Seven Lake County polling places to change due to pandemic
The continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the closure of seven Lake County polling places for Tuesday's primary election -- but alternate sites have been established.
The county board approved the changes during a special meeting Monday afternoon.
In a separate meeting Monday, county commissioners extended an emergency declaration that suspends the need for their approval of contracts, purchases and other decisions relating to the health crisis.
The polling-place changes affect 19 precincts throughout the county. They're being made because of guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend limiting visitors to certain types of locations, such as senior living facilities and nursing centers, officials said.
People who normally would vote at the Cedar Village senior living building in Lake Villa now should report to the Lake Villa Township office, 37908 N. Fairfield Road.
People set to vote at Lambs Farm's Magnolia Cafe and Bakery in Green Oaks now will cast ballots at Oak Grove School, 1700 O'Plaine Road, Libertyville.
People who normally would vote at Spring Meadows senior living facility in Libertyville now should go to the Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville.
Voters who normally would go to Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Deerfield now will vote at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church, 815 Wilmot Road, Deerfield.
People who normally would vote at Immaculate Conception Parish in Highland Park should go to the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Road.
People who had been assigned to vote at the Kukla Towers public housing building in North Chicago should go to Foss Park Golf Course Pavilion, 3124 Argonne Drive, North Chicago.
Finally, people assigned to vote at the Park Place senior center in Waukegan should instead report to Robert Abbott Middle School, 1319 Washington St., Waukegan.
Lincolnshire Republican Ann Maine asked if it's possible for the new polling places to be open later than the traditional 7 p.m. closing time because some voters may need extra time to get to the sites after work. County Clerk Robin O'Connor said those hours are set by state law, which didn't please Maine.
"We're really disenfranchising some people," Maine said.
More polling-place closures still could occur, county board Chairwoman Sandy Hart said.
In related business, the county board extended a declaration of emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic by 45 days, through May 4.
Hart, a Lake Bluff Democrat, issued an initial seven-day emergency declaration Friday.
In addition to allowing officials to skip board approval on contracts or agreements during the emergency, the declaration lets county officials apply for state and federal emergency funds.
County Administrator Gary Gibson promised any contracts issued during the period eventually will be brought to the full board for ratification.
But not everyone was sold.
Republicans Michael Danforth of Fox River Grove and Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach both objected to the duration of the extension.
Danforth also expressed concern about powers he said state law gives Hart through the declaration, including the ability to seize private property and ban the sale of alcohol and firearms.
Danforth suggested a 30-day cap on the emergency powers, which led to a lengthy discussion of options and several aborted attempts at amendments by Barr. The board eventually approved the 45-day extension, despite "no" votes from Barr, Danforth and Fox Lake Republican Judy Martini.
Board member Jessica Vealitzek, a Hawthorn Woods Democrat, complained that the debate on the declaration took more than an hour, calling it "irresponsible" for commissioners to be spending so much time together while health officials are urging people not to gather in groups.