Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Election and Voting Related Charges in Illinois

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Illinois Criminal Law » Election and Voting Related Charges in Illinois

A variety of Illinois election and voting related crimes are defined in 10 ILCS 5 as shown below.  These crimes include election misconduct, voter fraud, buying votes, ballot box stuffing, etc.:


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(10 ILCS 5/29-1) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-1)
Sec. 29-1. Vote buying.
Any person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote or to register to vote or to influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-2) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-2)
Sec. 29-2. Promise for vote. Any person who, in order to influence any other person to vote or register to vote or to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election, knowingly promises to (a) cause or support the employment or appointment of any other person to any public office or public position or (b) perform or refrain from performing any official act, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-3) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-3)
Sec. 29-3. Selling of vote. Any person who votes for or against any candidate or public question in consideration of any gift or loan of money or for any other valuable consideration, or for any promise to cause or support the employment or appointment of any person to any public office or public position, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.


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(10 ILCS 5/29-4) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-4)
Sec. 29-4. Prevention of voting or candidate support. Any person who, by force, intimidation, threat, deception or forgery, knowingly prevents any other person from (a) registering to vote, or (b) lawfully voting, supporting or opposing the nomination or election of any person for public office or any public question voted upon at any election, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-5) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-5)
Sec. 29-5. Voting more than once. Any person who, having voted once, knowingly on the same election day where the ballot or machine lists any of the same candidates and issues listed on the ballot or machine previously used for voting by that person, (a) files an application to vote in the same or another polling place, or (b) accepts a ballot or enters a voting machine (except to legally give assistance pursuant to the provisions of this Code), shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony; however, if a person has delivered a ballot or ballots to an election authority as a vote by mail voter and due to a change of circumstances is able to and does vote in the precinct of his residence on election day, shall not be deemed to be in violation of this Code.

(10 ILCS 5/29-6) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-6)
Sec. 29-6. Mutilation of election materials. Any person who knowingly destroys, mutilates, defaces, falsifies, forges, conceals or removes any record, register of voters, affidavit, return or statement of votes, certificate, tally sheet, ballot, or any other document or computer program which (a) is used or to be preserved for use in connection with registration, or (b) is used or to be preserved for use in connection with any election pursuant to this Code, except as permitted by provisions of this Code, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony and shall also be ineligible for public employment for a period of 5 years immediately following the completion of his or her sentence.


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(10 ILCS 5/29-7) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-7)
Sec. 29-7. Tampering with voting machines. Any person who tampers with any machine or device used in connection with voting or the counting of votes, or who knowingly allows another to tamper with such a machine or device, so as (a) to interfere with the proper operation of such machine or device, (b) to alter the results recorded on such machine or device or intended to be recorded thereon, or (c) to place votes on a machine which are not legally cast, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-8) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-8)
Sec. 29-8. Ballot box stuffing. Any person who, prior to, during, or after the counting of ballots or prior to, during, or after the final certification of the vote of any election, knowingly (a) places anything other than a ballot in a ballot box, (b) adds or mixes a forged ballot with other ballots, or (c) adds or mixes a forged application to vote with other applications to vote, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-9) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-9)
Sec. 29-9. Unlawful observation of voting. Except as permitted by this Code, any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(10 ILCS 5/29-10) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-10)
Sec. 29-10. Perjury. (a) Any person who makes a false statement, material to the issue or point in question, which he does not believe to be true, in any affidavit, certificate or sworn oral declaration required by any provision of this Code shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony.
(b) Any person who is convicted of violating this Section shall be ineligible for public employment for a period of 5 years immediately following the completion of his sentence. For the purpose of this subsection, “public employment” shall mean any elected or appointed office created by the Constitution or laws of this State, or any ordinance of a unit of local government. “Public employment” shall also include any position as an employee of the State of Illinois, or a unit of local government or school district.

(10 ILCS 5/29-11) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-11)
Sec. 29-11. Failure to comply with order of election authority. Any person who knowingly fails or refuses to comply with any lawful order of an election authority issued by the election authority in the performance of the duties of the election authority, shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(10 ILCS 5/29-12) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-12)
Sec. 29-12. Disregard of Election Code. Except with respect to Article 9 of this Code, any person who knowingly (a) does any act prohibited by or declared unlawful by, or (b) fails to do any act required by, this Code, shall, unless a different punishment is prescribed by this Code, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(10 ILCS 5/29-13) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-13)
Sec. 29-13. Attempt, solicitation and conspiracy. Each violation of this Code shall be an offense within the meaning of Section 2-12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, so that the inchoate offenses of solicitation, conspiracy and attempt, and the punishment therefor, as provided in such Criminal Code shall apply to solicitation, conspiracy and attempt to violate the provisions of this Code.

(10 ILCS 5/29-20) (from Ch. 46, par. 29-20)
Sec. 29-20. Vote by Mail ballots – violations. A person is guilty of a Class 3 felony who knowingly:
(1) Solicits another person, knowing that the person is not legally qualified to vote as a vote by mail voter, to apply for a vote by mail ballot;
(2) Solicits another person, knowing that the person is not legally qualified to vote as a vote by mail voter, to cast a ballot as a vote by mail voter;
(3) Intimidates or unduly influences another person to cast a vote by mail ballot in a manner inconsistent with the voter’s intent; or
(4) Marks or tampers with a vote by mail ballot of another person or takes a vote by mail ballot of another person in violation of Section 19-6 so that an opportunity for fraudulent marking or tampering is created.

Many of the above-enumerated voting-related crimes are Class 4 felonies, which carry a 1-3 year prison term. The Class 3 felonies, which are even more serious, carry a 2-5 year prison term. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail.

For those who are not US citizens, a conviction for voting when not eligible (or other such offense) can result in deportation, making the case even more serious.

Those who are accused of vote or election related offenses in Illinois are wise to exercise their right to remain silent, and seek an attorney at once.


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