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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

2008 Key Questions for Key States


The complete research by Election Law @ Moritz for Illinois can be found below.

Institutional Arrangements

State Chief Election Authorities

Other appointed individual

Chief election authority: Executive Director of State Board of Elections. 26 Ill. Adm. Code Tit. 10, § 216.100.

Method of selection: Appointed by State Board. 10 ILCS 5/1A-9. The State Board itself is an eight-member board appointed by the governor and equally spit between Democrats and Republicans. 10 ILCS 5/1A-3.

Current officer: Dan White. Illinois State Board of Elections (Last updated 1/1/08)

State High Court Composition

D leaning/elected

Method of selection: Election. Const. Art. 6, § 2.

Justices: Robert R. Thomas (R), Charles E. Freeman (D), Thomas R. Fitzgerald (D), Thomas L. Kilbride (D), Rita B. Garman (R), Lloyd A. Karmeier (R), Anne M. Burke (D) (Last updated 12/20/07)


  • On the picket line in DuPage County, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, October 12, 2000.
  • Democrats keep high court edge, Chicago Tribune, November 8, 1990.
  • Illinois State Bar Association website 
  • Election 2004 transforms state supreme court races, Stateline.org, November 8, 2004, Kathleen Hunter.
  • Politics a means to end on court, Justices say party ties that helped them get on bench don’t lead to biased rulings, Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2006.  

Voter Registration

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois


EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Provisional Ballots

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Early and Absentee Voting

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Voting Technology

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Polling Place Operations

Polling place closing times - local times

7:00 PM local time

Polling place closing times - by Eastern time zone

8:00 PM Eastern time

Ballot Security

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Emergency Preparedness

EL@M did not research this topic for Illinois

Post-Election Processes

Election Contest Scenario #1: Unverified Ballots

Random withdrawal

If unverified ballots are cast, ballots should be randomly withdrawn and excluded from the count until the number of remaining ballots equals the number of voters who signed the poll book. 10 ILCS 5/24B-10. This procedure applies to optical scan ballots. The statutes governing the use of DRE machines do not state what to do with unverified ballots, except to report them to the local election authority. 10 ILCS 5/24C-12. Most Illinois jurisdictions use optical scan machines.

However, where officials fail to comply with these procedures during the initial count, it is not clear that a court will later compel them in an election contest. In Pullen v. Mulligan, 138 Ill.2d 21, officials failed to eliminate unverified ballots at the time of counting and the Illinois Supreme Court subsequently refused to order them to do so. Id. at 64. Because 10 ILCS 5/5-29, the statute requiring signature, did not explicitly prescribe the elimination of ballots without signatures, the court said, the signature requirement was merely directory. The court was apparently unaware of 10 ILCS 5/24B-10 and other statutes in effect at the time that did explicitly state that unverified ballots should be randomly withdrawn.  

Election Contest Scenario #2: Provisional Ballots with Technical Mistakes

Errors will disqualify ballots where they violate specific legal requirements

Illinois provisional ballots must be rejected where voters omit from provisional ballot paperwork any of the following: first or last name, house number and street name, or signature. 10 ILCS 5/18A-15. An incorrect address will also result in rejection if it is not within the boundaries of the precinct where the ballot was cast. Id. Even where these requirements are met, officials must verify based on a preponderance of the evidence that the voter was registered and eligible to vote in the precinct. Id. Where the errors or omissions make it impossible to verify registration, this probably means the ballot will be rejected. However, ballots will not be rejected solely because of “substitution of initials for the first or middle name….” Id.  

What Court Would Hear a Presidential Contest?

No Presidential election contest permitted

Because the statutes do not explicitly authorize them, the Illinois Supreme Court has concluded that no court has jurisdiction to hear federal election contests. Young v. Mikva, 66 Ill.2d 579, 582-583 (Ill., 1977).  

Who Performs Presidential recounts?


Unconstrained in counties where county clerks are responsible for election administration. Illinois recounts, entitled “discovery” recounts, are conducted by local election authorities. 10 ILCS 5/22-9.1. The local election authority may be a county clerk or county or municipal board of election commissioners, depending on local option. 10 ILCS 5/1-3. Discovery recounts can include no more than 25% of precincts in which voting occurred.

County clerks are elected. 10 ILCS 5/1A-2. County Board of Election Commissioners members are appointed by the chairman of the general County Board. 10 ILCS 5/6A-3. Municipal Boards of Election Commissioners are appointed by the local trial court. 10 ILCS 5/6-21. In either case, these are three-person boards and must include at least one member from each leading political party. 10 ILCS 5/6A-3; 5/6-22. Any affected candidate may attend the recount. 10 ILCS 5/22-9.1.