Elections

Here’s what’s at stake for voters in Tuesday’s election

Staff reports

Voters stand in line at the Beatties Ford Road Regional Library for early voting.
Voters stand in line at the Beatties Ford Road Regional Library for early voting. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

With North Carolina a key presidential battleground state, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s frequent visits have overshadowed a range of local and statewide races. But there’s far more at stake Tuesday besides the White House.

The state has a governor’s race getting national attention and a U.S. Senate race that could determine which party has control over the chamber. Statewide, voters will elect legislators who could determine whether the Republican Party retains its veto-proof majority. A state Supreme Court associate justice seat could change the court’s ideological tilt.

In Mecklenburg, voters will elect the county’s first member of Congress who represents only residents in the county. Also on the ballot: county commissioners, who determine how much local money the schools get, and District Court judges. Charlotte voters will consider $218.4 million in bonds.

Here’s what you need to know:

▪ Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

▪ Not sure where you vote? Go to meckboe.org and click on “Where I Vote” under “Voter Information.”

▪ You do not need an ID to vote. On July 29, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the state law that required a photo ID to vote.

Here are the key statewide and Mecklenburg County races:

U.S. Senate: Incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr faces Democrat Deborah Ross and Libertarian Sean Haugh. The race is tight: Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has Burr with a 1.5 percentage point lead over Ross as of Friday.

Congress: In Mecklenburg County, incumbent Democrat Alma Adams faces Republican Leon Threatt for 12th District and incumbent Republican Robert Pittenger faces Democrat Christian Cano in the 9th. A court ruling forced both districts to be redrawn, putting the 12th District entirely within Mecklenburg County.

Governor: Incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, faces Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and Libertarian Lon Cecil. Real Clear Politics considers the race a toss-up, with Cooper having a slight edge in its average of polls.

Lieutenant governor: Incumbent Dan Forest, a Republican, faces Democrat Linda Coleman and Libertarian Jacki Cole. Four years ago no statewide race was closer than that between Forest and Coleman.

N.C. auditor: Incumbent Beth Wood, a Democrat, faces Republican Chuck Stuber. Wood, first elected in 2009, is a practicing certified public accountant with 28 years’ experience. Stuber resigned from his role as chief investigator for the N.C. State Board of Elections to run for office.

Commissioner of Agriculture: Incumbent Steve Troxler, a Republican seeking his fourth term, faces Democrat Walter Smith, retired and owner of a Yadkin County farm.

Commissioner of Insurance: Incumbent Wayne Goodwin, a Democrat elected in 2008, faces Republican Mike Causey in another rematch. Causey won 48 percent of the vote in his 2012 bid for the office, which regulates insurance companies and agencies in the state.

Commissioner of Labor: Incumbent Cherie Berry, a Republican running for her fifth term, faces Democrat Charles Meeker, former Raleigh mayor. The commissioner leads the state Department of Labor, which is responsible for protecting the health and safety of more than 4 million North Carolina workers. Berry is well known for her photos on elevator inspection certificates. Meeker says the photo would go away if he wins.

Secretary of State: Incumbent Elaine Marshall, a Democrat elected in 1996, faces Republican Michael LaPaglia, who owns a museum consulting firm. The office is responsible for overseeing corporations, charitable solicitations, notaries, securities and lobbying.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Incumbent June Atkinson, a Democrat running for her fourth term, faces Republican Mark Johnson, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board member .

N.C. Treasurer: Democrat Dan Blue III and Republican Dale Folwell are running for the seat. Democrat Janet Cowell isn’t seeking re-election.

General Assembly: In Mecklenburg County, five Senate seats and seven House seats are contested. Expect the Republicans to keep control of both chambers, but Democrats hope to cost Republicans their veto-proof majority.

N.C. Supreme Court associate justice: The state’s highest court has a one-vote conservative majority, and that has been reflected in decisions to uphold redistricting maps found unconstitutional in the federal courts and to allow state funds to be used for private school vouchers. Justice Bob Edmunds, who has been on the court for 16 years, is a Republican from Greensboro facing a challenge from Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a Democrat from Raleigh.

Court of Appeals: The state appeals court has 15 judges who hear cases in panels of three. Five seats are up this year.

County commissioner: Incumbent Democrats Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Ella Scarborough face Republican Jeremy Brasch for three at-large seats. In District 5, incumbent Matthew Ridenhour faces a challenge from Democrat Marc Friedland.

Charlotte city bonds: Charlotte voters are being asked to approve a $218.4 million bond referendum that’s on the November ballot. The 2016 bond will be for three areas: neighborhood improvements, transportation and housing.

Here’s what you need to know:

▪ Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

▪ Not sure where you vote? Go to meckboe.org and click on “Where I Vote” under “Voter Information.”

▪ You do not need an ID to vote. On July 29, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the state law that required a photo ID to vote.

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