Among the many things on the Nov. 6 D.C. ballot are two charter amendments that would automatically remove any elected official — mayor or council member — who is convicted of a felony while in office. That’s clear enough. But should that official ever be allowed to hold office again? That’s less clear.
The issue has prompted disagreement between D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson and the D.C. Board of Elections, according to the Current. Mendelson believes that the council intended to mean that a convicted felon would be able to run for office again after paying off his or her debt to society, while the board thinks that the council legislation actually bans those felons from ever holding office again.
The ballot language printed by the board for the November 6 election outright says that those felons would be banned forever, saying that they would be “ineligible to remain in office and ineligible to ever hold the office again.” But in comments to the Current, Mendelson criticized this interpretation. “The summary statement speaks of a lifetime ban, but I think that the summary statement’s incorrect. ...We do have a belief in our society that a person who has done his time can then re-enter society and then be able to contribute as a productive member of society.”
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]