Fun fact: No member of the current Raleigh or Durham city council was elected without the INDY’s endorsement.
As much as we’d like to imagine otherwise, of course, it’s silly to think that our endorsements alone determine elections. There are a million factors at play: fundraising and name recognition, PACs and advocacy groups, sometimes dumb luck. Then again, in October 2017, about 15 percent of Raleigh’s registered voters went to the polls; in Durham, about 12 percent did. With such low turnout, anything can tip the balance.
The fact that Raleigh holds its elections—everything but runoffs—in the October of odd-numbered years all but guarantees basement-level participation, which in turn all but guarantees that voters will be disproportionately older, wealthier, and whiter.
The good news: Turnout on October 8 will likely be better. The mayor’s seat is open for the first time since 2011, and the council races present a clear clash of values as the city grapples with questions of equity, affordability, and growth.
Though Durham’s leaders have mostly rowed in the same direction lately, the Bull City still faces big challenges: affordability and gentrification, unequal prosperity and pockets of deep-seated poverty that trace back to urban renewal and redlining, a recent uptick of gun violence. The city is holding primaries for its at-large council seats, whittling the field from ten to six. On November 5, voters will choose the three at-large members from the six finalists, as well as the mayor—with only two candidates, there’s no primary—and decide on a $95 million affordable housing bond. (The INDY will make recommendations on the bond and in the mayor’s race next month.)
To inform our endorsements, we’ve solicited detailed questionnaires from the candidates, engaged community activists and politicos, and had lengthy conversations about which candidates would best move Raleigh and Durham forward.
Early voting starts Wednesday.
Respond to our endorsements at email@example.com.
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