Elections

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

A federal judge in Raleigh is hearing arguments this week on a case that challenges the legality of new electoral maps for the Wake County boards of commissioners and education. While several lawsuits have challenged the constitutionality of districts drawn by the Republican-majority General Assembly since 2011, this one focuses on the maps in only one county.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ann Howell was unseated in an election that was decided by one vote.
Town of Princeville

For years, Linda Joyner had been unsatisfied with the lack of recreational opportunities for children and teenagers in her small town in Eastern North Carolina. And she was unhappy about other things in the town of Princeville, population 2,000: the state government had taken over parts of the town administration, and the town did not have its own police department.
 

This year, she said, she got tired of hearing herself complain, registered as a candidate to the town’s Board of Commissioners, and knocked on more than 300 doors to ask people for her vote.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina cities and counties would be prohibited from being “sanctuaries” for people living in the country illegally, under a bill tentatively approved by the Senate on Thursday.
 
The plan would prohibit local governments from directing their police officers to not collect people’s immigration information and report it to federal authorities. Senate Republicans gave the initial nod in a largely party-line vote of 34 to 11. The House of Representatives would have to agree before sending the bill to the governor.
 

Ballot Box
Wikipedia

North Carolina Republicans want to continue tweaking voters' experience at the ballot by allowing candidates for the Supreme Court and local school boards to publicly run with the support of their political party. 

A state legislative committee on Tuesday gave the first nod to two proposals that would make partisan the races for the state’s two highest courts—the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals—and the state’s 115 school districts.

While Democratic resisted a bill making judicial races partisan, it was the plan for local school board races that split Republicans.

Photo: Map of North Carolina
Flickr user Lindley Ashline

A coalition of Democratic and Republican state representatives wants to cede their responsibility to draw North Carolina's electoral districts, to non-partisan staff or a non-partisan commission.

They say they want to take politics out of the process, but similar efforts have failed for more than 20 years.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit challenging Wake County’s school board election maps.

The Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice is challenging the 2013 redistricting on behalf of a handful of Wake County residents and two local organizations. They argue that the new districts drawn by the Republican-led General Assembly disfavor urban voters.

Researchers at Duke have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in North Carolina’s congressional voting districts could affect election outcomes.
Duke University

Back in 2012, more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans in North Carolina’s Congressional elections. But Republicans ended up winning nine out of the state’s 13 seats that year. Those numbers piqued the interest of researchers at Duke, who decided to seek a mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. They recently published a study with their results.

Voter Sticker
Vox Efx on Flickr

    

Republican State House Speaker Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Senator Kay Hagan in one of the most-watched and most expensive races in the country. Hagan's defeat was one of several nationwide that gave Senate control to the GOP.

At the state level, the Republican party maintained control of both houses of the legislature.

Photo from the Renee Ellmers and Clay Aiken debate.
Jessica Jones

As we inch closer toward election day, healthcare remains an important issue for the campaigns. 

Keith Ivey / Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina voters are choosing their candidates for a competitive U.S. Senate seat, the state Supreme Court and dozens of other state and federal offices.  Local election workers planned to open more than 2,700 precinct locations today.

Eight Republicans are seeking their party's nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. She has her own primary against two lesser-known opponents.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin Hudson has two challengers for her seat. The top two vote-getters advance to the November election. 

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

Elections for seats on the NC Supreme Court are purportedly nonpartisan. But one race this year is already infused with large outside donations and negative advertising. The state's highest court likely will rule on cases regarding redistricting, teacher tenure, voter ID laws and same-sex marriage in the coming year. Those contentious issues make the race for incumbent Democrat Robin Hudson's seat a particularly heated one. Hudson faces Republicans Eric Levinson and Jeannette Doran.

Cumberland County Government

The May 6 primary election is a week from today, and television air waves are crowded with ads for North Carolina’s US Senate seat. But some campaigns for the state General Assembly aren’t being advertised at all.

That’s because there is no challenger in about a third of the districts represented in the assembly.

In Central North Carolina, Representative John Szoka likes visiting elementary schools in his district.

