: This challenge must be directed only to election judges (never to the voters). The judges determine whether the challenge is valid.
Observe the judge initial the ballot.
Observe voters deposit their ballots into the scanner without infringing on the secrecy of any voter's ballot.
Obtain a copy of close polls tapes.
Call the Election Commission at 309.324.2300 if the poll watcher believes the judges are not carrying out their duties properly.
Pollwatchers may not:
- Remain in the polling place without surrendering a credential to the judges.
- Instruct voters inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the door to the room serving as the polling place.
- Electioneer inside the polling place.
- Examine spindled applications for ballot, the poll book or other official election materials.
- Observe a voter receiving lawful assistance at a voting unit.
- Touch or handle any election materials.
- Be disorderly or disruptive of the voting process.
- Continue protesting to the judges after the judges have ruled on a challenge.
- Film, photograph or otherwise record inside the polling place.
Pollwatchers at Nursing Home Voting:
Voting in nursing homes is scheduled on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday prior to the election.
Pollwatchers during nursing home voting must meet the same requirements as pollwatchers on Election Day.
Once a pollwatcher has surrendered a valid credential to the election judges, the pollwatcher may leave and reenter the nursing home during voting unless the action disrupts the conduct of voting.
A pollwatcher is allowed to be present in the nursing home during the conduct of voting and until its completion. A pollwatcher may accompany the judges into the voting area, but may not observe the ballot being marked or the ballot after it has been marked nor may they listen to a voter direct the marking of the ballot.
When non-ambulatory voting (room-to-room) is occurring, the pollwatcher must remain outside the door of the room. The door must remain open to ensure the integrity of the election.