Politics with Amy Walter: How North Carolina's Electoral Process is Unfolding

September 11, 2020

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While the bedrock of democracy is free and fair elections, the President has been sowing seeds of distrust throughout the course of the campaign. He's used his platform to spread conspiracy theories about the integrity of absentee ballots to his millions of followers.

The consequences of those lies can be seen in a recent Monmouth University poll that found almost 40 percent of Americans don’t believe that the elections will be conducted fairly and accurately. A majority of Americans say that they think the Trump campaign will try to cheat if necessary to win in November, while 39 percent say the same of the Biden campaign.

Aside from Barack Obama in 2008, North Carolina hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976, but polls show President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are neck and neck there. A contentious senate race is also on the ballot in the state. 

North Carolina began sending out absentee ballots on September 4th. The more than 700,000 mail ballots that have been requested has shone the national spotlight on the Tar Heel State. 

Chair of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Damon Circosta, Michael Bitzer, a professor of Political Science at Catawba College, and Rusty Jacobs, politics reporter at WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, walk us through the state's electoral process.

Many credit Barack Obama’s win in North Carolina to strong turnout from African American voters. Exit polls that year showed African Americans making up almost a quarter of the electorate and they gave Obama 95 percent of the vote. Congresswoman Alma Adams of North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District and Professor Kerry Haynie, Political Science and African & African American Studies at Duke University, describe how the Biden/Harris ticket is working to convince Black voters to turnout. 

As part of our continuing series on how the pandemic has changed campaigns, we checked in with Chase Gaines, Coalition Director North Carolina GOP. He describes what it's like to organize at this moment and what he's heard from voters while knocking doors.

These conversations are part of a series called Every Vote Counts.