City Electoral Board removes Schoenekase from ballot
4 months, 2 weeks ago by Bob Gough
Three felony convictions keep Quincy man from running for alderman
The City of Quincy Electoral Board upheld the objection of Alderman Mike Rein (R-5th Ward) to remove independent candidate Jonathon Schoenekase from the April 9 municipal ballot.
The Board, made up Mayor John Spring, City Clerk Jenny Hayden, Corporation Counsel Andrew Staff and Alderman Steve Duesterhaus (D-2nd Ward), received an affidavit from Quincy Police Deputy Chief Dennis Bingheim which fully explained Schoenekase's three felony convictions. State law says you cannot run for municipal office in the state of Illinois with a felony conviction.
Schoenekase, who attended the hearing without legal representation, said he believed it was unconstitutional that he could run for other offices (County Board, Park Board, State Representative, etc.) but not run for City office.
But he didn't dispute the convictions.
"I'm not disputing them...I'm trying to better myself," Schoenekase said. "I’ve made mistakes. I’ve paid my dues and I deserve a second chance. I’m doing something positive...I'm not objecting to my past crimninal history."
Staff said he spoke for the board when he said he appreciated Schoenekase changing his lifestyle, but there was an objection filed so the hearing was needed.
Spring said Schoenekase "made a good argument" but the City is bound by state statute. The Board then took a 10 minute break and came back with its ruling.
"After deliberation and looking at the statues and looking at the fact that you have admitted the sworn affidavit was accurate, we have determined under the article in the Illinois state statute...that we will need to sustain alderman Mike Rein’s objection," Spring said. "The law says very clearly if you have any convictions that are felony convictions you are ineligible to be on the ballot."
Schoenekase has five days to appeal. He said he wasn't sure if was going to pursue that option.
The Board made its ruling on the Rein's first objection and did not examine his second objection, with Rein claiming Schoenekase didn't live in the 5th Ward.