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Vote ‘yes’ on ballot to ban felons from serving as sheriffs

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This one is a no-brainer. 

On Nov. 2, voters will be faced with some tough decisions when they select their elected officials—from the county commissioners chamber in Bolivia to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

There will also be a constitutional amendment to the North Carolina Constitution on the ballot, and we say it will be the easiest choice you’ll have to make that Tuesday. 

After approval by the North Carolina General Assembly during its short session this summer, a constitutional amendment will appear on November’s ballot in the form of a referendum to change the North Carolina Constitution to prohibit felons from serving as sheriff in North Carolina. 

The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association and N.C. Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick, one of the co-sponsors of the House bill to include the amendment on the ballot, support the constitutional amendment. 

We do, too.

In the May primary, six convicted felons ran for sheriff in North Carolina, including two former sheriffs who were ousted because of their felony convictions. 

In Davidson County, former sheriff Gerald Hege, who was removed from office for a felony conviction, lost the May primary.

In Washington County, former sheriff Stanley James, also removed from office for a felony conviction, ran and lost. 

Four other convicted felons from across the state ran in the primary election. They were able to run for sheriff because there is nothing in the North Carolina Constitution that prohibits a convicted felon from running and, ultimately, serving in that top law-enforcement position. 

According to an explanation from the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, chaired by N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, the Constitution states voters must elect a county sheriff, but does not state who is eligible to serve as county sheriff. 

The proposed constitutional amendment would outline who is not eligible to serve in that position—a convicted felon. 

In Brunswick County, we know all too well the reality that a sheriff and a felon can be one and the same. 

It appears someone in Raleigh finally took notice of how ridiculous an idea of a felon serving as a county’s chief law enforcement officer really is, and not a moment too soon. 

The law is the law, and we need honest public servants enforcing the law, not convicted felons. 

On Nov. 2, vote in favor of the constitutional amendment to ban felons from serving as sheriff in North Carolina. 

We told you it was a no-brainer.