equipment”. Cook advises us that judges’ school instruct
ion amplifies on this to make clearthat such checking would include verifying an empty ballot box (see 10 ILCS 5/17-3), andappeared to be receptive to our suggestion of a small Manual revision to be clearer on thispoint.Cook Item #2: Separate Wrapping and Sealing of BallotsDefend the Vote asserts that Cook does not have its election judges return ballots from theprecincts in the manner set forth in Section 17-20 of the Election Code. Section 17-20directs the judges of election to hand total the results for each office, and telephone theresults to the election authority. It then goes on to provide specifics as to wrapping andbinding the ballots in paper covered bundles.
However, in jurisdictions using optical scanballots (such as Cook and the vast majority of Illinois election authorities), therequirements of Section 17-20 are superseded by Section 24B-10, which does not requiresuch bundling for optical scan ballots.
Cook Item #3:
“Counting” Absentee Ballots Prior to 7:00 PM on Election Day
Section 19-8(f) of the Election Code provides for counting of absentee ballots after 7:00 PMon Election Day.
However, some amount of processing, either by election judges or theelection authority, with respect to absentee ballots prior to counting is required underSection 19-8(g) of the Election Code.
A significant number of Illinois election authorities take the position that “processing”
covers all activities up to and including placing absentee ballots into the tabulators, and
that “counting” cons
ists of compiling the combined totals and printing the reports of the
In pertinent part, Section 17-20 provides:
After making such proclamation and before separating, the judges of all counties shall fold or roll all of the ballots which have been counted by them, except those ballots which have been in the ballot box buthave not been counted and marked "defective" or "objected to", securely bind them, lengthwise and inwidth, with a soft cord having a minimum tensile strength of 60 pounds, and wrap the same with heavywrapping paper on which the judges of election shall write their signature and seal the package withfilament over the signatures and around the package lengthwise and crosswise, at least twice each way, sothat the ballots cannot be removed from the package without breaking the seal and the filament tape anddisturbing the signatures, and enclose the ballots so wrapped, together with the envelope containing theballots marked "defective" or "objected to", in a secure canvass covering, which the judges of election shallsign and seal with filament tape as above specified.
In pertinent part, Section 24B-10 provides:
“The judges of election immediately shall securely lock the ballot box or other suitable box furnished for
return of the ballots by the election official in charge of the election; provided that if the box is not of a typewhich may be securely locked, the box shall be sealed with filament tape provided for the purpose whichshall be wrapped around the box lengthwise and crosswise, at least twice each way. A separate adhesiveseal label signed by each of the judges of election of the precinct shall be affixed to the box to cover any
slot therein and to identify the box of the precinct…”
In pertinent part, Section 19-8(f) provides that absentee ballot counting:
on election day after the closing of the polls shall commence no later than 8:00 p.m. and shall beconducted by a panel or panels of election judges appointed in the manner provided by law..
In pertinent part, Section 19-8(g) provides:
within 2 days after an absentee ballot
the election judge or official shall compare thevoter's signature on the certification envelope of that absentee ballot with the signature of the voter on filein the office of the election authority. If the election judge or official determines that the 2 signaturesmatch, and that the absentee voter is otherwise qualified to cast an absentee ballot, the election authorityshall cast and count the ballot on election day or the day the ballot is determined to be valid, whichever is