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Illinois Poll Watchers Will Observe Electoral Process; Credentials Are Required

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Certain political candidates are encouraging their supporters to keep an eye out for possible voting fraud on Election Day. 

Jim Tenuto is with the State Board of Elections.  He says poll watchers come in early to see how things are set up. They observe throughout the day and stick around to keep an eye on the vote-counting process. Tenuto says poll watchers can raise a red flag if they think somebody is trying to commit fraud.


“They could challenge a person’s right to vote, obviously in a polite way," he said. "They may say, ‘Oh, by the way, I think this person was here earlier in the morning. He’s coming back a second time.’ If there is a challenge up, the judge will make the decision as to whether to sustain or overrule that challenge."


He adds that state poll watchers have to be affiliated with a political party, candidate or civic organization. The State Board of Elections or a local election authority also must sign off on them.

“Somebody just can’t show up at the polling place (and say) ‘I want to be a poll watcher, I want to watch,’" Tenuto explained. "You can’t do that; you have to have credentials.”


Even so, he says it may not be too late for those who want to serve as poll watchers on election day.