2020 North Carolina Elections

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Timer Colen has been on a political journey of sorts this year, starting out as an Andrew Yang supporter, then switching to Bernie Sanders after Yang dropped out and finally landing on plans to vote for Joe Biden.

"He's not as progressive as I would like," said the 22-year-old registered independent voter. Colen is an engineering student at Davidson College outside of Charlotte, N.C.

State officials have been preparing for a major spike in mail-in ballots since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March. North Carolina will be the first state in the country to start sending out mail-in ballots this year on Sept. 4, and election officials are prepared to pre-process votes received by mail. 

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. faces challenges within his own party this week in advancing the Republican health care bill.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Friday morning, the Senate will hold the first congressional hearings with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as complaints about slow mail delivery pile up.

Boxes of absentee ballot requests sit at the Durham County Board of Elections office in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The county has seen an increase in the number of absentee ballot requests for the 2020 election during the coronavirus pandemic
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Interest in absentee-by-mail voting is way up this year in North Carolina. Voters are submitting absentee ballot request forms at a record pace — requests statewide are already 10 times ahead of where they were four years ago — and elections officials are working hard to keep up.

Workers at the Durham County Board of Elections process absentee ballot requests while maintaining safety during the coronavirus pandemic in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
File, Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Few people, if anyone, track voting data in North Carolina more closely than Michael Bitzer. The Catawba College political scientist posts near daily upates on his Old North State Politics blog, crunching the latest numbers from elections officials across the state. And Bitzer's steady stream of tweets make something very clear: 2020 is shaping up to be very different from previous presidential election years.

Ebony West
Courtesy of Ebony West

The all-virtual Democratic National Convention ends tonight with a speech from the party's presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

This week, Democratic delegates from across the country, including North Carolina, have joined the convention mostly from their homes.

Mecklenburg County Elections Director Michael Dickerson demonstrates a new touch-screen voting unit.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Touch-screen ballot-marking machines will remain in use in North Carolina this fall, a judge ruled in a case in which voters questioned the equipment's accuracy and health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incumbent Republican State Rep. Stephen M. Ross stands outside the Alamance County Republican Headquarters in Burlington on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Ross is up for reelection for North Carolina's House District 63, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

While races for the White House and North Carolina Executive Mansion headline the many political contests of 2020, there is perhaps no greater prize up for grabs than power of state legislatures. In addition to weighing-in on Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Roy Cooper or Dan Forest, North Carolina voters will also determine who gets authority over the next round of redistricting.

Republican nominee candidate for NC Congressional District 11 Madison Cawthorn is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct.  BPR spoke with Cawthorn at a law enforcement rally over the weekend:

This week: American political history was made as Joe Biden introduced U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the presidential race. Her presence on the ticket might impact voter turnout in North Carolina. Then again, it might not.

Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest dropped a lawsuit against his gubernatorial opponent, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, plus: what Postmaster General Louis DeJoy means for 2020, and signs of relief for North Carolinians who are still out of work.


Delegates at the scaled-back Republican National Convention later this month in Charlotte, N.C., must wear masks, and the GOP plans to track everyone's movements with badges equipped with Bluetooth technology.

The special badges will allow officials to find out whom they came in contact with if someone later gets sick from the coronavirus, said Jeffrey Runge, the convention's health consultant.

That will make contact tracing easier, he said.

Flickr/Phil Roeder

What insight do the polls hold less than 90 days away from the November elections? North Carolina has remained a bright purple target in the Electoral College and has received increased attention from presidential candidates in the 21st century. Former Vice President Joe Biden currently holds the lead in the Old North State, with four percentage points over President Donald Trump in a CBS Battleground Tracker Poll published on Aug. 2.

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.

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.

Voting sign
Wikipedia Commons

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

next gen america
Rachel Weber / Next Gen America

Registering to vote is usually an interactive, interpersonal effort, where organizations host registration events at college campuses or churches. But in the time of pandemic, it's changed the way nonprofit organization are reaching potential voters.

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.
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.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

North Carolina is just one of five states this year with concurrent races for the presidency, U.S. Senate and the governorship. Protesters demanding police reform and racial justice, and the pandemic from the coronavirus, could impact how these elections turn out.


Vote Here sign
Erik Hersman / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1ezRl1S

North Carolina is accustomed to deep partisan divisions over elections law. Republicans and Democrats, along with voting rights advocates, have been battling at the Legislature and in court over issues like redistricting and voter ID for most of the past decade.

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