2018 Election

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty via Asheville Citizen-Times

Ballots are finalized (we think) for the high-stakes November mid-term elections.  Voters will be deciding a state Supreme Court race, the fate of 6 amendments to the state constitution, who goes to Congress and who goes to the legislature.  Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper breaks it all down with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.  

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal investigators in North Carolina are seeking an enormous number of voting records from dozens of election offices weeks before the midterm elections, demands that may signal their expanded efforts to prosecute illegal voting by people who are not U.S. citizens.

The U.S. attorney's office in Raleigh issued subpoenas in recent days on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the North Carolina elections board and more than 40 county boards in the eastern third of the state, according to the subpoenas and the state board.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It wasn't surprising when a panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina's congressional map, saying Republican state legislators went too far using political data to preserve GOP-held seats. But their suggested timetable to fix the problem was startling.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal judges on Monday affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina's congressional districts as unconstitutional because Republicans drew them with excessive partisanship.

Acting under an order of the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine the case, the three-judge panel ruled again in favor of election advocacy groups and Democrats who had sued to challenge the boundaries drawn in 2016.

UPDATE 3:19 P.M. - RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators have finalized two new constitutional amendments to submit to voters in November after a judicial panel's ruling keeping those questions off ballots caused them to try again.

On near party-line votes the Senate voted Monday for amendments designed to comply with the judges' decision last week. The House already approved the redone proposals last Friday as the Republican-controlled General Assembly called a special session to consider new amendments.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly holding a special session to address constitutional amendment referendums blocked by a court ruling (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The North Carolina House has made quick work of two proposed revised amendments to the state constitution that would go before voters in November.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Stymied by a court that ruled their ballot questions misleading, North Carolina Republican lawmakers are preparing for a special session to replace two proposed constitutional amendments that, if approved by voters, would shift key executive powers to the legislature.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger laid out a schedule Thursday whereby the General Assembly would be called in to begin Friday. The House would vote Friday on two new amendments, followed by the Senate on Monday.

Election Day is less than three months away, and the stakes are pretty high for both Democrats and Republicans in this year's General Assembly elections.  The GOP holds veto-proof majorities in both chambers, which the party has used on numerous occasions to override vetoes from Democratic governor Roy Cooper.  Democrats only need to flip four seats in the House of Representatives and six in the state Senate to end those super-majorities, and the party is off to a good start in achieving that at least in fundraising.  Smoky Mountain News reporter and BPR contributor Cory Vaillancourt

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and other opponents of legislative Republicans filed a flurry of late-hour lawsuits Monday to block referendums on constitutional amendments and to let a Supreme Court candidate disclose his party affiliation on ballots.

The lawsuits filed in state court against GOP legislative leaders mark yet another round of litigation in the power struggle pitting Cooper and his allies against the GOP-dominated General Assembly that began when Cooper was narrowly elected governor in late 2016.

WUSF

North Carolina Republicans are proposing changes to early voting, including doing away with the popular last Saturday before the election.  The House gave final approval to the measure 61-40 Friday.  It now goes to the House.  Rollout of the proposal, Senate Bill 325, prompted an emergency meeting of the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcment.  The board's chairman Andy Penry said they had no input in the bill and received less than a day's notice of it.  The House also quickly passed HB717 with little debate, which makes a slew of changes to judicial districts statewide.

Buncombe County district attorney Todd Williams defeated Ben Scales again, while Quentin Miller took home a very large and historic victory in the Democratic primary for Buncombe County sheriff.

Buncombe County Sheriff's Office

Electing a sheriff – even in one of North Carolina’s largest counties – doesn’t usually draw a lot of attention. But this year’s democratic primary in Buncombe County is different.  Voters will select a new sheriff for the first time in 12 years.  And law enforcement practices and reforms are center stage in the campaign because of an incident that took place within the county.

Early voting is underway in North Carolina for the May 8th primary.  The early voting period runs until May 5th, and voters can find early voting locations by visiting their respective county's election boards website.  Federal, state, and local offices are all on the ballot this year.  One person who isn't is president Donald Trump.  But Western Carolina University political science professor Dr.

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times will partner on a candidate forum for Buncombe County sheriff.  The forum will take place April 16th at noon at BPR's studio.  It will be broadcast live on both the BPR and Citizen-Times Facebook pages.  BPR will also the air the forum at a later date before the May 8th primary.

