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News Stories

Tricked at the DoorThe Ups & Downs of Election Laws, and Are Voters Being Tricked at the Door?
With voting by mail open to all voters, Illinois permits any campaign to create their version of an “official request” for a ballot by mail. The newest change to election laws is virtual, real-time tracking legislatively attached to every voter who asks for a ballot by mail.

When the forms are turned in to elections officials, Illinois law requires this information be pulled to a statewide Intranet site where all political groups can see. When ballots are mailed to the signer, the political eyes are watching. When the ballot is not voted nor returned for a few days, the political eyes are still watching. And knocking and calling again.

Beginning in June, door-to-door “vote by mail shoppers” have gathered thousands of signatures on forms. Even when voters explain they want to vote in person, voters indicate they were urged to sign the form “to make sure their vote counts.” Sounds so helpful, doesn’t it?

People apparently will sign anything to get a door knocker to go away.

In the current election, a significant number of voters claim they never signed a form asking for a mail ballot. Some signatures on the form are perfect matches. Others are not. Others merit investigation. Vote by mail requests also come via the Internet. That’s because another new law eliminated voter signature requirements, apparently as fair trade when the voter is tricked into giving the political eye a coveted email address.

Many who signed a ballot by mail request have come to vote early. Others will come on Election Day. They cannot vote twice, so a provisional ballot is issued to wait and see if the mail ballot arrives. The provisional ballot process requires extra steps. Some voters accuse the election judges of being wrong. Sometimes the campaigns that created the situation send poll watchers to the voting site to shout voter suppression.

A voter is verified by a signature, whether voting early, Election Day or by mail. Voters can register on the Internet without supplying a signature. Ballots can be requested over the Internet without a signature. Currently, 13,000+ unreturned ballots are all over the county. The political eyes know where the unreturned ballots are. And it’s perfectly legal to confront the voter who hasn’t returned the ballot. The political eyes know who you are.

And exactly what is the value of the missing ballots? Priceless, some would say. The darker side of the elections world comes to light.

November 2014 Voting OptionsNovember 4, 2014 Voting Options
Visit Voter Power and log in using your name, house number, zip code and birth date to see your personalized November 4th Election information.

  • What’s on my ballot?
    You may review candidate names, read the referenda, and print your sample ballot.
  • Request a Ballot by Mail
    A ballot application is required for each election. You may choose the E-request option where no signature is required, but Illinois law mandates your email address be shared with political organizations. To protect your privacy, you may choose the paper option, print out the form, and mail the completed form to the County Clerk’s office. Ballot request forms are also available by emailing or calling 847.377.2406. The last day to request a ballot is October 30, and voted ballots must be postmarked no later than November 3.
  • Where do I vote?
    Find your designated early and Election Day voting sites, along with driving directions, maps and photos.
    • Early voting is October 20th to November 2nd.
    • Election Day is November 4th. Polls open 6 am to 7 pm.

The Voter Power landing page will also provide you with tracking information about your voted ballot, candidates, elected officials, and voting by mail programs.

For additional information about voting and other services provided by the Lake County Clerk’s office, follow us at, join our page at, or call 847.377.2400.

QR Code to Voter PowerElection Information – Anywhere – Anytime
The Clerk’s QR code makes it easy and simple for Lake County residents to find personalized election information by linking smart devices to the Voter Power web page. After entering name, house number, zip code, and birthday on the landing page, each registered voter is shown their current districts and elected officials. Web visitors will also find addresses, photos, maps, and driving directions of their early and Election Day voting sites. Data transmission is via a secure page and is not stored or collected.

Facts About Your Real Estate Tax Bill
Here are some interesting stats about the process:

  • Property values in Lake County dropped a total of 6.1% in 2013. The declines range from a drop of 3.8% in Ela Township to 15.4% in Waukegan Township. These numbers reflect a drop in property value after applying the state multiplier.
  • Lake County’s state multiplier was one. The multiplier is a countywide factor issued by the IL Department of Revenue to “balance out” any over- or under-assessments. It raises or lowers everyone’s assessed value, before exemptions. A multiplier of one means that there was no correction needed.
  • The state multiplier affects every parcel in Lake County (except for farm land), yielding almost no effect on the tax bills, as taxes are only affected by changes in value relative to surrounding properties. The only properties affected are those in districts overlapping into another county with a different multiplier.
  • There is a common misconception that if property values drop, taxes will drop. Property value is only half of the equation. The other half is tax levies set by districts.
  • The statutory “tax cap” rate is designed to float inversely to property values. As values go down, rates go up, to ensure district tax revenues remain stable (regardless of property value changes) unless a district lowers its levy below their limit.
  • In 47 districts, the district’s 2013 tax amount was lower than their 2012 amount, either due to statutory limits enforced by the County Clerk’s Office, or by the district voluntarily lowering their levy.
For more information on property taxes, watch the May A Word With Willard and these two videos, How is Your Tax Rate Calculated? and Declining Property Values.
Contact Us

Willard R. Helander
Lake County Clerk

18 N. County Street
Room 101
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
(847) 377-2400
(847) 984-5822 Fax​​​​

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