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Black voter turnout behind 2018 numbers as 2022 midterms near end


If published reports are to be believed, N.C. Democrats are not feeling very optimistic about the November 8th midterm elections this Tuesday, and one reason may be because as a voting bloc, turnout for Black voters is behind their 2018 midterm numbers.

According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, as of Oct. 31st, of the 1,160,747 One-Stop Early Votes cast by in-person, civilian, military and overseas voters as of Sunday, October 30th, only 18.62 percent were from Black voters, which is behind the Black voting in the 2018 midterm early voting of 20 percent.

In ballots cast by party measurement, Democrats accounted for more 39 percent, while Republicans were 31 percent and unaffiliated were 29.5 percent. That sizable unaffiliated percentage, and with the way it swings, is expected to help decide the election in many tight races.

At press time, One-Stop Early Voting is not scheduled to conclude until Saturday, Nov. 5th in all 100 North Carolina counties.

Because African Americans have been the most reliable voting base for the Democratic Party in recent years, any drop-off in voting numbers, even by a few percentage points, is a major concern for the party.

The last hope for a comparable Black voting turnout is this Tuesday, November 8th, Election Day, and the Beasley/Budd U.S. Senate race.

Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, is running a tight contest against District 13 Republican Congressman Ted Budd, the marquee race across the state. If elected, Beasley would become the first African American ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina, and party faithful hope that that, and a recent endorsement by former President Barack Obama, would propel Beasley into the winner’s circle on the wings of Black voters.

Whoever wins, could decide which party will hold the voting majority for the upcoming Congress.

But Republicans are notorious for staying quiet at the ballot box during the early voting period, only to explode at the polls on Election Day in large numbers.

That’s what the Budd campaign is hoping for.

On Oct. 23rd, NBC News reported that surveys showed Republican voters were “showing more enthusiasm” about the 2022 midterm elections than any other.

The last reports to the Federal Election Commission through October 19th shows the Beasley campaign having $3 million cash on hand after raising $34.2 million. The Budd campaign reported having $1.2 million cash on hand after raising just $12.6 million.

Beasley has reportedly outspent Budd in the race, but Budd still maintains a narrow lead in the most recent polling. And several outside conservative political action committees have flooded the airwaves with anti-Beasley ads in an effort to bolster Budd to the tune of $59.1 million by one estimate.

In effect since September, that is two-and-a-half times what Democrats have done for Beasley, and it has many of her supporters worried.

“The Black women, here and in Florida, the emphasis hasn’t been on them,” Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), said of Beasley and Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. “We shouldn’t be forgotten in this process.”

Democratic leaders counter that they are doing the best they can to support candidates this election cycle, but admit that they are prioritizing incumbents like Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is in a tight race against Republican/Trump-backed former all-star football player Herschel Walker. That race is also very close, with Walker looking like the eventual victor.

Back in North Carolina, beyond the Beasley-Budd U.S. Senate race, the other statewide contests that are considered most important for voters are the two for N.C. State Supreme Court.

Currently, Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the state’s High Court, but two of the Democrat-held seats are on the ballot. If just one is lost, Republicans will automatically hold the 4-3 majority during the next session. It would be the first time since 2016.

N.C. Appellate Judge Lucy Inman, a Democrat, is facing off against Republican Appellate Court Judge Richard Dietz to replace the retiring Associate Justice Robin Hudson. And Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV, also a Democrat, is defending his seat against Republican Trey Allen, currently the general counsel for the N.C. court system.

One-Stop Early Voting/Same Day Registration ends this Saturday, November 5th at 3 p.m.

On Tuesday, November 8th, Election Day, polls open at 6;30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. If you are in line to vote at 7:30 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

Report anyone who tries to harass you while you’re in line to the precinct judges. You do not have to show photo identification.

All properly filled out absentee ballots should be dropped off at your county board of elections office by 5 p.m. on November 5th, Election Day.

Make sure that you are voting in your assigned voting precinct.