The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

July 11, 2014

A possible mid-summer surprise

Thursday, July 10, 2014 — RALEIGH – Early voting is underway around North Carolina.

Yes, that’s right, there’s an election on Tuesday to be exact. You might not have heard much about it, but it’s a second primary, or runoff election, following the May 6 primary.

North Carolina is one of only a handful of states, mostly Southern, that have runoff elections if no candidate meets a certain threshold in the primary. In our state, the winning candidate must receive at least 40 percent of the primary vote in order to advance directly to the November general election. Anything less than that and the second place finisher can request a second primary.

Many, but not all, North Carolinians will be eligible to vote in the runoff election, but the overwhelming majority unfortunately will choose not to participate, if history is our guide.

Primaries already feature poor voter turnout, but voter participation in runoff elections can drop to nearly zero. For the May primary this year, voter turnout was just under 16 percent. Pretty abysmal. But if you look at second primary elections in previous years, it’s even worse. In 2012, for example, turnout in the July runoff couldn’t even crack 5 percent.

Unlike in years past, there are no statewide races headed to runoff elections in 2014. The May primary featured a crowded, competitive race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, but N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis was able to avoid a runoff by securing more than 45 percent of the vote on Election Day. That means turnout could potentially be even weaker in this year’s primary runoffs.

Thirty-seven of North Carolina’s 100 counties will have second primaries on Tuesday. Voters in some counties will select nominees for congressional races, while other counties will only vote for local races like board of commissioners, sheriff or district attorney.

Not everyone in those 37 counties will be eligible to vote in the July runoff either. Voters registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote regardless of whether or not they participated in the May primary, but they can only vote a ballot for the party with which they are registered.

Unaffiliated voters that voted in the May primary can only vote in the runoff for the same party they chose in May. Those unaffiliated voters that did not vote in May are still eligible to vote in July, and they may choose to cast a ballot in either party’s runoff.

Information on many of the runoff candidates can be found at NCVoter

It may be difficult for some voters to pay attention to politics and elections in July when they’re likely more concerned about the beach and barbecue, but every election is important and your vote always matters.

Let’s all work to turn the trend around in 2014 and show up at the polls on Tuesday.

Brent Laurenz is executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education and a contributor to TheVoterUp He can be contacted at


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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

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