Updated: November 18, 2012 6:21AM
The Oct. 11 News-Sun article on voter registration was rife with incorrect information.
Grace period registration requirements are not the same as 2008. It runs through the Saturday before the election, and now there are no restrictions on who can vote by mail. The Legislature also shortened early voting to two week prior to the election.
In 2008, just 18,366 voted by mail. To date, nearly 17,000 ballots have been requested. We expect to approach 30,000 over the next three weeks. Each request involves computer entries, signature verification, more computer entries, ballot mailing, signature verification again and another computer entry — thanks to the Legislature requiring a four-part process.
With early voting compressed into two weeks, demand for our office support to 20 sites around the county will intensify. We are effectively conducting three different elections at the same time with hardworking 23 staff to handle all the duties and we do that well.
Additionally, in 2008, the last day for grace registration (15 days before Election Day) saw lines out the door — all day long. Customers walking in to vote, or needing a birth or marriage record, were put off by the long lines. Nearly all of our 23 elections staff had to stop processing voting by mail or supporting early voting to handle these registrations.
This year, the Legislature has pushed the intersection of all these service dates so close to the election that action was needed to ensure prompt, quality service for all new mandates. Also, Sen. Link and the reporter made partisan charges without consideration to the many Lake County residents from Vernon Hills to Volo and from Buffalo Grove to Antioch who also need grace registration services and have an hour-plus drive to the county complex.
Nor did they acknowledge the limited space in our office for voting and serving customers. Hundreds of people, in addition to routine voters and vital records customers, cannot be adequately served in our main office.
The unbiased determination of geo-coding voters across our county revealed the Central Permit Facility an equitable solution to our space issues. Of course, any resident coming to our office is served; our staff were informed by office memo to answer any inquiries that they could come to the main building in Waukegan. Our policy had nothing to do with a reporter’s telephone message that arrived while I was at a taping and then teaching to two training classes off site — right through the evening.
One’s address, income or race does not determine service. Excellence for all is our goal. Our staff and I have made home visits after work hours to assist homebound registrants because we genuinely care.
There was no comment to “get a bus.” Listen to the board meeting on LCTV: “If there is a victory bus” (like in 2008), please take the large groups to the permitting facility where there is adequate parking and room for service.
There was no legislative bill for grace registration at many sites. Sen. Link’s bill was for Election Day registration. I testified against that bill at a State Board of Elections meeting where he was present.
I opposed the bill noting we code voters using GIS and would not be able to afford software licenses and trained staff to have accurate coding on Election Day at 126 locations. To lower the accuracy in coding would be a disservice.
There are other concerns with Election Day registration that can be debated another day.
Willard R. Helander, Lake County Clerk, Waukegan
Shortly after President Obama’s election, certain members of Congress, mainly Republican and Tea Party affiliates, promised to do everything within their power to make sure he failed. These same people claimed that President Obama would fail on his own, without their help.
True to their word, these elected officials voted against anything proposed by our president and the Democratic Party. In doing so, they brought our great nation to its knees causing the economy to become stagnant and eliminating all hope for a recovery.
Now these right-wing terrorists would have us vote for them, whether it be Romney, Dold or Walsh, again under the threat of further stagnation and opposition if their party does not capture the White House. Do they really think the American people will bow down to their threats and blackmail? Do they really think that bad behavior should be rewarded?
We may never know just how great President Obama could have been. These right-wing zealots, led by the Massachusetts mannequin, have refused to let the president govern this country. No other president in the history of the U.S. has been subjected to such blatant obstruction at the hands of the opposing party.
President Obama’s plan for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure has been blocked by these neo- conservative charlatans. The next time a railroad bridge collapses you need not look any farther than Congressmen Dold and Walsh. The next time we experience a major blackout, ask these congressmen if they’ll lend you a generator. Are you getting the picture?
These actions are nothing more then treason against the American taxpayer. There was a time when “do as I say” politicians would have been led out of town wearing a tar-and-feather sport coat. But today we have progressed to a more civil era where the best we can do is to vote these bums into extinction.
They have proven their lack of respect for you and I, the taxpaying citizens who suffer under their tutelage. We need to get this country moving once again. We need elected officials who will work together with the opposing party and do what’s best for the nation.
We can no longer afford to have a Congress occupied by 2-year-olds who sit in the corner and pout until they get their way. President Obama has reached across party lines in an attempt to save this country, only to be rebuffed at every turn by the right-wing authoritarians.
Don’t blame President Obama. Blame the uncooperative members of Congress who have turned against their country in order to fulfill a personal vendetta.
John T. Krempotic