North Carolina voters go to the polls Tuesday in primary elections that, in many cases, will not just nominate candidates but send them on to office.
In Mecklenburg County, primaries will determine the next sheriff, district attorney and a handful of county commissioners. Other primaries, in districts tilted toward one party, will essentially be tantamount to election.
Though statewide turnout is expected to be relatively low, Mecklenburg saw an almost 50 percent increase in early voting from 2014, the last off-year primary. Here are some things to keep in mind.
When can I vote?
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
What's the weather forecast?
Forecasters say Tuesday will be partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain.
What's on the ballot?
Voters across North Carolina will select nominees for Congress. In the Charlotte area, the hottest race is the 9th District Republican primary, pitting incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger against Mark Harris and Clarence Goins. In 2016, Pittenger edged Harris by just 134 votes. In Mecklenburg, Democratic primary voters will effectively elect a sheriff, district attorney and three district county commissioners. Legislative and other county races are also on the ballot.
Who can vote?
Unaffiliated voters have a choice: They can pick either the Democratic or Republican primary.
Anything new this year?
Yes. In multicandidate primaries, a winner needs only 30 percent — not 40 percent — of the vote. That's the result of a change in the law. It will mean fewer runoffs, and make Tuesday's vote even more decisive.
Can I see a sample ballot?
Yes. The Mecklenburg board of elections has a link on its home page, www.meckboe.org, that can take you to a sample ballot.
When will we know who wins?
Results should start coming in a half-hour or so after the polls close. The closer the race, the longer it could take to know the winner.