Who are Pollwatchers?

Pollwatchers are official election process observers in the voting site before, during, and after voting on Election Day. With proper credentials, pollwatchers and candidates may also be present during other election events including early and nursing home voting along with vote-by-mail and provisional ballot processing.

Qualifications and Credentials


All pollwatchers must be registered to vote in Illinois and affiliated with the political party or
the organization for which they are poll watching. (10 ILCS 5/7-34; 5/17-23)

Pollwatchers must have proper credentials which are issued by the local election authority or the Illinois State Board of Elections after being first authorized by one of the following:
(10 ILCS 5/7-34; 5/17-23)
  • The state or local political party; or
  • A candidate; or
  • The presiding officer of a civic organization; or
  • The chairman of the proponent or opponent
  • group (of a public question).


The actions of candidates in the polling place are governed by the same privileges and limitations
that apply to pollwatchers. All candidates must also have proper candidate or Pollwatcher Credentials. If a candidate is using the Candidate Credential, he or she is not required to have an
appointing authority. (10 ILCS 5/7-34; 5/17-23; 5/18-6)

Pollwatcher Guide (PDF)