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Here’s What To Know Before Voting In North Carolina’s Judicial Races

Seal of the North Carolina Judicial Branch
The North Carolina Judicial Branch

Races for executive and legislative positions in North Carolina are in full swing — but what about the third branch of government? There are 190 judicial seats up for election this year, most notably three seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court. 

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, will run to keep her seat against Republican associate justice Paul Newby. Democrat Lucy Inman will face Repulican Phil Berger Jr. for Newby’s vacated seat, and a third open seat will be filled by either Republican Tamara Barringer or Democrat Mark Davis. North Carolina elects its judges and justices in partisan races — Newby is currently the only Republican on the seven-seat court.

The state Supreme Court makes decisions on cases ranging from voter ID requirements to the state’s obligation to ensure access to public education.

In addition to the Supreme Court races, there are five state Court of Appeals races, 163 district court races and 19 superior court races. Host Frank Stasio talks with Jeanette Doran about the importance of the 2020 judicial races, the structure of the court system and how voters can find information about the candidates. Doran is the president and general counsel of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, a conservative-leaning policy organization.

Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.