* There’s an interesting turn of events in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Tio Hardiman’s running mate may have some problems staying on the ballot. And that could raise some fresh, tough questions about Hardiman’s ballot access.
The State Board of Elections delayed a ruling yesterday and may decide next week. Kurt Erickson reports…
At issue is whether the political newcomer’s running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Brunell Donald of Chicago, submitted petitions containing her correct address. […]
Donald acknowledged Thursday she recently moved but failed to change her voter registration.
“I was registered to vote at my old address, not my new one,” Donald told the Lee Enterprises Springfield Bureau Thursday.
For state election regulators, the case is potentially precedent setting because of a change in state law that now requires governors to pick their lieutenant governor candidates before the primary election.
If Donald is ruled ineligible for the ballot, there is no case law providing a roadmap for determining whether Hardiman would remain eligible to stay on the ballot against Quinn.
If they kick Donald off the ballot and not Hardiman, this thing will definitely wind up in the courts for quite a while.
* Meanwhile, Cook County Board candidate Al Sanchez is also having troubles. Tribune…
A county election board hearing officer heard arguments Wednesday from an attorney representing Robert McKay, one of three Democrats running against Sanchez in the March 18 primary, as well as a lawyer for a resident of the South Side and south suburban district. The lawyers contended that Sanchez should not be allowed to run because he remains on supervised release following a prison term for rigging city hiring to benefit political foot soldiers under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
State law allows a convicted felon to serve on the County Board, but election lawyer Adam Lasker said Sanchez can’t legally put his name on the ballot until he’s finished serving his parole. Lasker noted that Sanchez had to sign a statement of candidacy swearing that he is eligible to vote. Since Sanchez can’t vote until he’s finished his federal sentence, he’s not eligible to run, Lasker contended.
“He’s not eligible to be a qualified elector, he’s not eligible to hold the office. And he had to be when he swore on his statement of candidacy form, on that date, when he swore ‘I am a qualified elector, I am qualified to hold the office,’” Lasker said. “Those are false swearings. Because at that time he was not qualified.”
Sanchez lawyer Dan Johnson countered that what matters is that Sanchez was free from prison when he officially became a candidate last month. And Johnson said Sanchez will petition to have his supervised release terminated in July, well before he would take office if he won.
He’s still listed as “challenged” on the county’s website.
* The Sun-Times editorializes…
By law, municipal offices are off-limits to convicted felons. So are school boards — last year a Cook County judge booted the Thornton High School District 205 board president because he had a felony record. But under the state Election Code, a felony on the resume doesn’t appear to bar a felon from running for the County Board, so the board is the first place felons look when they decide to run for political office. The Legislature should put a stop to this by amending the Election Code to extend the municipal ban to other elected offices.
We’re sympathetic to people who want to rebuild their lives and careers after serving time. They’ve paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance. But not in elected office. There are plenty of other careers they can pursue. Putting felons in charge at any governmental level sends a miserable message. […]
Let’s update the state’s Election Code to close the County Board loophole. Let’s make it clear we’re all for ex-offenders rebuilding their lives, but they have no place holding public office.