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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Candidate Cannot Run for County Office While Under Court Supervision

Last week, the Cook County Officers Electoral Board voted 3-0 to remove the name of convicted felon Alfred “Al” Sanchez from the 2014 primary election ballot. The electoral board found that Sanchez was ineligible to be a candidate for Cook County commissioner in the 4th District – or for any other constitutional office in the state – because he was still under court supervision as part of a 54-month sentence for a felony fraud conviction related to his activities as the former commissioner of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Illinois law allows ex-cons to hold most non-municipal elected offices, including county board seats and state offices like governor and state representative. However, Article VIII, Section 1, of the Illinois Constitution, and section 5-5-5(b) of the Illinois Uniform Code of Corrections, prohibit a convicted felon from holding any office created by the Constitution “until the completion of his sentence.” Since Sanchez was still serving his sentence when he swore under oath on this statement of candidacy form that he was, at that moment, legally qualified to hold the office he was seeking, his nomination papers included a false swearing and were therefore legally invalid.

Full disclosure:  Ancel Glink Attorney Adam Lasker litigated this case before the Electoral Board on behalf of the resident who filed the petition objecting to Sanchez’s candidacy. 

Here is some newspaper coverage of the electoral board action:

Chicago Tribune (Jan. 17, 2014):

Chicago Sun-Times (Jan. 17, 2014):

Chicago Tribune (Jan. 9, 2014):

Chicago Sun-Times (Jan. 7, 2014):
Conviction could knock Sanchez off County Board ballot


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