SPRINGFIELD - In the waning days of the 2013 Spring session, the Democrats pushed through an effort pointed directly at one Republican county clerk in Lake County - Willard Helander (photo right).
HB 2418, bypasses the elected Lake County Clerk's Office, and sets up online voter registration as well as an election commission appointed by a judge with two Republicans, two Democrats and a fifth not clearly identified in the legislation. Lake County voters will have no vote on the state-mandated $600,000 cost of setting up the new commission.
With the new Lake County Election Commission, the county clerk's office will be rendered useless. HB 2418 passed the House and Senate with the support of only one Lake County lawmaker - State Senator Terry Link. The bill now sits on the Governor's desk.
Helander, who has a degree in law, has served as Lake County clerk since 1994. Illinois Review is told that House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan and State Senator Terry Link (D) have no love loss for her because she's stood up numerous to legal threats and Democrat bullying on several occasions.
During the tight 2010 race between former Congresswoman Melissa Bean and challenger Joe Walsh, Helander refused to give the Democrats a list of absentee voters that had not returned ballots. Cook County David Orr then reportedly bypassed Helander, and gave the Democrats the list they wanted to shop for ballots arriving late. The Democrats then supposedly demanded the names of voters receiving provisional ballots. Helander also resisted Democrat staffers allegedly registering to vote at the home of then-Senator Susan Garrett.
During the debate on the House floor last week, Republican State Senator Ed Sullivan argued against the state overhauling a local county's election system without the approval of the county's voters. Who could be next, he asked.