WASHINGTON – GOP Sen. Ted Stevens' felony conviction won't block him from casting a vote for himself in Tuesday's election.
Stevens was convicted Monday on seven counts of trying to hide more than $250,000 in free home renovations and other gifts that he received from a wealthy oil contractor. Alaska law says "a person convicted of a crime that constitutes a felony involving moral turpitude under state or federal law may not vote in a state, federal, or municipal election from the date of the conviction through the date of the unconditional discharge of the person."
But state legal officials say that since Stevens has not been sentenced yet, he is eligible to vote in the general election, said Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections.
Stevens won't be sentenced until early next year. He faces a maximum 35 years in prison, but is likely to get far less, if any, prison time. If re-elected, he also could face an expulsion vote in the Senate, or senators could recommend a lesser sanction.
The 84-year-old senator, who has represented Alaska in the Senate since 1968, is in a tight race with Democratic challenger Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage.
Several politicians, including GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have called on Stevens to resign. But the senator has said he plans to fight his conviction and for re-election.