Keeping up with all the shifting political maps in recent years has been tough, so you’re probably not alone if you show up at your local precinct and end up scratching your head over some of the names on the ballot.
School boards, county commissioners, and some judicial races are among those for which boundaries will differ depending on where you live. In Forsyth County, even the congressional race depends on your location.
A sample ballot like the one available on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website can help voters inform themselves before Election Day. Pull up your voter registration information, and the results will show every race on your ballot from U.S. Senate on down to local-only races.
Patrick Gannon is a spokesman for the state board. He says the sample ballots are particularly helpful for races that don’t get a lot of media attention.
“Typically, candidates farther down the ballot — at the end of the ballot — are the more local contests," he says. "In a lot of ways those more local contests may affect your day-to-day life more than some of the bigger-name contests.”
Some voter-advocacy groups, including the non-partisan League of Women Voters, also make localized sample ballots available.
In-person early voting begins in North Carolina October 20.