Election Countdown Tip Week 4: Meet the Candidates & Get Ready to Vote!

Every race matters — not just the big ones. Why?

For one thing, it’s those school board members near the bottom of the ballot who approve textbooks and curriculum materials, and who have lately been yielding to pressure from conservative groups to remove books or even change curriculum. And it was our State Supreme Court Justices who helped un-gerrymander us last year and put Asheville back together into one district. We want to make sure the next slate of justices doesn’t turn around and undo that. With rightwing extremists flinging all manner of regressive legislation against the wall to see what will stick, courts at every level become a more important backstop than ever — but only if occupied by fair, impartial justices.

We also need to keep in mind that most politicians use local seats as springboards to ever higher political office. President Biden served on the New Castle County Council before becoming a U.S. Senator. It’s essential to make sure that people of integrity and progressive values occupy every seat we have a say in.

So download your ballot, study your candidates, and pick out an Early Voting time and location that works for you.

Step 1. Find and Print Your Sample Ballot

This one’s easy. If you’re already registered to vote in North Carolina, you can find your sample ballot using the Voter Search Tool on the NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE) website. If you aren’t registered here yet, you can find your sample ballot simply using your address with the Polling Place Search Tool.

Print your ballot and mark preferred candidates as you research. You can take the marked-up sample ballot with you into your polling place, according to Buncombe County Board of Election Services.

Note: For other online lookup tools, see the NCSBE’s main Voter Tools page.

Step 2. Check Out the Candidates — Yes, All of Them

This is important. The religious right started their campaign to control the country decades ago, and they started with school boards, county commissions, and city councils. To protect our freedoms and our core democratic values, we can’t ignore those races.

So look at all the races on your ballot, all the candidates. How many have you never heard of? Fortunately, the League of Women Voters (LWV), Common Cause, and Carolina Jews for Justice – West (CJJ-W) have all worked hard to help you find out more.

The LWV Vote411 Voter Guide lines right up with your sample ballot. Simply fill in your address to access your personalized candidate information. The LWV sent the candidates in each race the same questions and gives you their unedited replies. There’s even a “compare” feature where you can look at their answers side by side.

The 2022 North Carolina General Assembly & US House District 11 Candidate Guide, produced by CJJ-W, also offers candidates’ unfiltered views. CJJ-W’s survey questions focus on issues of social justice, such as reproductive rights, teacher retention and high housing costs.

Common Cause’s 2022 Non-Partisan Voter Guide offers general information about U.S. Senate and N.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals candidates. It explains what local officials such as sheriff, county commissioner, and school board member do. And it provides the web addresses for US Senate and House and North Carolina judicial candidates.

At Our Democracy 2022, Common Cause has also asked candidates for national office whether they support 20 common-sense measures to safeguard free and fair elections.

Ballotpedia takes you deep into the details on our US Senate and House and NC Supreme Court candidates. Just fill in your address on the Sample Ballot Lookup on their homepage.

Step 3. Get Ready to Vote Early!

Early voting in NC starts October 20. That’s next week! The sooner we cast our ballots, the better.

During one-stop early voting, October 20 – November 4, you can register (or update your registration) AND vote at the same time. And you can do all this at any early voting location, whatever’s easiest for you. Download the Buncombe County Early Voting Schedule here.

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