Early voting is rolling now and ends on Nov 3. Find your county's early voting sites and schedules. People can register to vote during early voting, but not on Election Day, Nov 6. Use the link to find out what you need to take with you to register. NO PHOTO ID IS NEEDED TO VOTE! To vote AGAINST all six constitutional amendments, you must mark your ballot "against." Here's updated absentee voting info for counties most affected by Hurricane Florence. Take your family, friends, co-workers. Kids get a "future voter" sticker!
One wise decision my family made a few years ago was to drop cable. We haven't missed it - except it means I don't see the political ads that are running on TV this fall. That's probably a good thing, as there's an excellent chance my head would have exploded by now.
The political environment continues to change, but Andrew Dunn with Longleaf Politics doesn't think the ads have changed that much. He starts a recent article on political ads this way: "As campaign season heats up in North Carolina, I don’t blame you if you forget what decade you’re in. Even as the digital and media landscape is rapidly changing, campaign ads from even the youngest and best-funded candidates in North Carolina do not look any different from the ones run in 2008 — or even 1998." He shares multiple video examples of old and current ads, and he's right - they're pretty much the same.
He goes on to discuss the effects of digital media ads, noting that TV ads ported to Facebook generally flop. What DOES seem to work are unscripted, (seemingly) spontaneous clips of candidates speaking authentically, from their heart. He mentions Beto O'Rourke's town hall clip on NFL players taking the knee and Jeff Jackson's impassioned protest about the 2018 NC budget.
NC has a long history of "dog whistle" campaign ads designed to appeal to racism and bigotry. The person behind one of the most odious of them, a Jesse Helms ad from 1990, admitted years ago that his ad hurt race relations. That tradition continues today with recent Republican mailers calling an 8th-generation North Carolinian who is a Democratic candidate of being a "New York liberal," code for being Jewish. Here's another recent example, a two-fer overtly racist image that combines the "OK" symbol used by white supremicists with a dark raised fist.
If you're interested in seeing what candidates are mailing their constituents and airing on TV or social media, the NC Free Enterprise Foundation is collecting them here. WRAL sponsors a Twitter feed called NC Political Ads, as does Real Facts NC with NC Political Mail. WRAL also has a political ad tracker that shows running totals of money spent by buyer (candidates and PACs), date, geographic area, and race, updated daily - a lot of money goes into political ads!
Every political ad deserves fact-checking, whatever its source! If something sounds fishy, it probably is, and vague generalizations are always misleading. Demand that candidates be specific in their messaging, we need to know exactly what they support and oppose. There's still time to attend a candidate forum or campaign event. Many local candidates make the rounds of early voting sites to shake hands and answer questions - so ask them! Call or email campaign offices to ask questions and share your concerns as a voter.
BE SKEPTICAL, GET INFORMED, AND VOTE!