(1) The Department of State may, at any time it deems fit; upon the petition of 5 percent of the registered electors; or upon the petition of any candidate, county executive committee chair, state committeeman or committeewoman, or state executive committee chair, appoint one or more deputies whose duties shall be to observe and examine the registration and election processes and the condition, custody, and operation of voting systems and equipment in any county or municipality. The deputy shall have access to all registration books and records as well as any other records or procedures relating to the voting process. The deputy may supervise preparation of the voting equipment and procedures for election, and it shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct the deputy in the performance of his or her duty. The deputy shall file with the Department of State a report of his or her findings and observations of the registration and election processes in the county or municipality, and a copy of the report shall also be filed with the clerk of the circuit court of said county. The compensation of such deputies shall be fixed by the Department of State; and costs incurred under this section shall be paid from the annual operating appropriation made to the Department of State.
(2) Upon the written direction of the Secretary of State, any employee of the Department of State having expertise in the matter of concern to the Secretary of State shall have full access to all premises, records, equipment, and staff of the supervisor of elections.