Vote for Education in November
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA
North Carolina has reached a milestone in its elections, with more than seven million NC citizens now registered to vote. According to data from the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, North Carolina now has a total of 7,005,682 registered voters. Out of this total, 2,664,789 are registered Democrats, 2,092,166 are registered Republicans, and 2,211,421 are registered as unaffiliated. Additionally, there are 36,432 registered Libertarians, 522 registered Green Party voters, and 352 registered Constitution Party voters.
Despite reaching this milestone in voter registration, it remains crucial that every eligible North Carolinian registers to vote, and also participates in the election process. Data from the State Board of Elections shows that in the last non-presidential election year, only 44.02% of registered voters—less than half of the number of registered voters—actually participated in the elections. It is vital that every registered voter exercise his or her civil duty to vote in the elections this year, as the results of these elections will have a significant impact on the legislative outlook in North Carolina in the years ahead.
In the NC Senate, all 50 seats are up for election this year. In the 2016 elections, the Republican majority increased by one seat, giving that party a 35-15 advantage over Democrats for the 2017-2018 legislative biennium. Senators Andrew Brock (R), Angela Bryant (D), and David Curtis (R), resigned during their terms, and their seats were replaced by appointed members. In the May 2018 primary elections, two incumbent representatives lost, meaning the chamber is already assured to have five new Senators in 2019, even before the fall elections occur. North Carolina requires a three-fifths majority, or 30 seats, to override the Governor’s veto, meaning Democrats would need to gain six seats in November to break up the Republican’s current veto-proof majority in the Senate.
In the NC House of Representatives, all 120 seats are up for election in November. After the 2016 elections, Republicans maintained control of the House with a 74-46 majority that became a 75-45 advantage over Democrats when one Democratic representative, William Brisson of Bladen County, officially changed to GOP affiliation prior to the 2018 legislative session. Representatives Larry Hall (D), Susi Hamilton (D), Edward Hanes, Jr. (D), Philip A. Lehman (D), Chris Millis (R), and Linda Hunt Williams (R), resigned during their terms, and five of these seats were replaced by appointed members. In the May 2018 primary elections, three incumbent representatives lost, meaning a total of nine seats already are determined to be held by new legislators next year. Seventy-two seats are required to override the Governor’s veto in the House, meaning Democrats would need to gain four seats in November to break up the current veto-proof majority in the House.
The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) is a non-partisan organization that advocates for educational policies that benefit all students and school staff in North Carolina and does not endorse candidates. NCASA, does however, urge all NC educators and supporters to make their votes count for candidates who are friends of public education, since our lawmakers will ultimately shape the future of educational policy for public schools in the state.
This year’s deadline for registering to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is October 12th. Official copies of the voter registration form, in both English and Spanish, as well as information on each voter’s proper County Board of Elections, can be found by clicking here. Registered voters may participate in the early voting period from October 17 to November 3, or may request an absentee ballot by filling out the designated form and returning it to the proper county board of election by October 30.