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Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Poll: Does Criminal Activity Disqualify a Candidate

And now for a new poll: up in Alaska, Senator Ted Stevens just got convicted of corruption. He's still campaigning, and it's still possible he may win. So I got to wondering about our local electorate. How do you feel about candidates who get caught breaking the law?

Job applications regularly ask "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Should voters ask the same question? Is even an arrest enough reason to exclude a candidate from your consideration in the voting booth? Thus, two questions for today's Madville Times poll:
  1. Would you vote for someone who's arrested for a serious crime during the campaign?
  2. Would you vote for someone who's been convicted of a serious crime?
Vote in the right-hand sidebar, and leave your comments here!


  1. What do you define as a serious crime? does it have to be a felony?

  2. Q1. Would you vote for someone who's arrested for a serious crime during the campaign?

    A1. Maybe, but the arrest would be a negative factor to consider. It would also depend on her or his past record.

    Q2. Would you vote for someone who's been convicted of a serious crime?

    Q2. No.

  3. Good question, Anon! What do you think? The Vote Yes for Life people committed a misdemeanor by not revealing the source of donations they spent on their campaign. That's a misdemeanor by law, but I consider it serious in the context of a political campaign. A first DUI is a misdemeanor, but it's very serious in my book. What do you think?

  4. Are you saying that if one of our local candidates for District 8 Senate, District 8 House, or County Commission were arrested for a DUI during the campaign that you would not vote for them?

    If I may, let me pose another question: Do you believe that someone who has been arrested for a serious crime during a campaign or who has been convicted of a serious crime should withdraw themselves as a candidate?

  5. Here's my take, for what it's worth, in detail ...

    A crime meets a certain "threshold of severity" if it is a felony. Felonies in a given state are enumerated in absolute terms (even if I might not agree with all the specifics).

    If a person has been arrested for a crime, she or he is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Therefore, I would not necessarily disqualify a candidate on that basis; but the arrest could not help but color my opinion, especially if the evidence was strong and the alleged crime severe. In any event, this would be a subjective judgement on my part at the election; that is to say, it would be relative.

    If a person is convicted of a felony during the course of a campaign, then, in my opinion, they should be required to withdraw immediately. No felon should ever run for public office unless his or her record has been expunged. These factors can be laid out in absolute terms according to the definition of a felony in the state where the candidate resides.

  6. I'm not saying, Anon -- I'm just asking.

    But I will say that what Stan says below makes a lot of sense. Felons lose voting rights; Stan makes a strong argument that they should also lose the right to get votes for public office. The arrest question is a good one -- an arrest doesn't look good at all, but it also in itself doesn't show guilt.

    Further opinions?

  7. What is a serious crime. Gene Anderson getting arrested for DWI is a serious crime since he is putting other peoples lives at risk when he is on the roadway. I am ashamed as a Democtrate that I voted for him and this happened.


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