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Early voting for 2019 municipal elections is Oct 16-Nov 1, election day is Nov 5. Find one-stop early voting sites and hours here. Be sure you're registered to vote, see a sample ballot, and find candidate statements and website links at the League of Women Voters website, 411.org. Find great social media graphics to share from You Can Vote!

We know what we want in 2020, right? A return to representative government in NC and and the establishment of rationality, consistency, integrity and a progressive and humane national vision in DC - not too much to ask!

To get from here to there, we need to understand and learn from both our political history and the results of recent elections such as the Sept NC-09 Congressional re-run in which Democrat Dan McCready lost to Republican Dan Bishop by ~4,000 votes, 51% to 49%. Disappointing as it was, some political analysts saw this as a warning sign for Republicans, as Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016 and it's been solidly Republican for years. Both the president and vice-president held big rallies for Bishop close to the election to rally support - and tell lies about the very moderate McCready, linking him incorrectly to "far-left socialism." It was a very costly race on both sides, highlighting its national importance. AND it includes parts of counties considered to be among the most important in NC politics.

From the Washington Post (paywall): "(Democrats) didn’t win, but their results suggest strength going into 2020 on a couple of different fronts that should make Democrats feel good about keeping, or even expanding, their House majority.

  • This race was a good test case for Democrats’ strength with the all-important suburban voter going into 2020, and they did well there.
  • North Carolina will be a competitive state at the Senate, governor and presidential levels.
  • And, all things considered, this is supposed to be Trump country, and about half the district voted for the Democrat, not once but in two elections in a row."

EQV Analytics just released a detailed post-mortem of the special election that's worth reading. A few key take-aways:

  • Turnout was VERY low.
  • There was a decline in both absentee and early voting, which are popular among Democratic voters, college students, and the working poor.
  • "Young voters pretty much sat out this election, apparently finding little inspiration in Democrat Dan McCready's message."
  • Hurricane Dorian impacted the eastern part of the district during early voting.
  • This is worth the long quote: "A growing consensus holds that Democrat Dan McCready's loss hinged on swing-voting American Indians choosing Republican Dan Bishop this year. There's certainly a grain of truth to that. Bishop pandered mightily to Lumbee Indians' long-frustrated quest to gain federal tribal recognition. But those Native American voters' swing wouldn't have mattered at all if African American turnout had been only a bit better, because black voters outnumber Native Americans by more than 3-to-1 in NC09. Had black turnout kept pace with white turnout this year, that would have brought nearly 9,000 additional (and overwhelmingly loyal Democratic) black voters to the polls — more than enough to seal a win for McCready."
  • It goes on: "Without strong African American participation, Democrats don't win in North Carolina. It's a truism that bears repeating, because white Democratic candidates so often lose touch with that reality. While many factors combine to lower black turnout (not the least of which is systematic voter suppression by GOP legislators), at the end of the day it's the candidate's job to give black voters a truly compelling reason to turn out in his or her support."

Taking a broader look at the NC electorate, Latinx voters are poised to join African Americans as playing an important role in 2020; their numbers are a smaller percentage of voters, but they turn out to vote at an increasing rate. There was a surge in Latinx turnout in 2018, and the Latinx population continues to grow. Democracy NC just released an in-depth report on Latinx voters in NC, noting that of the 200,000 self-identified Latinx voters (a likely underestimate), 43% are registered Democrats, 42% are unaffiliated, and 14% are registered Republicans. The authors conclude that "Early, deep investment across the full civic engagement spectrum — from registration and education to get-out-the-vote and voter protection efforts — is necessary to support meaningful Latinx turnout in 2020." More numbers from NC Policy Watch.

To win in 2020, candidates need to show up, listen to, and explain how they will assess and address the needs and concerns of communities of color - African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, and others - not just the month before election day, but starting right now. We need to work TOGETHER for the change we want to see!

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Tags: (2020 Elections, GOTV, NCGA, NCPol)

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