Election Commission Keeps Yusuf Hakeem On Ballot

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Election Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to keep former City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem on the March 5 city ballot, though attorney Stuart James said he should be disqualified.

Attorney James, former chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said Mr. Hakeem had not filed the required financial forms relating to left-over funds in his campaign account from 2006.

He said he should have been making filings twice a year, but did not give a report until after qualifying to take on incumbent Peter Murphy in District 9.

The report tells how his remaining $33,000 was spent, it was stated.

Election Commission members Jerry Summers and Mike Walden said the panel had always "erred on the side of the candidate" and "let the voters decide" when there was a question about the validity of a candidacy.

Chris Clem, Election Commission attorney, said he had conferred with state election officials on the issue, and they checked with the state attorney's office.

In the end, he said, the state officials declined to put anything in writing and said it was a matter for the local election panel to decide.

He said he thought if a lawsuit was filed that "it could go either way."

Attorney Clem said he found a similar situation in Memphis in which the election panel there disallowed the candidate to run, but a judge said he could. 


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