It’s October again. The holidays are fast approaching, the seasons are changing, and it will soon be 2022. And it’s also election season — now is the time to learn about the municipal candidates who will be making decisions which could make a major difference in your life. In this column, we’ll lay out the process for voting in North Carolina, as well as how ENC selected and is supporting our endorsed candidates. 

Most cities in North Carolina are having their elections on November 2, with early voting running from October 14 to October 30. The deadline to register has already passed, but you can also register same-day at an early voting site. You can find your early voting site at vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite and your election day site at vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup. And you can double-check when your city is voting at ncsbe.gov/2021-municipal-voter-tool.

Equality NC PAC has endorsed 28 candidates for this year’s elections! For the sake of clarity, we’ll outline our endorsement process below. 

On August 23, ENC launched our endorsement form, inviting candidates to apply by September 8. The questionnaire covers questions on LGBTQ issues, including healthcare, public education, economic justice, preemption, gun violence prevention, immigration, democratic ideals and policing.

After submission, ENC invited candidates to schedule interviews, where candidates were given the opportunity to clarify responses on the questionnaire and speak to other issues crucial to their communities. The Equality NC PAC subsequently reviewed all the information and voted on whom to endorse. Any candidate that did not complete the two-step process was automatically not endorsed. 

This is not the exhaustive list of LGBTQ+ or pro-equality candidates running in this election. We have many, many more allies during the work of supporting our communities. We, at Equality North Carolina, intend to work with all pro-equality candidates and officials, whether or not we chose to endorse them and whether or not they applied. Equality North Carolina will always be a resource and support to any candidate looking to learn, grow and make a positive impact for marginalized North Carolinians. 

But, we’re pleased with the slate of candidates which we have as well, a slate which is diverse, progressive and has candidates from all around the state and in many different cities. Strong elected officials like these will be able to do so much for North Carolina. We encourage you to check them out at equalityncpac.org/candidates_2021, follow them on social media and give them your consideration as you go to the polls. 

And we’ll be sharing more information with you all as the month goes on. We already have a fabulous panel out with some of our out LGBTQ candidates, and every week until the election we’ll be broadcasting more town halls on our Facebook on Thursdays. We have mayoral candidates on October 14, City Council candidates on October 21, and other candidates, including School Board candidates, on October 28. We’ll also be holding a canvass with our partners for our endorsed candidates in Durham on October 30.

Our city and town councils in North Carolina have incredible power over people’s lives, but frequently these elections experience low turnout. Earlier this month, for example, Durham held it’s primary elections — but only a handful of people turned out, a tiny fraction of the turnout in 2020, much less of the city’s total population. With such low turnout, it’s hard for anyone’s voice to be heard. 

We know that we can do better. In an election with such low turnout, your vote really does make a difference — so we need you (and your friends, neighbors and family members) to come out and vote. Let’s head to the polls and make a difference!

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