Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cara Smith
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

csmith@atg.state.il.us
November 3, 2006

MADIGAN ASSIGNS TEAMS TO MONITOR ILLINOIS GENERAL ELECTION

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today said that an expected 336 Assistant Attorneys General and Investigators will be in the field on Election Day this Tuesday, November 7, to help ensure that polling places are accessible and that Illinois citizens’ voting rights are protected.

Attorney General Madigan stated that each Assistant Attorney General participating in the Election Day monitoring program will survey polling places to make certain that polls designated by local election commissions are accessible to Illinois voters with disabilities.  In addition, for the first time in a general election, the office will examine whether local election boards have complied with the recently adopted Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  Among other things, HAVA requires polling places to feature voting machines that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  The accessibility provisions of the Act took effect on January 1, 2006.

During the spring primary election, statewide surveys conducted by the OAG revealed varying levels of compliance with state and federal laws requiring accessible polling places.  In some cases, designated polling places lacked accessible entrances, parking or other features, making them difficult or impossible to use.  The survey also uncovered problems with some of the newly purchased voting machines.  Results of the November 7th election survey will be made available to the public and appropriate election boards.

Madigan encourages Illinois citizens who experience or witness any voting problems or irregularities to contact her office to report the problems.  Madigan’s office has established toll-free telephone hotlines for voters to call.  Madigan’s election teams also will randomly visit polling places across the state to ensure that state election laws are being followed.

The hotline numbers are:

Chicago Springfield
1-866-536-3496 1-866-559-6812
1-800-964-3013 (TTY) 1-877-844-5461 (TTY)

Madigan reminds voters of some of their basic voting rights:

  • Voters have the right to vote if they are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m., or at any other time between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day (10 ILCS 5/17-1).

  • If a voter makes a mistake or “spoils” a paper ballot and the voter has not cast the ballot, the voter has the right to receive a replacement ballot (10 ILCS 5/17-11).

  • If a voter cannot read, has trouble understanding English, or is disabled, he or she has the right to request assistance from anyone other than his or her employer, an agent of his or her employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union (10 ILCS 5/17-14).

  • Voters have the right to take time from work to vote, but no more than two successive hours, as long as they have applied with their employer before Election Day.  The employer may set the time of day (10 ILCS 5/17-15).

No one is allowed to try to influence a voter within 100 feet of the polling place (10 ILCS 5/17-29).

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