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Elections already? Yes, and it matters

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  • Ask them a question

    The Observer editorial board will be endorsing in all Charlotte races and this year we want your help. What would most help you decide whom to support for mayor? Send us your top question for the mayoral candidates. We’ll ask the candidates one or two in a reader’s name in coming days and print the responses. You must be a Charlotte resident. Email your question to Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten at tbatten@charlotteobserver.com right now! Or Tuesday at the latest.

    Key dates

    Thursday: Early voting starts

    Sept. 10: Primary day

    Oct. 11: Deadline to register to vote in general

    Nov. 5: General election



Don’t look now – while you’re squeezing the final juice out of summer – but another election is upon us. Not just any election – but one in which Charlotte will name a new mayor and could bounce half or more of its City Council.

Early voting starts Thursday for the Sept. 10 primary, and there’s a precinct-full of subplots. Will Charlotte ever elect a Republican citywide again? Who will replace Anthony Foxx (and interim Patsy Kinsey) as mayor? Will at-large freshmen Claire Fallon and Beth Pickering hang on to their seats? Does Charlotte care?

The one thing that’s certain: Turnover. Besides choosing the new mayor, Charlotte voters will fill at least four of the seven district seats with new faces. At least one new at-large council member will also win, and perhaps more. Four council members will essentially be elected in the primary, because only one party is fielding a candidate in their races, and three others will have token opposition.

We know it’s hard to get excited. It seems like it’s permanently campaign season these days and, unless you’re a real news junkie, you know as much about the Charlotte candidates as the Charlottesville ones.

But if this year’s legislative session showed anything it is, as both sides say, that elections have consequences – and not just the presidential election. In fact, you could argue the lower a race is on the ballot, the higher its impact on your life.

Consider what Charlotte’s City Council has tackled in recent times. Providing millions to build an uptown stadium for baseball’s Charlotte Knights. Giving the Carolina Panthers $87 million for stadium upgrades. Agreeing to a $816 million capital plan. Providing incentives to bring Chiquita, MetLife and other companies. Approving and rejecting rezonings that shape Charlotte neighborhoods. And if you are a typical homeowner, you paid more than $1,000 in property taxes this year to help fund it all.

If that’s not enough reason to pay attention, Observer reporter Jim Morrill’s story on Saturday is. Morrill and researcher Maria David dug into the candidates’ backgrounds. Some of their findings should get citizens off their couches and into the voting booth.

So clue in and turn out. Or you’ll go two years with no grounds for complaint.

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This affects comments on all stories.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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