Current law allows any member of the public to observe the conduct of an election at a polling place or at a site for voting by absentee ballot in person. An individual may also observe the canvassing of absentee ballots. 

This bill requires the municipal clerk, chief inspector, and board of canvassers to provide election observers uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including recounts. 

The bill also modifies the size of the observation area required under current law so that it is not more than three feet from the table where voters announce their name and address and not more than three feet from the table where individuals are registered to vote. Finally, any person who violates the provisions under the bill may be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 90 days or fined not more than $1,000 or both.

At a time when election officials are leaving their jobs at unprecedented levels due to stress, harassment, and threats resulting from election deniers, this bill’s requirement for observers to be within three feet of voters and election workers coupled with the criminal penalties for alleged violations of the bill’s provisions will exacerbate these challenges faced by clerks’ offices.


Representative Paul Tittl; Senator Romaine Quinn


Vetoed by governor



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