“Now,” Szoka says, “we have a lot of state symbols, right? What’s the state bird? What’s the state tree?”

NC General Assembly

Changes detailed in the state's new voting law now allow bigger donations for candidates. 

Political office seekers were able to start padding their campaign war chests once the calendar changed to 2014.  Candidates for any office can now accept up to $5,000 from a single contributor.  Before the new year, the contribution limit for most donors was $4,000.  Judicial candidates could only accept $1,000 per supporter. 

Fayetteville, NC
City of Fayetteville

Municipal elections take place Tuesday across the state. Just a fraction of registered voters are expected to help decide mayoral races, city council candidacies and one significant school bond measure.

The education referendum is on the ballot in Johnston County. There voters will decide whether or not to allocate $64 million for a school construction bond. Johnston is the second fastest-growing district in the state and leaders say money is needed to provide for the additional student population. There is no organized opposition to the measure.

State Senator Phil Berger
Dave DeWitt

  

Controversy continues at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with the Medicaid director resigning after only eight months on the job.

Raleigh city seal
Wikimedia Commons

In Raleigh, all seven council members and the mayor are up for re-election in October, but one race is uncontested.

In others, it’s not clear whether the challengers pose a serious threat. Recent controversy over feeding the homeless in Moore Square and the firing of the long-time Raleigh City Manager are adding some color to the political battles. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ariella Monti, Raleigh Public Record Bureau Chief, about the upcoming elections.

Yoruba Richen a director, producer, and writer of 'The New Black.'
Luke Rattray

  

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. That same night, Proposition 8 was passed in California, banning gay marriage in the state. 

Obama won by an astounding 24 points in California, leading some to ask if the mobilization of black voters was the critical factor in the passage of Proposition 8. 

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

 

School Board candidates in Guilford County will have to declare their party affiliation starting with the 2016 election. The move to do away with non-partisan elections comes from a law passed by the General Assembly last month. The measure also decreases the number of school board seats in Guilford from 11 to 9 and re-draws district lines so they’re the same as County Commissioners. 

A steady stream of voters are making their way to the polls this election day across North Carolina.   Elections officials predict as many as two million people will vote today.

Leoneda Inge:  More than two-point-five million people voted early in North Carolina. But not Latarcha Lee of Durham.

Latarcha Lee:  It’s just kind of special like, wait til the last minute, you know.

Leah Tedrick-Moutz isn’t that much of a traditionalist.

There’s a toll-free, non-partisan election hotline available for voters with Election Day questions or problems.

Leoneda Inge:  Faculty and staff at UNC’s law school will be fielding calls as part of the national advocacy protection initiative called “Election Protection.” The number to call is – 1-866-OUR-VOTE.  Elizabeth Haddix is senior staff attorney at the UNC Law Center for Civil Rights.  She expects a lot of calls.

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

Thousands of people packed polling places across the state yesterday as early voting began.

North Carolina Central University’s drum-line led a parade of voters in Durham to the student union where they could vote early.  Leotrice Pegues is a senior at NCCU.  She was excited about casting her vote early.   Pegues didn’t get to vote in 2008 because she forgot to switch her registration.

Tomorrow is primary day in North Carolina, again. In races in which no candidate received more than 40% of the vote in the May 8th primary, the top 2 vote-getters vie for their party's nomination in a runoff Tuesday. In addition to several U.S. House and General Assembly seats, there are run-offs for 5 statewide offices. Isaac-Davy Aronson has this look at the two candidates for the Republican nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Republican Governor's Association is attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton in a new television ad.

RGA Ad: Walter Dalton is Bev Perdue's right-hand man. Now Walter Dalton is running away from Perdue.

Gurnal Scott: The ad in part says Perdue and Dalton's policies are the reason for the state's high unemployment rate.

RGA AD: Under Perdue and high tax policies, 40,000 more North Carolinians are out of work.

In the Council of State races, Republicans appear headed for several run offs.

Voters are casting ballots in local elections across the state today. Greensboro voters will pick a mayor and City Council.

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