Make a Better Justice System with Your Vote

Your vote in local elections can help make the justice system more fair, humane and accountable. District attorneys and sheriffs can choose to improve or worsen the problems with our criminal justice system – including mass incarceration, racism and bias, use of the death penalty, and police accountability. DAs and sheriffs are elected every four years, and it is easy to learn what you need to know to inform your vote.

What Problems Do Sheriffs and District Attorneys Have the Power to Solve?

Mass Incarceration

The actions and policies of county sheriffs and district attorneys have a big impact on how many people are incarcerated in your community. The choices they make every day can add up to either a community focused on treatment and rehabilitation, or one that “locks up” as many people as possible.

Police Accountability

District attorneys have the power to make sure that no one is above the law, including police officers who kill civilians in the line of duty. DAs can choose to take police-involved shootings seriously, or they can instead use their power to make sure police do not face any real consequences for their actions.

Ending the Death Penalty

District attorneys have the power to decide whether or not your community’s criminal justice system is sending people to die. It is DAs who make the choice whether or not to seek the death penalty.

Bias and Institutional Racism

Both county sheriffs and district attorneys can take action to ensure the justice system doesn’t target people based on race. They can introduce policies that address systemic bias and implement racial equity training.

School Safety

Sheriffs oversee the placement of the over 1,000 school resource officers (SROs) serving in North Carolina public schools. The sheriff’s office establishes the criteria special deputies must meet to volunteer as SROs, and ensures they receive the necessary training on child development.

Gun Control

Sheriffs decide who gets to have a permit to own a gun. Sheriffs can choose to do a full mental health background check with hospitals and providers, or merely check with the courts if someone was deemed incompetent  – which misses the vast majority of those who are mentally ill.

Learn More About District Attorneys

Not many of us realize just how powerful the office of the district attorney is. Once someone enters the criminal justice system, the choices made by a district attorney can be as serious as life or death. We invite you to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the district attorney, and how their choices can create a better – or worse – justice system for everyone.

Learn More About County Sheriffs

Many of us have a ready mental picture of a sheriff. Maybe someone out in the Wild West on a horse in an old movie, dealing out even-handed justice in a small town. Today’s county sheriffs live and work in a much different world, and their actions and policy decisions can have far-reaching consequences for communities.

Find and Support Your Candidates

When election time comes, research the candidates to make sure they will help create the justice system you want to see. Reach out and ask tough questions if their position isn’t clear. Don’t hesitate to volunteer for or donate to a campaign if you find a great local candidate. Share your knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues.

And when election time comes, make sure you vote!

Download Our Social Sharing Image Pack

One of the easiest way to help educate your friends, family members, colleagues, and other connections is through social sharing. We have created three ready-to-share images you can add easily to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media account to help people understand the close ties between the issues they care about and the actions of their local elected officials.