Bob Shiles Staff writer
October 31, 2013
MAXTON — A candidate for a seat on the Maxton Board of Commissioners is currently in a state prison.
Vincent John Hall, one of five candidates on Tuesday’s ballot, was sentenced in July for two misdemeanors dating back to 2010 and is now in the Hoke County Correctional Center.
According to a spokesperson with the Robeson County jail, the crimes were communicating threats and assault on a state officer. The jail spokesperson said that Hall spent one night in Robeson County’s jail and then was turned over to the state Department of Corrections.
Hall is expected to be released in mid-December.
Although he is now incarcerated, Hall will be on Tuesday’s elections ballot.
“The only crime that can keep a person from running or serving in an elected public office is conviction of a felony,” said Don Wright, legal counsel for the State Board of Elections. “Even if arrested and charged with a felony, the candidate or elected official’s status is not affected unless there is a conviction.”
Wright said that the only reason a felon cannot run for or serve in a public office is because a felon loses his U.S. citizenship.
Tina Bledsoe, interim director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said that her office has received calls from Maxton residents concerned about Hall’s name appearing on the ballot.
“Unless he’s a convicted felon, we can’t take him off the ballot,” Bledsoe said.
The five candidates are running for two seats on the board. The other candidates are Victor R. Womack Sr., an incumbent, and challengers Emmett “Chip” Morton, Harold Seate and Margaret Gilchrist. Morton is a former Maxton commissioner.
James McDougald is not seeking re-election to the board.