Voting: All You Need to Know About Midterms

As the general election date of November 6 reaches closer on the calendar, residents of all counties in their home states have been preparing to vote for local and statewide officials.

 

Early voting began on Oct.17 and although the deadline to register to vote in North Carolina was Oct.12, One-Stop early voting locations will be open until the third of November and will give citizens the opportunity to register and vote early at designated locations.

 

The deadline to request an absentee ballot, which allows residents to vote in another county outside of the one they are registered in will be 5 p.m. on Oct. 30.

 

Polling locations on general election day will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.. To find a local polling place near you, as well as other voting-related information, visit the website vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup.

 

Explanations of Constitutional Amendments

 

Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment: “Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.”

EXPLANATION: This amendment will enforce the constitutional right of citizens to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in traditional methods although “traditional methods” has not been defined in the amendment. The proposed amendment has also been criticized for being supported by the National Rifle Association. People fear that this could influence future rulings on gun regulations in parks and other public spaces.

 

Changes to Current Victims’ Rights Amendment: “ Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.”

EXPLANATION: This amendment is a proposal of Marsy’s Law, a law that is designed to give rights to victims of crime. Some of these rights would be informing them on court proceedings, the right to be heard at sentencing, the right to receive information pertaining to the facts of the case, updates on the case. This amendment would be the first amendment that stands for rights of victims of crime in the constitution outside of felony and/or domestic violence charges.

 

Cap Maximum State Income Tax at 7% Amendment: “Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).”

EXPLANATION: Although the briefing seems to be straight forward, this amendment could alter much more than it shows on the surface. The cap on income tax will be lowered from 10% to 7%, but this lowering could impact other state emergency funding.

 

Require Photographic Identification to Vote Amendment: “Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.”

EXPLANATION: This amendment is said to be particularly discriminatory, being less-inclusive than Mississippi's photo ID law. 381,000 registered voters in North Carolina do not have photo identification. A large percentage of these voters are people of color, members of low-income communities and people with disabilities. What is acceptable as form of photo identification would not be decided until the amendment is voted on.

 

Legislature to Control Judicial Appointments Amendment: “Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend at least two nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.”

EXPLANATION: This amendment alters the process of appointing judges. The Governor is solely in charge of this but if the amendment passes it will be delegated through Legislature, the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, the General Assembly as well as the Governor. Together they will create a list of appointees that have been deemed qualified for the position. NC Legislature would then pick two names from said list and allow the Governor to pick one.

 

Party Leaders in Legislature to Control Ethics and Elections Board Appointments Amendment: Eliminate Non-partisan Representation on Board: “Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.”

EXPLANATION: One of the most controversial of the proposed amendments, all previous chief justices as well as governors have opposed this amendment. Creating an eight-member board will broaden the possibilities of having “deadlocked” votes on pressing issues considering both parties get to pick four members of the Ethics and   Elections Board.

 

On Oct. 16th, candidates from local elections came to UNC-Pembroke to talk about their campaign issues in an annual ‘Popcorn and Politics’ session.

 

Libertarian Jeff Scott, Democrat Charles Graham, Democrat Matt Scott, Republican Allan Adams, Democrat Angelica Chavis McIntyre and Democrat Judge Vanessa Burton were the candidates present on the popcorn and politics panel.

 

The discussion for the night started with introductions about what campaign issues the candidates felt were important not only to them, but to Robeson County.

 

State Representative Charles Graham led the discussion for the night beginning with a highlight on the importance of education. “Without an education, you become a liability,” Graham said.

 

“Education, when we look at the economy as we look at job opportunities, as we look at improving opportunities for everyone - education is the key,” he said.

 

Some key campaign issues Graham also mentioned that were important to him were affordable housing, healthcare and living wages.

 

District Court Judge Vanessa Burton was the next candidate to speak on the ballot.

 

Being a prosecutor since 1989, Burnes was the first woman to serve woman to serve in the District Attorney’s office. Burnes’ monologue was centered around serving for the people and appointing judges who care about the people in Robeson county.

 

“We need judges who care about people and believe that each person that comes into that court has a fair and equal opportunity to be heard and that they are treated with dignity and treated with respect and that they are fully informed when they come into court,” Burton said.

 

“You as young voters… you’re going to have challenges, but you have a great opportunity during this election cycle to research the information about the candidates and so I encourage you to vote.”

 

The transition from local races shifted to a federal race for a U.S House of Representatives seat as Libertarian Jeff Scott was the next candidate to speak. Unlike the previous two candidates, Scott focused on issues that were not necessarily at the state and local level.

 

Proclaiming himself to be the only “anti-war” candidate in the race for district 9, Scott started with denouncing the war in Afghanistan and ended with attacks on both of the other district 9 candidates.

 

The fourth candidate on the panel, Jerry Lowery centered his speech about allocating more resources to Robeson county to lower crime and overall improve the quality of life for the people in Robeson county.

 

“You see, in North Carolina it’s not really about left versus right - it's about rural versus urban. And unless legislators in rural areas work together, we’ll continue to be left behind,” Lowery said.

 

There were two candidates running for District Attorney, Democrat Matt Scott and Republican Allan Adams are both running for District Attorney.

 

Allan Adams focus is on tackling crime and drugs hard in Robeson County.

 

Serving in the county’s teen court and fighting sex crimes as a prosecutor, Adams’ devoting to hitting crimes hard displayed during the panel. Scott focusing on a lighter approach to address the route of the issue, drug addiction and mental health.

 

The final candidate was Angelica Chavis McIntyre running for NC District Court who currently works as a prosecutor in the district. McIntyre believes in paying attention to and serving the youth.

 

All of the current races that will be on the ballot this year are the US House of Representatives district 9, NC State Senate District 13, NC House of Representatives District 47, District Attorney, Board of Commissioners, Clerk of Superior Court, Sheriff, NC Supreme Court Associate Justice, NC Court of Appeals Judge and NC District Court Judge.

 

North Carolina’s 9th congressional district is a national spotlight for congressional democrats chances for taking back the house this November. In order to take by the U.S. House, democrats must flip 24 seats as the 9th district can be seen as a national marker for how well the democrats’ chances are for doing so.

 

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