(WGHP) – If you haven’t already gone to the polls, Tuesday is General Election Day across North Carolina. These are for municipal boards – city councils, town councils, boards of aldermen, some school boards – and other related positions.
Here are five things you might need to know, have forgotten or be glad to learn about Tuesday’s ballots:
1. No fall elections in Greensboro
In case you were wondering, there are no elections this fall for mayor and City Council in Greensboro because of the delay in census results. The city has five seats for districts created from census data, and the North Carolina General Assembly earlier this year passed a law that allows municipal elections to be delayed until new district lines were drawn. That deadline now is Nov. 17. The city could’ve held elections this year for its three at-large seats and mayor and delayed the district seats until next year, but council voted to hold elections for all seats in March (on statewide primary day) and April of 2022. Winston-Salem is on a different schedule and elected its City Council in 2020.
2. But plenty of elections across the Triad
But there are dozens of races all over the Piedmont Triad, such as councils and boards in Asheboro, Burlington, Clemmons, Danbury, Eden, Elon, Gibsonville, Graham, Jamestown, Kernersville, Lexington, Madison, Mebane, Mount Airy, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Randleman, Reidsville, Salisbury, Sedalia, Siler City, Stokesdale, Summerfield, Thomasville and Whitsett. But not all those seats are competitive. Many are one-candidate races. And most municipal elections are staggered so that the entire boards aren’t replaced at once.
3. Summerfield faces divisive elections
Elections in Summerfield – where mayor and former longtime Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is not seeking re-election – have been divisive in recent years, split generally between factions that support growth and those who want to protect the community from expansion. Former mayor Gail Dunham and council member Tim Sessoms want to replace Barnes, and there are four candidates for the two open seats on the council: John Doggett, Greg Fox, Teresa Perryman and Janelle Robinson. Sessoms, Doggett and Robinson have campaigned as a united voice.
4. Rural Hall council seats open after mass resignations
Rural Hall’s town council was shaken up in recent weeks by mass resignations, and it’s unclear how those departures will affect voters. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two seats that are open this year, but on Oct. 21 two incumbents seeking re-election – Ricky Plunkett and Jesse Stigall – resigned their seats, as did council member John McDermon, Town Manager Megan M. Garner and County Attorney D. Barrett Burge. Town Clerk Dora K. Moore, who also served briefly as interim town manager, also had resigned on Oct. 13. Only Mayor Tim Flinchum and council member Susan Gordon remain (their terms expire in 2023). That means that one other seat that would have expired in 2023 also is open. On the ballot with Plunkett and Stigall are Terry M. Bennett and Eddie Horn. Flinchum had appointed Bennett to fill one of the vacated seats. But it’s not certain how the election results might change the council’s makeup. The Winston-Salem Journal reported that McDermon, Plunkett and Stigall said they resigned because of conflicts among elected officials and “unfounded allegations” against Garner. Burge and Moore did not cite those reasons in their resignation letters, and Moore said she left to pursue another position. A lawsuit may be pending based on severance for Garner.
5. What does this mean for the balance of power?
Almost none of these elections is partisan – an affiliation typically only becomes a factor when a candidate brings it up – and there will be no change Tuesday in the balance of power in Raleigh or Washington, but there are a few national races – such as governor in Virginia and a new mayor for New York City – that will get a lot of attention because they will be seen as harbingers for the 2022 elections, when Senate, Congress and state legislative positions will dominate the conversation.