County election panel kicks ex-con Al Sanchez off ballot - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

County election panel kicks ex-con Al Sanchez off ballot

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Convicted former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez was kicked off the ballot for the Cook County Board, a county elections panel ruled Thursday.

Sanchez, who was released from federal prison last July, had hoped to make his return to politics by taking advantage of a quirk in Illinois law that allows convicted felons to run for county and statewide office — even if they are barred from holding municipal office, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

But the county Electoral Board ruled Sanchez, who remains on probation, was ineligible because he was still serving his sentence when he filed his candidacy paper work for the 4th District seat, representing parts of the suburbs and Southeast Side.

The board adopted the recommendation of hearing officer Barbara Goodman, who heard arguments for and against Sanchez's candidacy earlier this month. Ultimately she advised Sanchez was not eligible to hold office.

"It is reasonable to conclude that the determination of whether a person is eligible to hold office must be made at the time he signs his Statement of Candidacy, not at the time he is sworn into said office," Goodman wrote in her recommendation to the board.

During a hearing earlier this month, Sanchez attorney Dan Johnson maintained his client can take office so long as a federal judge releases him from probation before the victor of the upcoming election is seated, next December.

But an attorney for objector Gia Smith, who lives in the 4th District where Sanchez was running, maintained Sanchez was ineligible because he had not completed his sentence by the time he filed his candidacy paper work.

"When a candidate submits his paperwork to run for office, the candidate states he is eligible — not that he will be eligible for office," Lasker said

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