2020 Election

The last time redistricting was at stake, in 2010, Republicans flipped 20 state legislative chambers from blue to red nationwide, including both houses in North Carolina. They seized control of mapmaking after the census.

This time, Democrats are mobilizing.

The chief judge for the Enka/Candler Library polling place in Buncombe County, Beth Aldecoa, works during the June 23 Republican runoff election in the 11th Congressional District.
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

The dynamics of the global pandemic are driving up the need for more poll workers while simultaneously making people willing to work the polls harder to find.

Absentee voter ballot envelope
Flickr / Nadya Peek

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many North Carolina voters are choosing to cast their ballot via mail. Over 90,000 North Carolinians have requested a mail-in absentee ballot so far, nearly five times as many requests as this time in 2016. 

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump is coming to the Triangle on Monday to visit a facility involved in work to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

This week in state politics: The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in wide and various ways. From touchscreen voting machines to an annual bar exam, there are questions about risk and necessity.

In their weekly review of state politics, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss remote learning, elections preparations, and President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back plans for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.

More than 30 states have asked the National Guard to help safeguard the 2020 election from cyber threats.

Voting sign
Wikipedia Commons

Millions of dollars are pouring into the political campaigns that will ultimately determine control of the North Carolina Legislature.

A picture of people in voting booths
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina NAACP has asked a judge to bar the use of a touch-screen voting machine in several counties due to what it says are heightened risks associated with using them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign rally in Durham's historically-black Hillside High School on Sunday, October 27, 2019.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is ramping up its advertising and deploying some of its high-profile surrogates as it tries to solidify a broad battleground map that his advisers see as giving him multiple paths to an Electoral College majority.

Self-declared presidential candidate Kanye West delivered a winding and unconventional campaign introduction speech in which he proposed a $1 million payout to each new mother and decried Harriet Tubman for her work on the Underground Railroad.

But whether the rapper and fashion designer is actually seeking the nation's highest office remains a question.

This week in state politics: More remote learning became a reality this week when Gov.  Roy Cooper announced North Carolina public schools will not return like normal next month as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise.

Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss the governor's choice to recommend a mix of online and in-person schooling for K-12 students. 

Meanwhile, the latest campaign finance reports show Democrats are building a financial advantage. And in Asheville, city council members unanimously voted to provide Black residents with reparations.

 


North Carolina Republican legislators insisted that a photo ID provision be included in order to pass a badly needed bill to adjust some election laws and to fund additional election costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aisha Dew first volunteered on a political campaign 30 years ago, when she was a young girl. In 2016, she was leading Bernie Sanders' campaign in North Carolina. Today, she works with Higher Heights, seeking to mobilize Black women and increase their participation – and representation – in politics.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Dew discusses her focus for 2020, and whether one institutional hurdle for Black candidates is getting any lower.
 


File photo of polling worker as she enters a polling place in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 24, 2019 as early voting began in the Republican primary election for the North Carolina 9th Congressional District, a special election that was forced after l
Chuck Burton / AP

Anne Moebes signed up to work at a polling site in Buncombe County for the March 3 primaries, just before the coronavirus pandemic really hit the United States. It was her first time volunteering as a poll worker and she ended up serving as a precinct judge.

This week in state politics: North Carolina lawmakers failed to override the governor's vetoes so that gyms and skating rinks that were shutdown because of the pandemic could reopen. But in court, a group of bowling alleys won their argument that they're no riskier than resturants operating at limited capacity. 

Meanwhile, the tension over how Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is calling the shots during the COVID-19 emergency brought an abrupt end to a meeting of top state elected officials. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss those developments, plus record-breaking fundraising in the U.S. Senate race, and one early outcome of protests over police misconduct. 
 


Madison Cawthorn for Congress

A 24-year-old political newcomer handily defeated a candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump in yesterday’s Republican runoff election in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. 

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Voters across Georgia experienced long lines at the polls and widespread issues with a new $104 million voting system in the state's Tuesday primary.

