Election laws in Illinois

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The following are laws governing elections in the State of Illinois.

Third Party Registration Groups

Illinois State Law mandates on voter registration groups that Third-party voter registration groups, before engaging in registration activity, must become certified as a "bona fide" registration group and have its members become deputy registrars. Applications for certification must be received ninety or more days before the election, and will be processed within seven days. Applications must state that the organization has an interest in registering voters and desires to certify its members as deputy registrars, must describe how the organization is qualified to perform this task, must include a copy of the organization's charter or other foundational documents, and must list the addresses and telephone numbers of all the organization's offices within the state and all the organization's principal officers (including information regarding parent organizations, if any).

To qualify as a bona fide registration group, the group must meet the following requirements: 1. The organization's articles of incorporation or other foundational documents must state that one of the purposes of the organization is to increase participation in government; 2. The organization must conduct its activities primarily within Illinois; 3. The organization must be a not-for-profit organization; 4. The organization must maintain an office and telephone number in Illinois;

If the organization files a proper application and meets all of these requirements, the State Board of Elections shall certify the organization. If the State rejects the application, it will notify the organization in writing and state the reasons for rejection. Notified organizations may dispute the determination by requesting and attending a hearing before the Board of Elections at which the organization may present and be asked to present evidence on the issue. Id. The Board may suspend an organization's certification upon determining the organization no longer satisfies the above requirements, in which case the organization will receive written notice and may request a hearing in front of the Board.

When third-parties submit applications on behalf of others they should submit the applications together with a form called the Voter Registration Application Transmittal. If third parties submit applications without the Transmittal, the individuals can still be registered, but are treated as mail-in rather than in-person registrations[1].

On the issue of payment of registration workers, as long as the voter registration organization is a non-profit there does not appear to be a restriction on paying individuals working for the non-profit. There is however a penalty for paying a voter to register. “A person may not pay, offer to pay, or accept payment…for registering a person to vote.” This is a class four felony.

The state of Illinois runs a “deputy registrar” program for anyone wishing to register voters. Deputy registers must attend a one-hour training session, be sponsored by an organization certified by the State Board of Elections, and take an oath. To qualify they must also be registered Illinois voters. Since a recent change in state law, those deputized as registrars are no longer limited to registering those within their county and register voters across the state.


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