vote

Mail-in and early voting are underway ahead of the November 2020 election. More than 22 million Americans have already cast their ballots, reports AP news, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic that has transformed the way we conduct elections. Below is what will appear on your ballot if you are registered in the University City area. If this does not describe your location, you can use North Carolina’s voter search tool to view your sample ballot. 

Federal offices

This year is a presidential election. Incumbent Donald Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) are challenged by former Vice President Joe Biden (D) and running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D). Most recent polls show Biden leading Trump by varying margins. You will also see candidates Don Blankenship and William Mohr from the Constitution Party, Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker for the Green Party, and Jo Jorgenson and Jeremy Cohen on the Libertarian ticket. There are a few other independent and third-party candidates, and while it is highly unusual for these candidates to receive enough votes to win the presidency, they do have an important effect on which frontrunner comes out on top. 

Democrats need a net gain of at least four seats to win the Senate, and it looks like for the first time since 2008, North Carolina might help them get there. Polls generally show Democrat Cal Cunningham as leading against incumbent Thom Tillis (R). This competitive Senate race has not been without drama. On Oct. 2, news broke that Cunningham had been exchanging romantic texts with a woman who wasn’t his wife, and on the same day Tillis announced he had contracted the coronavirus, most likely from the super-spreader event hosted by the Trump White House. Libertarian Shannon Bray and Kevin Hayes from the Constitution Party are also in the running. 

The Republican Party holds seven of North Carolina’s 13 congressional seats. Incumbent Alma Adams (D) is running unopposed for the twelfth District. 

State offices

North Carolina is one of 11 states holding a gubernatorial race in 2020. Incumbent Roy Cooper (D), Dan Forest (R), Al Pisano (C) and Steven DiFiore (L) are all running for North Carolina governor. Polls show Cooper leading over Forest after Cooper directed North Carolina’s response to the coronavirus. Cooper hopes to expand Medicaid while Forest has stated that Medicaid expansion would bankrupt North Carolina. The two are also divided on the environment where Cooper plans to expand renewable energy and prohibit drilling off the N.C. coast while Forest plans to expand both onshore and offshore drilling in N.C. If elected, Forest said he would remove Cooper’s statewide mask mandate in response to COVID-19. 

N.C. voters will also select a lieutenant governor from candidates Mark Robinson (R) and Yvonne Lewis Holley (D). The position is currently held by gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest. According to Robinson’s campaign website, if elected he would fight against abortion rights, end indoctrination in schools, defend the Second Amendment, improve veteran care in the state, fight against sanctuary cities and stand up for law enforcement. One of Holley’s main platforms is her Affordable Living Initiative, which would expand affordable housing, workforce development and access to transportation. She also supports Black Lives Matter, addressing climate change and expanding Medicaid.

There are two candidates on the ballot for N.C.’s attorney general: incumbent Josh Stein (D) and Republican Jim O’Neill. Stein, a Chapel Hill native, served in the N.C. Senate from 2009 to 2016. O’Neill is serving his third term as Forsyth County district attorney. In North Carolina, the attorney general represents all state government agencies, departments and commissions in legal matters, provides legal opinions to state leadership and initiates court proceedings in matters of public interest. Stein says his most important issue is racial discrimination in criminal justice. O’Neill has endorsements from Republican sheriffs statewide and is outspoken against violence toward women and elders. 

North Carolina voters will also choose representatives to the General Assembly. According to Ballotpedia, Democrats would need to flip 10% of state Senate seats and 5% of state House seats to take control of each branch. Democrat Carla Cunningham is running unopposed for N.C. House of Representatives District 106. In State Senate District 38, incumbent Democrat Mujtaba Mohammed will face Republican Jack Brosch. According to Transparency USA, Brosch has only raised $140 compared to Mohammed’s $178,000. 

There are many other state positions on the ballot including N.C. auditor, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of labor, secretary of state, superintendent and treasurer. More information about these candidates can be found in The Daily Tarheel's voter guide.

County offices

Incumbent Pat Cotham (D), incumbent Ella Scarborough (D) and Leigh Altman (D) are running for three County commissioner at-large seats. Incumbent George Dunlap (D) is running against Republican Friday Pual Okure for the District 3 county commissioner seat. Dunlap is in his fourth term on the Board and serves as the chairman. He received his master’s degree in public administration from UNC Charlotte in 2003 and a bachelor of science in criminal justice from UNC Charlotte in 1991. Okure is originally from Nigeria and has been a resident of Mecklenburg for 22 years. According to his campaign website, he has degrees in numerous areas including exercise science and ministerial studies. Okure wants to lower taxes and strengthen law enforcement. 

Mecklenburg voters will also choose a soil and water conservation district supervisor. In the running are David Michael Rice, Duncan St. Clair, Gregory Denlea and Rich George. Rice, a Republican, has led several unsuccessful campaigns for Mecklenburg County commissioner, Charlotte mayor and city councillor. If elected, St. Clair hopes to expand micro and urban farming in Mecklenburg County as well as preserve the tree canopy. Denlea lost his campaign for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 2019 and identifies access to quality food and water as the most pressing issue facing the county. George, a Democrat who has been endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, hopes to address the climate crisis.

Referenda 

Charlotte residents will vote on three referenda this election. The 2020 bond referendum would allocate $102.732 million in bonds towards public transportation projects like bike and pedestrian paths and infrastructure improvements, $44.5 million towards neighborhood improvement and $50 million to improvements and rehabilitation of affordable housing. 

Voting

Early voting will last until Oct. 31 with polls open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. During this period, individuals can register to vote and vote in one trip. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

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