(10 ILCS 5/19-8) (from Ch. 46, par. 19-8)
    Sec. 19-8. Time and place of counting ballots.
    (a) (Blank.)
    (b) Each absent voter's ballot returned to an election authority, by any means authorized by this Article, and received by that election authority before the closing of the polls on election day shall be endorsed by the receiving election authority with the day and hour of receipt and shall be counted in the central ballot counting location of the election authority on the day of the election after 7:00 p.m., except as provided in subsections (g) and (g-5).
    (c) Each absent voter's ballot that is mailed to an election authority and postmarked by the midnight preceding the opening of the polls on election day, but that is received by the election authority after the polls close on election day and before the close of the period for counting provisional ballots cast at that election, shall be endorsed by the receiving authority with the day and hour of receipt and shall be counted at the central ballot counting location of the election authority during the period for counting provisional ballots.
    Each absent voter's ballot that is mailed to an election authority absent a postmark, but that is received by the election authority after the polls close on election day and before the close of the period for counting provisional ballots cast at that election, shall be endorsed by the receiving authority with the day and hour of receipt, opened to inspect the date inserted on the certification, and, if the certification date is a date preceding the election day and the ballot is otherwise found to be valid under the requirements of this Section, counted at the central ballot counting location of the election authority during the period for counting provisional ballots. Absent a date on the certification, the ballot shall not be counted.
    (d) Special write-in absentee voter's blank ballots returned to an election authority, by any means authorized by this Article, and received by the election authority at any time before the closing of the polls on election day shall be endorsed by the receiving election authority with the day and hour of receipt and shall be counted at the central ballot counting location of the election authority during the same period provided for counting absent voters' ballots under subsections (b), (g), and (g-5). Special write-in absentee voter's blank ballots that are mailed to an election authority and postmarked by the midnight preceding the opening of the polls on election day, but that are received by the election authority after the polls close on election day and before the closing of the period for counting provisional ballots cast at that election, shall be endorsed by the receiving authority with the day and hour of receipt and shall be counted at the central ballot counting location of the election authority during the same periods provided for counting absent voters' ballots under subsection (c).
    (e) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, absent voters' ballots and special write-in absentee voter's blank ballots received by the election authority after the closing of the polls on an election day shall be endorsed by the election authority receiving them with the day and hour of receipt and shall be safely kept unopened by the election authority for the period of time required for the preservation of ballots used at the election, and shall then, without being opened, be destroyed in like manner as the used ballots of that election.
    (f) Counting required under this Section to begin on election day after the closing of the polls shall commence no later than 8:00 p.m. and shall be conducted by a panel or panels of election judges appointed in the manner provided by law. The counting shall continue until all absent voters' ballots and special write-in absentee voter's blank ballots required to be counted on election day have been counted.
    (g) The procedures set forth in Articles 17 and 18 of this Code shall apply to all ballots counted under this Section. In addition, within 2 days after an absentee ballot, other than an in-person absentee ballot, is received, but in all cases before the close of the period for counting provisional ballots, the election judge or official shall compare the voter's signature on the certification envelope of that absentee ballot with the signature of the voter on file in the office of the election authority. If the election judge or official determines that the 2 signatures match, and that the absentee voter is otherwise qualified to cast an absentee ballot, the election authority shall cast and count the ballot on election day or the day the ballot is determined to be valid, whichever is later, adding the results to the precinct in which the voter is registered. If the election judge or official determines that the signatures do not match, or that the absentee voter is not qualified to cast an absentee ballot, then without opening the certification envelope, the judge or official shall mark across the face of the certification envelope the word "Rejected" and shall not cast or count the ballot.
    In addition to the voter's signatures not matching, an absentee ballot may be rejected by the election judge or official:
        (1) if the ballot envelope is open or has been opened

    
and resealed;
        (2) if the voter has already cast an early or grace
    
period ballot;
        (3) if the voter voted in person on election day or
    
the voter is not a duly registered voter in the precinct; or
        (4) on any other basis set forth in this Code.
    If the election judge or official determines that any of these reasons apply, the judge or official shall mark across the face of the certification envelope the word "Rejected" and shall not cast or count the ballot.
    (g-5) If an absentee ballot, other than an in-person absentee ballot, is rejected by the election judge or official for any reason, the election authority shall, within 2 days after the rejection but in all cases before the close of the period for counting provisional ballots, notify the absentee voter that his or her ballot was rejected. The notice shall inform the voter of the reason or reasons the ballot was rejected and shall state that the voter may appear before the election authority, on or before the 14th day after the election, to show cause as to why the ballot should not be rejected. The voter may present evidence to the election authority supporting his or her contention that the ballot should be counted. The election authority shall appoint a panel of 3 election judges to review the contested ballot, application, and certification envelope, as well as any evidence submitted by the absentee voter. No more than 2 election judges on the reviewing panel shall be of the same political party. The reviewing panel of election judges shall make a final determination as to the validity of the contested absentee ballot. The judges' determination shall not be reviewable either administratively or judicially.
    An absentee ballot subject to this subsection that is determined to be valid shall be counted before the close of the period for counting provisional ballots.
    (g-10) All absentee ballots determined to be valid shall be added to the vote totals for the precincts for which they were cast in the order in which the ballots were opened.
    (h) Each political party, candidate, and qualified civic organization shall be entitled to have present one pollwatcher for each panel of election judges therein assigned.
(Source: P.A. 94-557, eff. 8-12-05; 94-1000, eff. 7-3-06; 95-699, eff. 11-9-07.)

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