On the ballot

July 5, 2010 

What if they put motherhood and apple pie on the election ballot? Presumably, voters would be just about unanimous in signaling their approval. So too, we can hope, with the constitutional amendment that will be on North Carolina's Nov. 2 ballot.

The amendment - hard to believe it's necessary, but there it is - would prohibit felons from serving as sheriffs. Turns out our state constitution is pretty loose on qualifications for office, and there's nothing in it that prevents someone who's served his or her time on a felony conviction from becoming a county's chief law enforcement officer.

What felon would try to do that? Well, six of them, including former Davidson County sheriff Gerald Hege, gave it a go at the May primary elections. All lost, fortunately, but the Sheriffs Association and legislators don't want to leave the door open.

Sheriffs should have strong convictions - upholding fairness and honesty, for example - but not criminal convictions.

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