Perhaps the biggest race on the ballot for North Carolina voters is for a seat on the state Supreme Court. The seat is currently held by Republican Barbara Jackson. She has two challengers in Democrat Anita Earls and Republican Chris Anglin. BPR's Jeremy Loeb conducted in-depth interviews with each of them.
The stakes in the race are high. Democrats currently hold a 4-3 advantage on the state's highest court. That would hold steady if either Jackson or Anglin wins. An Earls win would make it 5-2. That could be a significant threshold. One of six constitutional amendments voters will decide would give more power to the Republican-controlled legislature to fill judicial vacancies. There are rumors that if approved, the legislature could add two seats to the Supreme Court during a lame-duck session and flip the court to a 5-4 Republican majority. That couldn't happen if Earls were to win.
Justice Jackson is seeking a second 8 year term on the Supreme Court. Earls is a civil rights lawyer best known as the founder of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Anglin is an attorney whose candidacy raised questions and prompted a lawsuit by the GOP. Until three weeks before the election, Anglin was a registered Democrat, and the state GOP says he's running to siphon votes away from Jackson, a charge he denies. The legislature passed a law that would have stripped the (R) next to his name on ballots, but he sued and won in court.
Early voting begins Wednesday October 17th and ends on November 3rd. Election day is November 6th. Unregistered voters can register and vote at the same time during early voting, but not on election day. You can look up your registration, find your polling place, and view sample ballots at the State Board of Elections website.
Click the audio above for the full conversation with each of the candidates.