On June 28, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that will move Raleigh’s municipal election, which includes the mayoral race. Raleigh is just one of many municipalities that will be affected by this legislation, with its elections moving from October 2021 to November 2022. The city’s municipal elections will now take place in even-numbered years and change to a plurality method. Current Raleigh officials will remain in office for an additional 13 months. This change will also provide any new candidates extra time to run and file in districts that could change due to the results of the 2020 census.
Typically, the U.S. Census Bureau updates local population counts in March after every census. Instead, this information will not be released until the end of September due to impediments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters. With this delay, there would not be enough time in some districts to draw new boundaries that reflect population changes that have occurred since the last census.
Regarding the election postponement, Governor Roy Cooper stated, “While delays to census data caused by the pandemic necessitate changes to local elections, decisions about local elections like these should involve more open discussion and public input, and therefore these changes will become law without my signature.”
By Hadleigh John, Contributing Writer