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updated: 10/23/2010 8:54 PM

Lake Co. clerk candidates differ on complaints about office

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  • Laura Tomsky

    Laura Tomsky

  • Willard Helander

    Willard Helander


Republican Lake County Clerk Willard Helander and her Democrat challenger disagree on whether there are public complaints about the office that should be addressed.

Laura Tomsky, a business management consultant from unincorporated Gages Lake, is facing Helander in the Nov. 2 election. It is Tomsky's first run for an elected position.

Helander and Tomsky have addressed issues in Daily Herald questionnaires and during an editorial board endorsement interview. One of the queries they answered pertained to identifying the biggest public gripe with the clerk's office and a way to solve it.

Tomsky said she's heard "people do not feel their vote matters when dealing with the clerk's office.

"As Lake County clerk, I would provide consistent nonpartisan education and outreach to all communities and age groups to increase voter confidence and improve participation, said Tomsky, 44.

Helander, 58, of Libertyville, was elected as Lake County clerk in 1994. She said customers consistently comment on the fast, professional and friendly service they receive from the office's employees.

"Many vital records and marriage license customers remark about our systems since we moved off typewriters in 1995-96, and are surprised to learn we designed and created the applications in-house, Helander said.

On other issues, Helander has said her office is using audio ballots to help voters who don't speak English. She said social media is now being used in an effort to get information to Lake County residents.

Tomsky said she'd want to work at implementing a nonpartisan program to make an effort to specifically reach minority voters. She said more civic education programs in high schools could target low-turnout areas.

Duties typically handled at the clerk's office include elections, maintaining vital records, overseeing public filings and recording county board/forest preserve district meetings.