'Bathroom Bill' Saga Lingers In Election Year

Mar 30, 2018
Matt Bush BPR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is again an attractive location for big out-of-state corporations. The state no longer sits squarely in the crosshairs of culture wars over transgender rights. College basketball tournament games are back, after a one-year hiatus.

But the saga of the state's so-called bathroom bill hasn't been forgotten, and many Republican incumbents who passed House Bill 2 in 2016 are being targeted this election year, with the flap over the law still an issue.

Matt Bush BPR

Candidate filing for the 2018 North Carolina General Assembly elections ended this week, and both parties will field enough candidates to ensure all 170 seats will be contested this year.  It’s making Democratic Governor Roy Cooper very happ - and confident.  Cooper has been in office for 14 months, but his legislative power remains quite limited.  That’s because Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly allowing them to override any vetoes from Cooper, something they did nine times last year.  But the Governor is confident that will change next year, in par

Tuesday May 8th will be the primary election in North Carolina.  Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  To see where your polling place is, check with your county board of elections.  There is no same-day voter registration on primary day, so only those already registered can vote.  Those registered with a party can only vote in the primary for that party.  Unaffiliated voters can select which primary they wish to vote in.

Public Schools First NC

The North Carolina legislature is adjourned until May.  Or are they?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper talk about the latest in North Carolina politics, from a loaded class-size bill critics call a "poison pill" to a stand-off over Gen-X, the latest in the neverending gerrymandering saga, and the 2018 midterms.  

There is a simple, demographic fact in North Carolina politics: women are underrepresented in the General Assembly.

They make up 51.4 percent of the state's population. But hold just a quarter of the seats in North Carolina's House and Senate.

The candidate filing window for the 2018 election season is now open. So too are efforts to break a political glass ceiling.

Four candidates for the North Carolina Senate kick off their campaigns today. They are all Democrats challenging Republican incumbents and they are all white women, none of whom have ever held elected office.

Pexels

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina law that cancels primaries this year for judicial seats has been partially halted.

A federal judge on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction directing state election officials to hold primaries for appellate court judgeships in May. But U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles refused to restore primary elections for local trial court seats.

Democrats sued to overturn the law and asked Eagles to step in, with candidate filing for other races starting Feb. 12.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Few things are certain about North Carolina's 2018 elections, except that voters ultimately will choose members of Congress and the General Assembly and those for county positons.

A tangled web of legislation and litigation stretching to the state's highest court and nation's highest court has made it unclear how this year's elections will be administered, even though candidate filing for some seats begins in two weeks.

There are several court cases and proposals that make murky the election calendar and its management.

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Cory Vaillancourt

With a polarizing President in the White House and gerrymandered districts in the courthouse, disillusionment with the two-party system in American politics seems to be at an all time high.  A recently passed North Carolina law will make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot this year – but only if a partisan fight between Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh gets resolved. 

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina's legislative district boundaries for excessive racial bias announced Wednesday she's running for the state Supreme Court next year.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Waynesville Democrat Joe Sam Queen lost the most closely-contested state legislative race in 2016.  Fewer than 300 votes separated him and Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt.  Now Queen says he'll try to win back his seat from Clampitt in 2018.  It will be the fourth contest between the two in the 118th district, which includes Jackson, Swain, and Haywood Counties.  Queen won the first two before losing in 2018.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about why he's running again.

Lawmakers are returning to Raleigh this week to vote on new legislative district maps for next year's North Carolina General Assembly elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race as the deciding factor in creating them.

Dozens of electronic music players from around the world descended on the city of Asheville, North Carolina, to participate in the second annual Continuum Conference. The conference is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of the electronic Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard.   

Matt Bush BPR

Congressional mid-term elections are 18 months away, but one challenger is getting into the race for Western North Carolina’s seat in the House of Representatives very early.  Democrat Matt Coffay announced he will seek his party’s nomination for the 11th district seat at a rally in Waynesville last month.  Should Coffay win the nomination, he’d face three-term incumbent Republican Mark Meadows in the general election.  BPR’s Matt Bush spoke with Smoky Mountain News reporter Corey Vaillancourt about the Democratic challenger.

Matt Bush BPR

The first Democrat has jumped into the race to seek the party’s nomination to take on Republican Congressman Mark Meadows next year.  While Democrats see enthusiasm growing thanks to strong election showings in Kansas and Georgia, they didn’t win either Congressional  race.  And winning Western North Carolina’s 11th district seat will be an extremely difficult task.