In the city of Atlanta, voters waited upwards of three hours at some polling places as social distancing measures decreased the number of voting machines and people inside a polling place at one time.

Credit: Union County Government

With rare consensus from Democrats and Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives, House Bill 1169 — which outlines provisions for an anticipated increase in absentee-by-mail voting this fall — passed 116-3 last week.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

How does a campaign fundraise during a pandemic? If the RNC departs from Charlotte, does that give anyone a political advantage? Will we see the customary election-year rallies this fall?  

North Carolina political strategist Jonathan Felts offers his answers on this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast. And he talks about working with future candidates for office in Afghanistan. 


Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Among the political disputes playing out in North Carolina these days is how best to hold elections this November. 

There are safety concerns for casting ballots in person, and financial considerations for elections officials expecting a significantly larger contingent wanting to vote by mail because of the coronavirus. 

Author David Daley joins the WUNC Politics Podcast to talk about the perils for democracy during a pandemic. And he discusses his 2016 book about gerrymandering, "Ratf**ed". 
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered North Carolinians to stay at home for thirty days starting 5 p.m. Monday, March 30. Healthcare providers worried about being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients cheered his decision. Businesses not necessarily. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers this week began meeting, telephonically, to consider things like how to provide tax relief and get money to all the people who are suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. 

From a safe social distance, Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation, weigh in. 
 


The State Board of Elections on Thursday asked legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper to make it easier for people to vote absentee by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

It's been three weeks since Super Tuesday. Dozens of winners in federal, state, and local races were celebrating that night. But the vast majority of candidates who were on North Carolina's packed primary ballots lost. 

Greg Gebhardt is an Iraq war veteran, once a staffer for powerful state House Rep. David Lewis, and father of three. 

He spent months traversing the state, raising and spending money to improve his name recognition in the crowded race to be the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.

But he came up short. And losing, he says, is a lonely place. 
 


WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Presidential primary voters in North Carolina gave Joe Biden a decisive win on Super Tuesday after he'd been lagging in recent polls. 

The primaries also confirmed that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will face off against Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in the general election. 

In previous races, Forest's campaigns have benefited from insurance tycoon Greg Lindberg's big dollar contributions. A federal jury found Lindberg guilty this week of attempting to bribe the state insurance commissioner. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss the diversity — or lack thereof — of the candidates who will be on the November ballot and whether Forest should disavow Lindberg's money now. 


Russia's trolling specialists have evolved their disinformation and agitation techniques to become subtler and tougher to track, according to new research unveiled on Thursday.

A cache of Instagram posts captured by researchers showed that the Russians were "better at impersonating candidates" and that influence-mongers "have moved away from creating their own fake advocacy groups to mimicking and appropriating the names of actual American groups," wrote Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin professor who analyzed the material with her team.

A map of North Carolina showing which counties went for former Vice President Joe Biden and which went for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
North Carolina State Board of Elections

Super Tuesday narrowed the Democratic presidential field to a race between two men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The majority of Democratic North Carolinians cast their ballots for Biden, giving him the state and adding fuel to his comeback after a landslide win in the South Carolina primary. And today former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Biden.

This is the total number of registered voters in North Carolina. Among these voters approximately 2.5 million are registered Democrats, more than 2 million are registered Republicans, and just about 2.3 million are unaffiliated. There are about half a million more registered women than men. Of the state’s 100 counties, Wake has the most registered voters (751,000). Mecklenburg has the second most at approximately 745,000.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated at 7:30 p.m. 

President Donald Trump lobbed fresh criticism at the Democratic presidential field Monday as he made an appearance in North Carolina to rev up his supporters on the eve of Super Tuesday's big round of primaries.

In North Carolina's 2016 primaries, about a third of voters cast ballots early, with the remaining two-thirds turning out on election day.

"If that pattern holds, we could be talking about a million registered voters participating on Tuesday.  That would be pretty substantial," said Michael Bitzer, professor of political science at Catawba College, noting that North Carolinians cast just under 800,000 early votes by absentee ballot and at one-stop polling sites this year. There are more than 6.9 million registered voters in the state.

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