Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Illegal Electioneering at the Lake County Fair

The cell phone photo on the left was sent to us yesterday. The photo was taken at the Lake County Republican Party booth at the County Fair. The photo is blurry but the handwritten sign reads ...
This happens to be illegal. Illinois law prohibits electioneering and voter registration in the same place. Illinois Election Code is quite clear about it ...
No deputy registrar shall engage in any electioneering or the promotion of any cause during the performance of his or her duties.
10 ILCS 5/5‑16.2(e)

And these guidelines are from the State Board of Elections:
Political parties having certified civic organization status must NOT conduct voter registration activities at political functions. Voter registration activities must be organized as separate and distinct functions by all organizations. Any type of electioneering or campaigning while conducting voter registration activities is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
Deputy Registrar Guidelines, Page 4, (emphasis in the original)

In the past, Lake County Clerk Willard Helander has not been shy about enforcing this law. According to a 09/25/2000 News-Sun story, Helander was on hand to bust up a voter registration rally at the Jesus Name Apostolic Church in Waukegan.
Helander said she raised questions about planned registration in the church during the rally because, "You can't electioneer and do voter registration at the same place." Illinois law "prohibits electioneering and registration," she said. "You can't promote candidates when you register people to vote."
Willard Helander specifically objected to the use of Motor Voter forms at the Waukegan rally.
Helander also raised concerns about the use of motor voter registration forms instead of regular state forms by trained registrars. "With the Illinois form, you're registered from that moment," she said. "With the motor voter forms, you aren't registered until I get the form." Helander said her office discourages the use of motor voter forms. "We want deputy registrars to register voters," she said. "You fill out the motor voter form yourself. Sometimes we never get them back. Sometimes you can't read them."
According to our source the two Republican volunteers in the photo were handing out Motor Voter forms.

Where is County Clerk Willard Helander when we need her, to bust up this illegal voter registration operation at the Lake County Republican booth? Take another look at the photo. Do you see the red sign with the letters W I L L? That would be a Willard Helander yard sign. In case you don't know, the purpose of yard signs are to promote candidates.

Willard? ... Willard? ... Willard?
Anyone? ... Anyone?


Anonymous said...

The law says "No deputy registrar shall engage in any electioneering or the promotion of any cause during the performance of his or her duties."

Do we know if there was a deputy registrar there? It could have been motor-voter forms - that would be within the rules of the law.

redtail said...

I clarified things by adding a cite from the SBE guidelines. We don't know if registrars were present or not. It's probably a better than even bet that someone staffing a political booth, either Dem or Rep, would be a registrar.

Anonymous said...

No doubt if this were occurring at the Dem Booth, Willander would have been on top of them faster than a speeding bullet.

Anonymous said...

If you don't know, why are you all in a tizzy about it? Shouldn't you find out first then swoon with indignation?

redtail said...

Anon 9:31, County Clerk Willard Helander personally broke up a voter registration rally in Waukegan for doing the exact same thing the Lake County Republicans are doing now at the Fair. But the only sign of Helander at the Fair has been her yard signs. Do you think Willard Helander is obligated to shut down this Republican operation also? If not, why not?

Nicki said...

I've known of other circumstances in which Willard has shut down voter registration, but never when it's connected with Republican electioneering.

It would take a strong candidate to run against Willard. i wonder if we'll see anyone step up.