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Last Day to Register to Vote

posted Feb 17, 2012, 6:39 AM by Brian Donahoe

Tuesday February 21, 2012 is the last day to register to vote or change your address for the March 20, 2012 primary election. Diana O'Kelly is a deputy registrar and able to come to your home if you need to register.  


 If you don't register by February 21, the only other opportunity is to go to Waukegan to the County Clerks office from February 22 to March 13 during business hours. Those who register to vote during this period must vote at the time of registration.  

Also... ballots will look different this election.  Our Election Ballots Now Federally Mandated to be in English and Spanish. See below for the explanation.

 Dear Lake County Residents:

You may have noted that election information in Lake County is now printed in English with a Spanish translation. In late 2011, the United States Department of Justice sent a certification letter requiring Lake County to provide complete bilingual election administration in the Spanish language for 2012. This requirement is a result of the application 2010 US Census data to the requirements test under §203 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 USC §1973aa-1a.

The Census Bureau conducts two levels of Census, the door to door Census conducted every ten years and something called the American Community Survey. The survey is conducted every month during the “other” nine years on a rolling basis. Each month, one in six addresses for each county across the entire country is surveyed. This rolling survey replaced the old “long form” Census and asks about education, language, race and ability to speak English among other topics. Survey results are complied to determine jurisdictional requirements for bilingual election administration.

The first trigger to qualify a jurisdiction under §203 is the response to race and then the language proficiency response on the American Community Survey. The determination rule used is when 5% or more of the voting age population respond to the Census as limited English proficient voting age citizens, the bilingual threshold is met.

The protected language groups are narrow according to interpretation of the 2006 Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Covered groups include Asian (Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Tagalog, etc), Native American and Native Alaskan dialects (not of European origin, e.g., French) and Latino races. The Census Bureau does not consider Arabic an Asian language. Also Russian, Polish and Hebrew languages, for example, are not deemed covered languages.

The Lake County Clerk’s office is working diligently to comply with the bilingual requirements and to ensure Lake County taxpayers and voters are not at risk for any facet of non-compliance. All election administration materials will be provided in English with Spanish translations as required by the federal law under the Voting Rights Act.

Please know you are always welcome in the Lake County Clerk’s office and visit us at our virtual office at for informational resources day or night.

Very truly yours,

Willard Helander

Lake County Clerk

from Diana O'Kelly's February 17th, 2012 newsletter