Citizens in North Carolina will decide several races on election days in 2024. In addition to voting for president and members of Congress, people living in the Tar Heel State will choose a new governor and vote on many local positions.
High turnout can change how North Carolina’s elections pan out as voters decide between Democrats, Republicans, independents, or candidates running for a third party. However, many of these races will be decided by how citizens feel about the top issues facing their state.
North Carolina’s 2024 election season will include primaries and a gubernatorial race, in addition to influence in the presidential contest. Civic engagement is expected to be high.
Currently, legislative leaders hear different concerns from rural voters than those living in urban areas or the suburbs. North Carolina has sizable populations in all three areas, complicating frequent redistricting efforts in a state known for decades of population growth. Voting-rights issues are another area of statewide concern, and there is no shortage of people willing to volunteer their opinions on these crucial issues.
While there are several top issues crucial to the North Carolina 2024 elections, simply being able to vote fairly is one of the most pressing state issues North Carolina voters have to consider when making decisions in NC election races.
The election of the next governor is a statewide contest, for instance, but races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are decided by distinct districts. Critics of many of the maps drawn up for these districts accuse them of being unfair to minorities, and they can also make it harder for independent candidates or people running for a third party to be competitive, much less win.
The gubernatorial race is also going to impact the 2024 elections in this state. The current governor is term-limited and can't run for office in North Carolina again for the same position, so the race is wide open for new competitors. Not that the state has a number of growing urban areas but also more rural voters than some other states, so a candidate can't just run up votes in the Raleigh-Durham metro area and Charlotte metro area. While urban areas might dominate the state's lower legislative chamber, the upper chamber reflects the local politics of North Carolina and its 100 counties.
North Carolina has been a battleground state in several recent presidential elections, and it may be one again in 2024. With a diverse electorate, North Carolina’s five biggest cities sometimes share similar concerns, but they also have local issues that voters there are particularly concerned about.
Here are the issues at the front of voters’ minds in North Carolina’s top five cities:
Known as the Queen City, the state's biggest city has grown significantly in population over the last five decades. Many of the local issues that voters care about reflect this growth:
Infrastructure improvement hasn't always kept up with population growth, and expanding public transit isn't always easy in a city that urbanized so quickly.
Lower-income residents often face displacement as their communities go through gentrification.
Affordable housing is an omnipresent concern across much of North Carolina and the entire country, but school zoning and construction is a particularly difficult wrinkle in the Charlotte area.
Local politics in Greensboro involves a number of different concerns, but two of them are recurring themes. Affordable housing is one of them, and community safety is another one of them.
The state of North Carolina has seen its population swell since the advent of affordable residential air conditioning, and many companies that used to be based up North have relocated down here for better weather and lower costs of living. Housing is no longer as affordable as it used to be, and many Greensboro residents want to know what the local government is going to do about it.
Crime is also a concern of note in Greensboro, and community trust in local law enforcement isn't as high as it could be. Residents are hoping new leadership helps keep the area safe and that affordable housing initiatives reduce both crime and the cost of living.
As local political races heat up in Winston-Salem, the issue of gun violence is a primary concern for local residents. The area had seen recent improvements in crime, and 2022 saw homicides go down 25%. However, the rate has tracked back up since then. The city has improved pay rates for local law enforcement, but the police department did have over a hundred open positions at the time of writing. This issue plagues cities across the country, and the local government is joining many others in efforts to steer youth away from violence.
Affordable housing is another problem facing local voters, and many are concerned about growing the local economy for prosperity across the board.
Durham is part of the larger Triangle area of North Carolina, along with Raleigh and Chapel Hill, but it faces unique problems. Many of them relate to the city's population growth. Gentrification and urban development are the results of economic modernization when more people are sharing the same limited area of space available. New construction on top of older infrastructure can revitalize older neighborhoods while also straining resources and pushing lower-income residents out. Unfortunately, these population divisions often happen along racial lines, and the affordable housing crisis exacerbates the situation.
Safety and gun violence are also prominent issues. The number of shooting victims spiked several years ago at a time when crime fell in many other urban areas. Further compounding the problem is how few gun violence cases in Durham result in arrest or conviction.
Raleigh is the state capital, but it's not immune to having local issues like any other city. Affordable housing is among the biggest problems here. Residents know this issue didn't develop overnight, and they also know that answers won't come quickly, either. However, they do expect the local government to do something, and attempts have been made to address the issue.
Zoning laws have been discriminatory and prohibitive for decades, so addressing them could increase the housing supply and make properties more affordable. Part of this has been the implementation of zoning reforms that could grow the number of townhomes and duplexes that balance middle-class housing with the spacing restrictions of urban planning. Local voters have also passed housing bond projects to build affordable units and assistance for disabled and senior residents.
The North Carolina 2024 elections will impact local politics in NC and decide several races for Congress. If any of the state issues in North Carolina are important to you as top issues, then you need to get involved. Pay attention to upcoming elections, and, if you want to take things a step further, look into the many volunteer opportunities North Carolina has to offer or look into your own run for office in NC in 2024.
If you're not sure where to start with your top concerns in NC, consider starting by participating with local commissions and boards. Many people who run for office in North Carolina start at these local areas of government.
The North Carolina 2024 elections will impact everyone from the Atlantic Coast to the Appalachian Mountains, and the many state issues North Carolina faces will be decided or influenced by those who run for office and those who turn out to vote. Even if you don't want to run for an office yourself, take advantage of the many volunteer opportunities in North Carolina. You can work with a candidate or an organization, or just raise awareness on an issue you care about personally.
Redistricting, community safety, and affordable housing are among the top concerns North Carolina residents have, though the top concerns in local politics will vary. Similarly, what drives civic engagement in the Raleigh-Durham metro area might not be the same as what works in the mountainous counties of western North Carolina. Voting is one way to make your voice heard, but you can also volunteer or run for a political office.
Get more information here about running for office, or explore the many volunteer opportunities available in North Carolina.