Wait, I have to vote in the primary again? Didn’t I already do that?
Don’t worry — you’re not a real-life Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” The primary elections on June 7 are just another chance for you to grab one of those fashionable “I Voted” stickers.
Why is there another primary?
In February, the state House voted on and the Senate approved nixing the Congressional primary on March 15 and moved it to June 7. This was done after three federal judges ruled two North Carolina districts violated the Voting Rights Act because lawmakers unconstitutionally drew districts based on racial lines – otherwise known as gerrymandering.
This led to state lawmakers redrawing the maps.
This was the former congressional map before the proposed re-districting:
This is the proposed, redistricted plan:
That means back in March, you (hopefully) voted in races for president, governor and a statewide $2 billion bond issue. As noted in a previous piece on C5 about early voting, the votes generated in Congressional races still listed on the ballot didn’t count. Tomorrow’s votes do count.
And this race may be the most crucial one for our state right now for several reasons.
Deciding the N.C. Supreme Court
As noted in a May 18 Indy Week article, there’s a quiet battle in the N.C. Supreme Court – and it’s going down in an election not many people know about.
The candidates in this race are Democrats Michael Morgan, a Wake County Superior Court Judge, Daniel Robertson, a Davie County bank attorney, and Raleigh attorney Sabra Jean Faires, who’s lawsuit is the only reason this election for the Supreme Court is even happening since incumbent Republican Justice Bob Edmunds would have otherwise run unopposed in a “retention” election.
There’s also concern over low voter turnout since North Carolinians aren’t used to voting in June. It’s a flashback to 2012, when Republicans scheduled voting for Amendment One, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, for May 8. The measure passed and wrote into the state constitution before being overturned in 2015 with the nationwide same-sex marriage ruling.
The 12th District
The redrawn 12th District stays within Mecklenburg County instead of the sliver that included parts of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Lexington, Salisbury, Concord and High Point. This is a particularly big change for current congressional representative Alma Adams, who has to represent her previous district lines but campaign based on her proposed new district area, which will go into effect in January.
The longtime Greensboro resident said she moved to Fourth Ward in April, a move prompted by the district change even though the Constitution only requires members of Congress to live in the state they represent, not the district. (A local TV crew recently found her at her Greensboro home. She said she was back in town to visit her daughters and check on repairs to her home.)
“I think you have to make a real concerted effort to really go after people who will be voting, people who have a history of voting,” Adams, a Democrat, said, “but this time, there are a lot of new voters around, so I’m trying to make sure people know who I am.”
Adams’ competitors in the Democratic primary are former Charlotte City Council member Malcolm Graham, and state Reps. Tricia Cotham and Carla Cunningham. Also on the ballot are Winston-Salem resident Gardenia Henley and Greensboro-area resident Rick Miller. (Rep. Rodney Moore has suspended his campaign but remains on the ballot.)
Three Republicans are running the 12th, a district where Republicans make up only about a quarter of the voters. Vying for the nomination are Ryan Duffie and Leon Threatt of Mecklenburg County and Paul Wright of Mount Olive, about 200 miles east of Charlotte.
The 9th District.
Democrat and hat enthusiast Christian Cano faces no competition from his party in District 9, the only other district in the county, stretching into southeastern Mecklenburg.
Republicans have controlled this district since 1963. Incumbent Robert Pittenger faces challenges from Mark Harris, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, and Todd Johnson, a former Union County Commissioner.
Get out and vote
Now that you’re fired up to vote, here’s how to do it on election day, June 7.
- Find your polling place and a sample ballot. Bring your photo ID since it’s now mandatory.
- Go to the polls, open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Vote like a mother.
- Flirt at the grocery store with a flash of your “I Voted” sticker. Hip tip: Cruise the produce aisle.
Photos: Charlotte Observer file; Courtesy of Alma Adams