It continues to amaze me how difficult it is for the public to access basic information about the upcoming elections for open seats on the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the Court of Appeals. While stories with political angles find their way into the press, the fundamentals—which seats are open, why those seats are open, who is running, why voters should care—get little coverage. As a result, many educated voters are missing basic facts about appellate elections.
For example, there will not be a primary election for appellate judges or justices this year. In 2018, that was true, but only because of a law that eliminated the primaries for the 2018 cycle only. In 2020, that will be true as well, but only because there is just one candidate from each party who filed for each seat.
Likewise, it is not widely appreciated just how many appellate seats are going to be on the ballot this November. Three Supreme Court seats are in play, including the seat of Chief Justice. And five Court of Appeals seats—one in three—are on the ballot this cycle. I can’t remember an election in which voters were asked to make educated choices in so many appellate races.
So, as in past election cycles, we have prepared a user-friendly voter-information guide to November’s appellate judicial elections. Between the FAQ and the links to the candidates’ websites, we tried to provide a consolidated location for the resources voters need. When friends and family ask you for information on these races, feel free to share a link to our guide.
Finally, if you can think of any other information we should add to the guide, drop me a line or a comment.