When voters in North Carolina go to the polls this fall, they will cast ballots for all 170 members of the General Assembly. They will also elect the state’s 14 members of Congress and a new senator to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr. A host of local races and referendums will also be on ballots around the state.
This will be the biggest election in North Carolina since 2020, with the race for U.S. Senate between Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley attracting national attention. The next senator from North Carolina could help decide the balance of power in Washington D.C.
Conventional political wisdom says with the Democrats in power, the Republicans should do well in the midterms and be able to flip the House and Senate. But the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and debates over the GOP’s role in Jan. 6, not to mention the ongoing investigations around Donald Trump, have made this year unpredictable.
“The Supreme Court has given the Democrats a chance to get back in the game,” said Pope McCorkle, a former political consultant who now teaches at Duke.
Mail-in ballots started going out in September. Election Day is set for Nov. 8, when voters will make the call about who represents them in county commissions, the General Assembly and in Washington.
Early voting runs from Oct. 20 until 3 p.m. on Nov. 5. People can register and vote on the same day at an early voting site.
There are early voting sites available in all 100 counties in North Carolina. Hours vary by county. Voters can looks up early voting sites and check the hours on the State Board of Elections site.
Ballots for the 2022 General Election are already going out in the mail.
County election offices will accept vote-by-mail requests until Nov. 1. Voters can request absentee ballots online or by mailing or turning in a form to their county election office.
Civilian absentee ballots must be hand delivered or postmarked by 5 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots mailed to the county board must be received by the Friday after Election Day.
Mail-in ballots must be signed by two witnesses or a notary public.
“They should only observe you marking your ballot, not how you vote,” according to the State Board of Elections.
On Nov. 8, polls will be open statewide from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Any voter in line by 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
The deadline to register is Oct. 14, though people can still register and vote on the same day at early voting sites.
There are hundreds of candidates across North Carolina seeking election Nov. 8. This includes county sheriffs, commissioners and other local races, all the way up to Congress and North Carolina’s next senator.
The midterm elections also have some big statewide judicial races, including for the North Carolina Supreme Court.
All of North Carolina’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election. North Carolina gained a new seat in congress this year. That open seat near Charlotte for the 14th District has Democrat Jeff Jackson running against Republican Pat Harrigan, and it could be a competitive race.
Other competitive races include the 13th District, which includes Johnston County and parts of Wake, Harnett and Wayne counties. Bo Hines, a 26-year-old Republican, is running against Democrat Wiley Nickels, who currently serves in the North Carolina Senate.
The 1st Congressional District is also attracting attention as Democrat Don Davis and Republican Sandy Smith run to replace retiring Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
Butterfield, a Democrat, has represented that swath of northeast North Carolina since 2004.
North Carolina’s Senate race is the big statewide election and is getting the most attention nationally.
The competitive House races will be ones to watch as North Carolina, a solidly purple state, votes for its next congressional delegation. But based on redistricting, the split will likely be 9 or 10 Republicans and 4 or 5 Democrats, and likely will not have much impact on which party controls the House.
The division of power in the North Carolina General Assembly will likely have much more of an impact on North Carolinian’s daily lives.
The Republicans in the state legislature only need to pick up two seats in the North Carolina Senate and three in the House to get a supermajority and be able to override the governor’s veto.
Getting a supermajority in the General Assembly is a top priority for the North Carolina GOP in November. It would allow the Republicans to get around Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper to enact their agenda, including on issues like abortion restrictions.