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Pollwatcher Application Information

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POLLWATCHING AT THE COOK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Any person or candidate wishing to be a pollwatcher at the Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC) must obtain security clearance and pre-approval from the CCDOC as a condition to gain access into the jail as a pollwatcher. 

CCDOC pollwatcher security credentials are separate and apart from the requirement as for obtaining pollwatching credentials from Election Authorities. No pollwatcher will be permitted entry into to the CCDOC unless they have:

  1. CCDOC pre-approved security credentials; AND
  2. Pollwatching credentials from either the Cook County Clerk’s Office or the City of Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners.

If a pollwatcher does not have both credentials as listed above, access to polling places within CCDOC will be denied. There will be no same-day security credentialing by the CCDOC. All credentials for jail access must be pre-approved. These requirements are imposed to ensure continued safety and security for staff, detainees and non-employees on site. 

During this time, any person with CCDOC pre-approved security credentials and pollwatching credentials from either  the Cook County Clerk’s Office or the City of Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners will be screened by staff for symptoms of COVID-19, prior to being permitted entry to the CCDOC. Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days, who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, who has been in close contact with an individual with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or who has returned from a state covered by the City of Chicago’s travel order in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter CCDOC on the day of early voting. The CCDOC will provide pollwatchers with paper face masks that must be worn at all times and social distancing must be maintained. The health and safety of CCDOC staff, detainees, non-employees and the public continue to be the primary concern of the Sheriff’s Office and guidelines will be updated in accordance with recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health.

CCDOC APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Polling places for detainee voting will be set up inside the CCDOC. Pollwatchers must pass a criminal background check to be allowed into the CCDOC and enter a polling place.

APPLICATION FOR CCDOC POLLWATCHER SECURITY CREDENTIALS

Applications must be completed by persons 18 years of age or older and submitted by midnight of October 16, 2020. Once the application deadline has been met, the CCDOC will no longer accept applications for CCDOC pollwatcher security credentials. The CCDOC will conduct a criminal background check on all applicants and those applicants will be notified of the results via the e-mail address provided within their application. Persons who do not successfully pass the CCDOC credentialing process will be provided the opportunity to appeal the denial.

APPLICATION FOR CCDOC CANDIDATE POLLWATCHER SECURITY CREDENTIALS

Applications must be completed by persons 18 years of age or older and submitted by midnight of October 16, 2020. Once the application deadline has been met, the CCDOC will no longer accept applications for CCDOC candidate pollwatcher security credentials. The CCDOC will conduct a criminal background check on all applicants and those applicants will be notified of the results via the e-mail address provided within their application. Persons who do not successfully pass the CCDOC credentialing process will be provided the opportunity to appeal the denial.

SAFETY & SECURITY

Any person provided with CCDOC pollwatcher/candidate security credentials agrees to comply with public health guidelines and adhere to the CCDOC Rules of Conduct upon entry to the CCDOC. The CCDOC reserves the right to revoke security credentials for any reason and remove anyone from the CCDOC when security needs  or public health concerns warrant their removal. CCDOC pollwatchers should have the expectation that they will be in  in the vicinity of detainees. However, at all times social distancing will be enforced by the CCDOC. Space within each designated CCDOC voting location is limited. Space limitations, coupled with reasonable and legitimate health, safety and security needs, may affect the number of persons admitted into the CCDOC or permitted within each voting location at any given time. Upon entry, all persons shall be subject to COVID-19 and security screening. Contraband is strictly prohibited. Cell phones are not permitted in the CCDOC. Once pre-approved, information about CCDOC rules and regulations and COVID-19 guidelines will be provided via e-mail to the address provided on one’s CCDOC security credential application.

CCDOC POLLWATCHERS/CANDIDATES IN NEED OF ACCOMMODATION

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing equal access and reasonable accommodations to its pollwatchers with disabilities. Depending on the nature of the accommodation request, we may require advance notice. Pollwatchers with questions or requests concerning reasonable accommodation should contact the ADA Compliance Officer by calling 773-674-7768 during normal business hours, or emailing CCSO.ADA@cookcountyil.gov during non-business hours.

CCDOC EARLY VOTING DATES

  • October 17, 2020
  • October 18, 2020
  • October 24, 2020
  • October 25, 2020

ELECTION AUTHORITIES

For more information about poll watching requirements for the respective election authorities, please visit the links below:

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