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home : local news : local news
November 16, 2018

3/12/2018 2:39:00 PM
Pre-vote reminder: 'Electioneering' is against the law
Also: A refresher on rights, responsibilities of "pollwatchers'"
Daily News

In the excitement of a heated or contested political race, campaigners sometimes forget the law governing "electioneering" near a polling place.

Electioneering is prohibited in all polling places and within 100 feet of any polling place. If the polling place is more than 100 feet inside a building, the 100 feet begins at the designated primary entrance to the building.

"Electioneering" is defined as "working in support of, against or in opposition to, or in the interest of a candidate, party, or proposition and includes any political discussion, the wearing a campaign shirt, button, hat or any other item that is electioneering, displaying or distributing any political literature or brochure; with the exception of a sample ballot, which may be taken into the polling place."

Illinois election law says only the following authorized individuals can be in a polling place:

• Election judges

• Qualified pollwatchers

• Voters, while voting

• Representatives of the election authority, state Board of Elections, Attorney General's Office, State's Attorney's Office

• Local, state or federal law enforcement officials acting in their official capacities.

Pollwatchers are candidates, political parties, qualified organizations of citizens, organized proponents and opponents of a ballot proposition. Also, nonpartisan civic organizations may appoint pollwatchers. The pollwatchers' role is established by law.

Pollwatchers, sometimes referred to as challengers, checkers or simply watchers, are election observers who aid in ensuring the free and fair conduct of elections. Pollwatchers may be in the polling place before the polls open, during the actual voting hours, and after the polls close.

Pollwatchers are permitted to observe all proceedings and view all reasonable requested records relating to the conduct of the election, provided the secrecy of the ballot is not impinged. Pollwatchers are not allowed to touch any supplies or materials and at no time may pollwatchers be so close to the judges that they interfere with the orderly conduct of the election.

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