As the local election headquarters, Queen City News is here to inform you that today is election day in the Carolinas. The polls in North Carolina opened at 6:30 am this morning, while in South Carolina they opened at 7 am. Due to it being a midterm or presidential election year, voter turnout is expected to be lower.
Capital reporter Michael Highland explains that the low turnout in previous elections has prompted a push for changes in North Carolina going forward. If you live in certain areas, you may have important decisions to make today regarding who will lead your community.
Local elections will be taking place in 86 counties. Olivia McCall, the elections director in Wake County, has noted that the most common concern from voters is uncertainty about whether they should even show up to vote.
Many are unsure if there are any issues or candidates that require their attention. Therefore, it is crucial for voters to check their information.
So far, turnout has been low in previous elections. For example, the September Primary in Sanford had a turnout of only 7%, while in Charlotte it was just under 5%.
Other communities, such as Durham and Wake Counties, had a turnout of 12% and Cumberland and Guilford had 8%. Chris Cooper, an expert on state politics at Western Carolina University, does not anticipate Tuesday’s turnout to be much better. He believes that only about half of the races on the ballot are even competitive. Cooper explains that there is a tradeoff between higher voter turnout and a more representative election.
He questions whether moving the elections to even-numbered years would be a good idea. Jerry Cohen, a member of the Wake County Board of Elections, mentions that when Raleigh, Asheville, and Winston Salem moved their elections to even-numbered years, turnout roughly tripled.
Additionally, there is also a cost issue, as a runoff election for a Town Council seat in Cary on Tuesday is estimated to cost around $125,000. However, some local leaders are hesitant to move the elections as they believe it would entangle these races in national politics. They fear that running them alongside presidential, congressional, and state legislative elections would cause them to be overshadowed. Despite this, over 40,000 people in Mecklenburg County have already voted early, according to new data from the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.
This year’s ballot includes races for Charlotte’s mayoral seat, a multi-billion dollar bond referendum to improve facilities at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, and other municipal positions..