Illinois law provides for pollwatchers to be present in the
polling place before, during and after the polls close.
Pollwatchers are intended to observe the conduct of the election
and their prime concern is the integrity and fairness
A pollwatcher must be a registered voter in the State of
Authorization to become a poll watcher:
Pollwatcher's are appointed by and represent:
- established political parties,
- organization within the political subdivision, which has among
its purposes the investigation or prosecution of election frauds,
- organized proponents or opponents of ballot propositions.
Each pollwatcher must have credentials issued by the
Rockford Board of Elections to enter City of Rockford
The Board of Elections issues the credentials to the established
political parties, candidates, qualified civic organizations, or
organized proponents or opponents of ballot propositions. They in
turn issue credentials to persons they wish to ask to be
The credentials must be presented by the pollwatcher to the
election judges immediately upon entering the polling place. The
credentials are kept by the judges and the pollwatchers may leave
and re-enter that polling place on the same credential. However, a
new credential is required for each polling place the pollwatcher
wishes to enter.
Specific rights of the Pollwatcher:
A pollwatcher may be close enough to observe the entire election
process from viewing an empty ballot box first thing in the morning
through the closing of the polls, but may not handle any election
materials or interfere with the election process.
A pollwatcher may challenge a person's right to vote. The reason
for the challenge must be stated. The judges of election determine
whether or not to sustain a challenge by majority vote.
What to do if a pollwatcher observes an error or
The pollwatcher should politely inform the election judges, if an
error or an apparent violation is observed. If the error or
violation continues, the pollwatcher should record the
observations, immediately contact the Board of Elections at (815)
987-5750 and remain at the polling place until proper authorities
arrive. Under NO circumstances should a
pollwatcher argue with the election judges or interfere with the