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Could NC boost voter turnout by eliminating off-year elections?

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We had an election Tuesday, and if you didn’t make it to the polls, you weren’t the only one. Only about 15% of voters in Mecklenburg County cast ballots in the municipal election.

That’s roughly 120,000 votes out of more than 776,000 eligible voters.

Jeremy Markovich writes and produces the NC Rabbit Hole newsletter on Substack. He says this might have something to do with local elections happening in odd-numbered years, when there’s no state or federal offices on the ticket.

He joined WFAE's Nick de la Canal to discuss his recent article, titled, "Hardly anybody votes in off-year elections. Why does North Carolina have them?"

Check out their full conversation below:

Off-year elections hurt turnout. Could NC do away with them?
Jeremy Markovich joined WFAE's Nick de la Canal to discuss his recent article, titled, "Hardly anybody votes in off-year elections. Why does North Carolina have them?"

Here are some highlights:

On when municipal elections used to be held before they were standardized in off-years: "Well, whenever a town really felt like it ... They were really all over the map. It wasn't until 1971, which by the way was the same year 18-year-olds got the right to vote nationwide, the North Carolina General Assembly said you know, we should move all municipal elections to a year that isn't the big election year."

On why that happened: "It was kind of a purity thing ... they actually thought this would allow people to focus more on the local elections that really do matter."

On what people thought would happen: "They thought turnout, because of this focus, would actually go up, because you could focus just on your local folks."

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal