Voting in crucial Charlotte City Council primary ends tomorrow

Voting in crucial Charlotte City Council primary ends tomorrow

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

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In a city of nearly 900,000 people, only a few thousand have cast ballots so far in the Charlotte City Council primaries — an election that, for several races, is as important as the general election.

Tomorrow, Sept. 12, is primary election day. Find your polling place here. They’re open 6:30am to 7:30pm.

  • Only Democrats and unaffiliated voters can vote in this primary. There are no Republican races in the primaries.

Why it matters: Since Democrats perform well in Charlotte, the primaries provide a good indication of what the next city council might look like. Just 17% of registered voters in Charlotte are Republican. 44% are Democrats.

  • With just one libertarian candidate, the primaries will narrow the race for four at-large seats to five candidates.
  • Plus, the primaries will decide at least two district seats because there aren’t candidates from other parties running.

Zoom in: City council has a significant impact on citizens’ daily lives. They set the city tax rate. Then they have power over how tax dollars are spent.

Yes, but: During early voting, 8,371 ballots were cast, according to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. There are more than 482,000 Democrat and unaffiliated registered Charlotte voters.

Flashback: Last election, council member Tariq Bokhari recruited a slate of Republican candidates to run for council, but they were unsuccessful. This year, only four of the races for a dozen council seats have Republican candidates.

  • Charlotte is one of the few North Carolina cities with partisan elections, meaning parties show up on the ballot.

Of note: This is one of the first elections in North Carolina with the new photo ID law in place. Voters must show either a North Carolina driver’s license or another approved form of identification to vote at the polls. Otherwise, they can fill out an exemption form and vote via provisional ballot.

  • Michael Dickerson, director of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, tells Axios the new law didn’t pose much of an issue during the early voting period.
  • There were just four exemption provisional ballots cast as of Friday.

Be smart: Find your sample ballot online here. You can also confirm you are registered to vote and find your polling place on the site.

Here are the Democratic primary races:


The Democratic nominee will face Republican candidate Misun Kim and libertarian Rob Yates in the general election.


Voters will get to choose four of eight Democratic at-large candidates:

The four winners of the primaries will run against libertarian candidate Steven DiFiore. He is the only non-Democrat at-large candidate.

Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston is running for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor in 2024 instead of seeking his at-large position again.

[Go deeper: Who is, and isn’t, running in Mecklenburg County 2023 elections]

District seats with Democratic primaries

District 2: Malcolm Graham (incumbent) v. Gary Young.

  • There are no other party candidates, so whoever wins this seat will serve.

District 3: Tiawana Brown, Melinda Lilly and Warren Turner are facing off to succeed Watlington, who is running at large.

  • The Democratic nominee will face Republican James H. Bowers in the general election.

District 4: Renee Perkins Johnson (incumbent) against Wil Russell and Olivia Scott.

  • The intrigue: In an unusual move, Mayor Lyles endorsed Russell — essentially attempting to ousts a current fellow council member, Johnson.
  • Johnson has served on council since 2019.

District 5: Marjorie Molina (incumbent) is defending her seat against Vinroy Reid and Curtis Hayes Jr.

  • There are no other party candidates so whoever wins this seat will serve.

Of note: Democrat Dante Anderson and Republican Ed Driggs are unopposed in Districts 1 and 7, respectively.

  • The most up-in-the-air race is District 6 in south Charlotte. It’s a rematch between Bokhari and Stephanie Hand, who was about 350 votes shy of beating Bokhari last election.

[Go deeper: Hot district race threatens GOP power in Charlotte]

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