FLORENCE, S.C. — A date has been set for the election of the next Florence County sheriff.
South Carolina law indicates the sheriff will be elected on Nov. 3, 2020, the same date voters will go to the ballot boxes to vote in the Presidential race.
Current Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone was suspended by Gov. Henry McMaster on April 24, the same day Boone’s indictment was announced by Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office.
Boone was charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count of common law misconduct while in office.
The embezzlement offenses are statutory felonies punishable by up to five years in prison each and a fine at the discretion of the court. The misconduct offense is a common law misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison.
McMaster appointed former Florence County Sheriff William C. “Billy” Barnes, who served from 1974-1993, as Boone’s interim replacement.
Barnes was appointed sheriff until Boone is acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election.
South Carolina law draws a line between sheriff’s vacancies at the one year mark.
Basically, if a sheriff’s position becomes vacant before one year before the next general election for sheriff, a special election is called.
If a sheriff’s position becomes vacant less than one year before the general election, the position is filled in the general election.
The next general election for sheriff is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020, making the one year date this past Sunday, Nov. 3.
If Boone pleads guilty to a felony or a “crime of moral turpitude” now or is convicted of the charges he faces, no special election would be needed and Barnes would fill the remainder of his term.
Boone also could be found innocent of the charges he faces during the next year, at which point he would become the sheriff again until the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
Boone filled out required financial information for his campaign until April of this year — the month he was indicted — but has not provided financial disclosures since.
Four candidates — Republicans Glen Kirby and T.J. Joye and Democrats Darrin Yarborough and Frizell Moore — have announced plans to run for the office.