It’s primary season once again, and the presidential race isn’t the only high-stakes election to watch this year. This year North Carolina voters will also elect a governor, Council of State, U.S. Senator, U.S. congressional representatives, judges and new General Assembly members.
When are the primary elections?
March 3, or “Super Tuesday.” In 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law moving primary elections to March from May. Thirteen other states have scheduled primary elections for March 3, including Texas and California, the two most populous.
How do I vote?
You can check Orange County’s website to find your polling place and sample ballot. Orange County also offers in-person early voting, which begins Feb. 13, and absentee voting by mail, which begins Jan. 13.
To vote absentee, voters need to fill out a request form and turn it in by Feb. 25. Orange County no longer accepts faxed or emailed forms, so voters must mail the form to P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278 or hand deliver it to 208 S. Cameron Street in Hillsborough. All absentee ballots are due to the Orange County Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. on March 3.
You must be registered to vote in Orange County to participate in the county's primaries. You can fill out the voter registration form and hand it to the Orange County Board of Elections office by 5 p.m. on Feb. 7. If you miss that deadline, you can also register during the early voting period by bringing valid ID and voting on the same day.
Do I need a voter ID?
No. On Dec. 31, a federal district court struck down North Carolina’s voter photo ID law. Attorney General Josh Stein said in a Jan. 2 news release that the North Carolina Department of Justice will appeal the ruling. However, the N.C. Department of Justice won’t request that it take effect before the election to avoid confusion.
What are the stakes?
North Carolina is a key swing state in the presidential election, and many of our statewide elections are competitive, especially the governor and U.S. senate races. Our congressional and senatorial elections will help decide which party controls Congress.
This year, North Carolina voters will choose all 13 congressional representatives in new voting districts. A state panel of judges struck down the 2018 maps and ordered new ones, which the General Assembly approved in November. The Democrats challenged the maps soon after, but the panel upheld them in December. Experts predict the new map will narrow the Republicans’ advantage from 10 seats to eight.
Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis R-N.C. faces three primary challengers: Paul Wright, Sharon Hudson and Larry Holmquist. Five Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination, including state senator Erica Smith and Army veteran Cal Cunningham, who was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
All 170 seats of N.C. General Assembly’s are also up for election in 2020, and the winners will draw North Carolina’s voting maps for the next decade – which may include an extra congressional district. According to an Election Data Services report, 2019 Census population data suggests that North Carolina will gain a 14th congressional seat.
Here’s a list of statewide and local candidates.
- Kevin E. Hayes
- Shannon W. Bray
- Cal Cunningham
- Trevor M. Fuller
- Atul Goel
- N.C. Sen. Erica D. Smith (D-Beaufort)
- Steve Swenson
- Larry Holmquist
- Sharon Y. Hudson
- U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis R-N.C., incumbent
- Paul Wright
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
- Rep. David E. Price, incumbent
- Daniel Ulysses Lockwood
- Debesh Sarkar
- Steve A. (Von) Loor
- Robert Thomas
- Nasir A. Shaikh
The Constitution Party
- Al Pisano
- Gov. Roy Cooper, incumbent
- Ernest T. Reeves
- Steven J. DiFiore
- N.C. Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hannover)
- Lt. Gov. Dan Forest
N.C. LT. GOVERNOR
- Bill Toole
- N.C. Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe)
- N.C. Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D-Wake)
- N.C. Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg)
- Hoke County Commissioner Allen Thomas
- Ron Newton
- Mark Robinson
- Deborah Cochran
- N.C. Sen. Andy Wells (R-Alexander and Catawba)
- Greg Gebhardt
- Renee Ellmers
- Scott Stone
- Buddy Bengel
- John L. Ritter
- Mark Johnson, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction
N.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL
- Josh Stein, incumbent
- Jim O'Neill
- Sam Hayes
- Christine Mumma
- Beth A. Wood, incumbent
- Luis A. Toledo
- Anthony Wayne (Tony) Street
- Tim Hoegemeyer
N.C. COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
- Donovan Alexander Watson
- Jenna Wadsworth, Wake County soil and water conservation district supervisor
- Walter Smith
- Steve Troxler, incumbent
N.C. COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE
- Wayne Goodwin
- Mike Causey, incumbent
- Ronald Pierce
N.C. COMMISSIONER OF LABOR
- Jessica Holmes, Wake County Commissioners chairperson
- Pearl Burris Floyd
- N.C. Rep. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell)
- Chuck Stanley
SECRETARY OF STATE
- Elaine Marshall, incumbent
- Chad Brown
- E.C. Sykes
- Michael LaPaglia
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
- James Barrett
- Constance (Lav) Johnson
- Jen Mangrum
- Michael Maher
- Keith A. Sutton, Wake County school board member
- N.C. Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union)
- Catherine Truitt
- Matt Leatherman
- Ronnie Chatterji
- Dimple Ajmera
- Dale R. Folwell, incumbent
SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE SEAT 01
- Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, incumbent
- Associate Justice Paul Newby
N.C. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SEAT 02
- N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman
- N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger, Jr.
SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SEAT 04
- Justice Mark Davis, incumbent
- Tamara Barringer
N.C. COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 04
- Tricia Shields
- District Court Judge April C. Wood
N.C. COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 05
- Superior Court Judge Lora Christine Cubbage
- District Court Judge Fred Gore
N.C. COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 06
- Gray Styers
- Judge Chris Dillon, incumbent
N.C. COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 07
- Judge Reuben F. Young, incumbent
- Superior Court Judge Jeff Carpenter
N.C. COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 13
- Judge Chris Brook, incumbent
- District Court Judge Jefferson G. Griffin
N.C. STATE SENATE DISTRICT 23
- N.C. Sen. Valerie P. Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange), incumbent
- Tom Glendinning
N.C. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 050
- N.C. Rep. Graig R. Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange) , incumbent
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 056
- N.C. Rep. Verla C. Insko (D-Orange), incumbent
- Joe Parrish
Orange County voters will elect new county commissioners, school board members and district court judges this year.
Four of seven county commissioner seats are up for election, and all four incumbent commissioners are running for reelection. Four of the Orange County School Board’s seven seats are also up for election, but only Vice Chairperson Tony McKnight is running for reelection.
N.C. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 15B SEAT 02
- Samantha H. Cabe, incumbent
N.C. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 15B SEAT 03
- Lamar F. Proctor, Jr.
- Noah Oswald
- Hathaway Pendergrass
- Erika R. Bales
N.C. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 15B SEAT 04
- Sherri Murrell, incumbent
N.C. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE DISTRICT 15B SEAT 05
- Beverly A. Scarlett, incumbent
ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AT-LARGE
- Amy Fowler
- Mark Marcoplos, incumbent
ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DISTRICT 01
- Penny Rich, incumbent
- Jean Hamilton
- Mark Dorosin, incumbent
ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DISTRICT 02
- Renee Price, incumbent
ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION
- Lori Bateman
- Carrie Doyle
- Tony McKnight, incumbent vice chairperson
- Jennifer D. Moore
- Bonnie Hauser
- LaTarndra Strong
- Jennie McCray
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