Yes, There Are Elections This Year. A New State Tool Tells You All You Need to Know

Yes, there are elections this year, NC. A new state tool tells you all you need to know. (Shutterstock)

By Michael McElroy

March 17, 2023

More than 90 counties in North Carolina have local elections this year for vital roles that help set a community’s budget and define its principles.

The 2023 elections are closer than you think and it’s never too early to …. sorry, wait a second … there are 2023 elections? 

Yes, it turns out.

Many municipalities in North Carolina – the fancy word for local governments – hold their elections in odd-numbered years. But local does not mean unimportant. Far from it.

Most of the governmental decisions that affect your day-to-day life are made by local officials, including setting property tax rates and where in the community that money is spent; whether to fix potholes and how often to pick up the trash; and even how schools are run. 

All but seven of North Carolina’s 100 counties have local elections this year. 

Durham, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and many communities from Outer Banks to the Tennessee border, for example, will be electing mayors, city council members or aldermen, town commissioners and a host of other vital roles. 

Most importantly, perhaps, these officials set a community’s budget, and if budgets are documents of priority, then they also help define its principles. And voters define the officials.

The first big election date is in September, and Election Day itself is Nov. 7. Often in local elections, however, the specifics are also hyper-local. Will there be absentee voting? A primary? 

These answers change from county to county, so things can get muddled. But good news. The NC Board of Elections has a new 2023 County Municipal Elections Map that will tell you when your election is, what positions are on the ballot and all sorts of other things you need to know.

You can also find more information across the BOE website, including whether you are eligible to vote in the municipal elections, how to register and when, and how to find your sample ballot


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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