There are 503 cities, towns, and villages across North Carolina holding elections for 1,900 positions this year, and for the first time ever, Ballotpedia’s sample ballot is expanding to encompass every election in a state, even in the smallest villages. In addition to the municipal races, there are nine school districts holding elections for 23 school board seats and 17 special districts holding elections for 52 seats; no counties are holding elections. This adds up to 529 localities holding elections for 1,975 positions in North Carolina this year.
Local elections in North Carolina can follow four different methods during odd-numbered years:
1.) In partisan elections where runoffs are possible, the primary is on September 10, the primary runoff is on October 8, and the general election is on November 5. Primary runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 30% of the primary vote; however, the primary runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Charlotte and Sanford are following this method.
2.) In nonpartisan elections where runoffs are possible, the general election is on October 8 and the general runoff election is on November 5. General runoffs may be held if no candidate receives at least 50% of the general election vote; however, the general runoff is only held if the second-place candidate requests it. In 2019, only Atlantic Beach, Cary, Dobbins Heights, Dunn, Elizabeth City, Erwin, Henderson, Monroe, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Statesville are following this method.
3.) In nonpartisan elections with primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the primary is on October 8 and the general election is on November 5. If only two or fewer candidates file to run per seat, the primary is not held and the candidates who filed advance automatically to the general election. In 2019, only Asheboro (and Asheboro City Schools), Bermuda Run, Burlington, Durham, Fayetteville, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, High Point, Jamestown, Matthews, Mooresville, Mount Airy, Pleasant Garden, Powellsville, Ramseur, Shelby, Southern Pines, and Windsor are following this method.
4.) In nonpartisan elections without primaries where runoffs aren’t possible, the general election is on November 5. These are plurality elections in which the candidate who receives the most votes wins; the winner does not need to meet a certain threshold of the overall vote to avoid a runoff. All other North Carolina local elections in 2019 are following this method.
Across the state, there are 65 local positions where no candidates filed to run. This includes the mayor’s office in 19 municipalities, the city or town council in 43 municipalities, and board positions in two special districts. These positions will be filled by write-in candidates who have been certified by their county board of elections.
Three of the state’s largest cities—Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh—are among those holding elections in 2019. The mayor’s office is on the ballot in all three cities, and so are all 11 city council seats in Charlotte, three of seven city council seats in Durham, and all seven city council seats in Raleigh.
North Carolina’s local filing deadline passed on July 19, 2019. However, municipalities were permitted by the state government to extend their filing deadline by one week. There are also some exceptions to the statewide filing deadline; in Catawba County, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools both have their filing deadline on September 6.