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Vote in the Primary: You Can Encourage Democratic Candidates and Build Momentum

NEWS FLASH: Election year is here, and the first milestone is the North Carolina Primary on Tuesday March 5, just two months away.

North Carolina Democrats worked hard to find good candidates to run in this year’s election. We’ve been remarkably successful.  There are 170 seats in the NC Legislature and Democrats are running candidates for almost all of them. Meanwhile, Republicans have been unable to find candidates for 32 seats.  We have momentum and energy. Voting in the primary is a great way to keep building that trend. 

Why Vote in March?  

Voting in the primary is a trial run of new NC voting laws.  The Republican controlled general assembly has made several changes in voting laws that make it more difficult to vote.  It's better to find out in March if your registration and ID are in order, not November. 

In addition, voting in the primary encourages all our candidates.

These are folks who have accepted the challenge of running for office and everything that entails. A good turnout in the Democratic primary shows that we are eager and enthusiastic to come out and support all of Team D in November.

Locally, Henderson County Republicans have hotly contested primaries for the county commissioners’ race. That means that local Republicans will show up.  It would be great to demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm in March even if local Democratic seats are not being primaried.

Other Reasons to Vote in the Primary

  • There are 8 statewide elections that have multiple Democratic candidates, including the NC governor and lieutenant governor seats.  Choosing the strongest candidate for these key races is critically important.  

  • Because fewer voters participate in primaries, a single vote carries more weight.  According to a 2016 Vox article, just 20 percent of American adults vote in presidential primaries. 

  • Robust participation in primaries discourages extremism. A report by the Brookings Institution argues that the relative obscurity of congressional primaries “makes them an easy, inexpensive place for factions within a political party to exercise influence and increase partisan polarization.” We can help change that by getting in the habit of voting whenever there is an opportunity so special interests cannot hijack a race.

 Special Note for our Unaffiliated Voters

People who have helped at polling locations have probably witnessed confusion about the rules for unaffiliated voters who participate in primary elections. 

To clarify, unaffiliated voters may choose to vote in either the Republican primary or the Democratic primary and their choice carries absolutely no obligation for how they vote in the general election.

This year, there is no sheriff’s contest, so we hope that progressive unaffiliated voters will ask for a Democrat ballot for the primary!

Additional information on the NC primary—including dates for registering, requesting mail-in ballots and early voting—is on the NC Board of Elections website as well as the Henderson County Board of Elections website.  

Let's continue the work we started last year. Give our candidates a boost. Let's get ready to Get Out The Vote for the general Election. 

----Linda Ford


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