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Man sentenced for illegal voting

January 11, 2002

Man sentenced for illegal voting



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


A man with a record of felony convictions who ran unsuccessfully for Sharpsburg Town Council in November admitted Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court that he unlawfully registered to vote and voted in the November 2000 general election.

Jeffrey Irvin Sheffler was given a four-year suspended prison sentence, a four-year concurrent sentence and was fined $1,000 by Judge Frederick C. Wright. He was placed on probation for three years.

Sheffler, who has two felony theft convictions, was ruled a legitimate candidate in the Sharpsburg election despite a unanimous decision in November by the Washington County Election Board to have him removed from the county voter registration rolls.

Maryland law does not permit residents convicted of more than one infamous crime, including felony theft, to register to vote unless they are pardoned. Sheffler was not pardoned, said Thomas McDonough, an assistant Maryland state prosecutor from Towson who prosecuted the case.

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Sheffler, 38, of 116 E. Antietam St., said in November he would not withdraw his candidacy for the election.

In court Thursday, Sheffler said he didn't want to be haunted by his past, having been released from prison in 1999.

"I wonder what kind of a campaign you were going to run with a record like this," Wright said to Sheffler. "Didn't you know this was going to come out?"

Sheffler acknowledged his past was revealed in the local media before the election.

"I wasn't trying to deceive anybody," Sheffler said. "I just had some ideas for things to do in this community."

Sheffler pleaded guilty to felony theft in May 1992 for using bogus credit cards and was ordered to pay almost $50,000 in restitution, court records state.

He pleaded guilty in March 1994 to felony theft for depositing insurance checks made out to his employer into his checking account, court records state.

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