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Many May 8 primary ballots will include county commissioners. Remember that only partisan races with more than one candidate per party are on the primary ballot. Find out if there's a May 8 county commissioner election in your county by going to Vote411, entering your address, then clicking "on your ballot" and following prompts. If there is, you'll see links to candidate's campaign websites and their answers to several relevant questions. So what are we electing county commissioners to DO?

About half of NC residents live within city or town limits, while everyone lives in a county, which is governed by an elected board of county commissioners. These boards vary in size from five to nine members, most of whom are elected for four-year terms, though a few counties use two-year or a two-four-year combination terms. Some counties use at-large elections, others use districts, a few use a combination of the two or another method. The board hires a professional county manager/administrator to oversee daily operations while it focuses on policy issues.

The major responsibilities of county commissioners include:

  • setting the county property tax rate
  • setting county policy not set by independent local boards or other elected county officials (eg, sheriff's office)
  • adopting the county budget

You can see the lines of authority among various county departments below. Tax, finance, and planning and zoning fall under the direct control of county commissioners.


NC Association of County Commissioners

What are some of the differences between city and county government functions?

Learn more:
County commission election info, with links to details about the makeup of county commissions (party, gender, race) now and over past decades.
Basics of NC county government
Basics of local government, city/county interaction
Find your county's website

What do we do with our new knowledge? VOTE!

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Disclaimer: Stamp NC Blue is not authorized by, financed by, or affiliated with any candidate or campaign. Questions? Contact

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