Oaks re-reg­is­ters to vote, mak­ing him el­i­gi­ble to serve

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Erin Cox ecox@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­natTheSun

Former state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks is once again on Mary­land’s vot­ing rolls, mak­ing the disgraced ex-law­maker tech­ni­cally el­i­gi­ble to be re-elected to his old job if he wins the pri­mary election this month.

Oaks, who pleaded guilty to a felony in March and is await­ing sen­tenc­ing, said be­com­ing a state se­na­tor again was not the rea­son he reg­is­tered to vote last week. But he did not ex­plain why he did.

The long­time Demo­crat re­peated in a brief in­ter­view that if he wins the June 26 pri­mary, he would de­cline the nom­i­na­tion. His sen­tenc­ing on fed­eral cor­rup­tion charges is sched­uled for July.

Oaks’ de­ci­sion to again be­come a voter com­pli­cates the al­ready con­tentious and racially charged con­test for the Sen­ate’s 41st District in North­west Bal­ti­more.

Oaks is on the bal­lot with two other can­di­dates: po­lit­i­cal new­comer J.D. Mer­rill and former Del. Jill P. Carter, who was ap­pointed to fin­ish Oaks’ term this year. Oaks has rep­re­sented the district since 1995 and has broad name recog­ni­tion.

Be­fore he re­joined the vot­ing rolls on June 5 — the last day to reg­is­ter — Oaks was not qual­i­fied to be a can­di­date, ac­cord­ing to elec­tions of­fi­cials.

As a newly reg­is­tered voter, he is qual­i­fied — even though he is fac­ing a lengthy prison sen­tence and says he does not want the job.

Oaks re­signed from the state Sen­ate in March just hours be­fore he pleaded guilty in the fed­eral cor­rup­tion case against him. Oaks stood ac­cused of fraud, bribery and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. He pleaded guilty to a pair of felony fraud charges.

A few weeks later, he re­voked his voter reg­is­tra­tion in an ef­fort get his name off the bal­lot. Mary­land’s high­est court ruled ear­lier this month that it was too late to re­print bal­lots.

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