Laughton ineligible to hold public office
The controversy surrounding state Rep-elect Stacie Laughton just intensified.
Already facing criticism and calls to resign following her failure to disclose that she’s a convicted felon before the voters of Nashua Ward 4 cast their ballots, New Hampshire Watchdog is out with a report that she’s technically prohibited from holding elected office:
The Sun reported that her probation ended in November of 2010, but the bulk of both sentences is suspended pending ten years of good behavior.
New Hampshire law allows convicted felons to vote and hold public office once the sentence is discharged. It allows felons to vote while on probation or suspension, but makes no such exemption for running for or holding office.
The specific citation in New Hampshire law is below:
A person sentenced for a felony, from the time of his sentence until his final discharge, may not:
(a) Vote in an election, but if execution of sentence is suspended with or without the defendant being placed on probation or he is paroled after commitment to imprisonment, he may vote during the period of the suspension or parole; or
(b) Become a candidate for or hold public office.
The report further notes that the New Hampshire State House can technically prevent her from taking the oath of office next month, as the Granite State’s Constitution grants the House the authority to be “judge of the returns, elections, and qualifications” of members.
While Laughton’s being the first transgendered elected official has gained attention nationwide, her criminal background was not brought to light until days after the election. Following several days of silence, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee today followed the lead of Majority Leader Pete Silva in calling for her resignation.