July 26 is Election Day. No, Really.
Local elections matter. Most of the decisions that affect your day-to-day life are made by local officials. (Photo: Shutterstock)

15 counties have local elections on July 26. Here’s a look at what you need to know and why they matter.

It’s July and all you want to do is find cool shade and enjoy the long summer nights—we get it. So why are we talking about voting? 

Because while the general elections in November are still a whole season away, residents in 15 counties and municipalities in North Carolina have significant local elections far, far sooner. 

July 26, to be exact. That’s about two weeks away.

Here’s a quick look at these elections; we’ve kept this short and sweet for prime reading while you’re at the pool, sipping a cold one.

These elections may not be national or overwhelming your social media feeds, but they are just as important.

Do Local Elections Even Matter?

Absolutely.

Most of the decisions that affect your day-to-day life are made by local officials, including property tax rates and where in the community that money is spent, whether to fix potholes and how often to collect your trash, and the rules that guide local law enforcement. 

Several counties will also be voting for local school board seats on July 26. And as North Carolina saw in ample supply over the last two years, local school boards set the standards for their districts’ performance, and define the values, vision, and goals for students and teachers alike. These values decide whether schools require masks during a deadly pandemic, and whether they ban culturally affirming books from their libraries.  

While voter turnout is typically low during non-presidential years, recent happenings on the state and federal level show there’s a lot at stake in 2022: Who we elect to positions of power—no matter where those positions are—matters.

Who Is Voting?

Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Hickory, Mooresville, and Sanford will be voting for mayor and/or city or town council seats. 

Cary, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Statesville, the Franklin County Board of Education, and the Jackson County Board of Education will host runoff elections for other offices. 

And Graham and Wake counties will also go to the polls in second primaries for sheriff.

You can search here to find out if your town, city or county is voting in July.

What Else Do I Need to Know

Election Day is not the only important date on the calendar.

The early voting period began on July 7 and ends at 3 p.m. on July 23. (Find your early voting site and schedule here.)

The last day to request a ballot to vote by mail is July 19. (You can do so here.)

While you can no longer register to vote online, you can still register in person during the early voting period at your early-voting site.