In Virginia, sheriffs are elected constitutional officers elected to four-year terms. They are responsible for their community’s law enforcement, jail administration, court security and civil processing. While some sheriff’s departments handle law enforcement directly, others cede that responsibility to local police departments.
Erik J. Weaver is seeking his sixth term as Madison County Sheriff. He is running unopposed, though he has faced opposition for the office in the past. During his last election, in 2019, he was challenged by two opponents.
Though Weaver is the only candidate certified by the Virginia Department of Elections, voters can write-in other candidates.
Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire for Weaver based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. He provided answers below.
Can you tell us a little about the role of sheriff? What is the office responsible for and how does it differ from the police departments?
Erik J. Weaver: A sheriff in Virginia is tasked with law enforcement duties, jail administration by either running their own jail or serving on a regional jail board, court services, and civil process. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office performs all these functions. This differs from police departments, as their primary function is strictly law enforcement duties.
Madison County is one of several in central Virginia with an uncontested sheriff’s race. Why do you think you have no opponent for this race?
Weaver: Being a sheriff is an honor, but it is not an easy position. It is a political position in addition to the law enforcement services that we provide. I cannot speak as to why the race is uncontested, but I can say that Madison is a small and supportive community.
What do you think about the sheriff’s office working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
Weaver: In some situations, it may be necessary to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), just as there may be a need to work with the FBI, DEA, ATF, or any other federal agency. We work well with our law enforcement partners when the situation warrants.
Are there other pressing issues facing the Madison Sheriff’s Office that you’d like voters to know about?
Weaver: There are no pressing issues the Sheriff’s Office is facing. Like any other office or profession, issues may arise, but they are promptly addressed. Our agency is small and works very well with our community partners to ensure quality service for our citizens.
Do you have any certifications or qualifications for this position that you want voters to know about?
Weaver: I was born and raised in Madison County. I started my law enforcement career as a Virginia State Trooper in 1986. I was a trooper for 16 years before being elected Sheriff of Madison County in 2004, where I am still currently serving. I have been a certified officer continuously since the beginning of my career. I maintain my training per DCJS [the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services] standards. I continue to seek knowledge and training that will allow me to serve the citizens and community. I am a community-oriented sheriff. I enjoy and love the community in which I serve.
More links about the Madison County Sheriff
- Weaver’s campaign contributions, from the Virginia Public Access Project
- Report about Weaver seeking another term as sheriff, for subscribers of the Madison Eagle
- Report about Weaver being fined for violating the Virginia Freedom of Information Act in 2007, for subscribers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch
- A 2008 letter to the editor from a former Madison County Sheriff’s officer criticizing Weaver, for subscribers of the Madison Eagle
- Report about Weaver increasing patrols to catch speeders, from NBC29
As you get ready to vote, here are some key dates and links from the Virginia Department of Elections:
Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.
- Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
- Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
- Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
- Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
- Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
- Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.
Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.