BYH: To the powers of PCC. You made the campus smoke free, that is ok. I hope that you never forget that Tobacco formed,...

No candidate should go unopposed, no vote uncast


Paula Dance, filing to run for Pitt County sheriff on Monday, is among four candidates seeking the seat so far.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Amid the uncertainty and tumult over the shape of North Carolina congressional and legislative districts, whether some elections might be canceled and even who will administer elections, it is rather remarkable that officials and politicians can figure out which offices are even going to be on the 2018 ballot.

But, maybe that’s just par for the course in this state as filing for most offices continues through Feb. 28.

Even considering all that, we shouldn’t let it further feed any cynicism or diminish the importance of the upcoming elections. Issues voters must consider are as important as any state they have faced: providing a quality education for all children; assuring adequate health care for those in need; demanding accountability in the spending of taxpayer dollars — particularly the current private school voucher system; expecting reasonable taxation of businesses; assuring the basic fairness of our elections and equitable representation through non-partisan redistricting.

The Republican power structure in the General Assembly has done nearly everything possible — though we’re sure there are even more schemes deep in their bag of tricks — to dissuade citizens from seeking public office or participating in elections.

Despite efforts to sideline voters, North Carolina elections aren’t spectator sports. The coming campaigns are no time to relinquish participation — in fact it is more urgent than ever to be involved and vote.

In the 2010 fall election for the 160 seats in the General Assembly, 47 seats were uncontested — 30 percent.

After state Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and other leaders imposed their gerrymandered, unconstitutional legislative redistricting, unopposed seats reached their apex in 2014 — with half the seats in the legislature going unopposed in the general election. It was slightly less in the fall of 2016 — 44 percent of the seats were uncontested.

The reason, of course, is that voter registration and turnout in these gerrymandered districts is so lopsided in favor of one political party over another, minority party candidates see little realistic opportunity for victory. Why waste critical campaign resources on a Sisyphean pursuit? Voters don’t see any reason to vote, since they have no choice.

No candidate should get a free ride into office. The political party organizations — statewide and local — should be committed to recruiting candidates for every office on the ballot. No candidate for Congress, the legislature or county commission should go unopposed.

There is one very important reason. Every candidate, particularly incumbents, should be forced to account for their actions and views. There is no better way than through election campaigns with persistent candidates who make their views known, contrast them with their opponents’ and force the opposing candidates to explain for themselves.

While some may want to keep interest in elections low to keep voters away from the polls, contested campaigns generate participation and increase turnout. That is a good thing.

It is one of the great strengths of American democracy and a virtue of regular and frequent elections.

When nearly half the state legislature arrives in office without any accountability to the voters, it inevitably leads to excesses and abuses of power – the kinds that have been clogging our courts for the last seven years.

In the United States, the most power is in the hands of each citizen through their vote. Don’t be relinquished to the sidelines. Don’t let others take your say away from you.

If you aren’t registered to vote, do it now. You can find all you need to know here.

Capitol Broadcasting Company of Raleigh


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 18, 2018

In Tom Fetzer’s defense of his recent actions as a member of the UNC Board of Governors, he was right about one matter: Secrecy is not paramount in the search for a new chancellor at one of our state universities.

Fetzer, in a column published by The News & Observer, defended his…


August 17, 2018

Even — or especially — among those who agree human-caused global warming is happening, the footnote has been the understanding that no individual weather event or catastrophe is caused by the overall temperature rise.

Until this summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s not just hot…

Western Wildfires-7

August 16, 2018

Cooke Communications N.C. today joins newspapers across the nation writing in response to President Donald Trump’s regular attacks against journalism and the press.

Too many nights to count, journalists sit in nearly empty city council chambers, school board meeting rooms and county office…


August 15, 2018

The U.S. and North Korea are again publicly disagreeing about progress toward the North’s denuclearization, and that’s no surprise. This was likely to happen once President Trump agreed to “phased” progress and dropped demands that the North agree up front to reveal and…

Trump North Korea

August 14, 2018

The Trump administration has reportedly instructed its top diplomats to engage in direct talks with the Taliban. That’s a welcome and important step toward ending the wasteful war in Afghanistan.

A preliminary discussion was held last month in Qatar, the Washington Post reported, after The…

US Afghanistan

August 12, 2018

The numbers are troubling and on the edge of embarrassing — 2,386 North Carolina elementary school teachers have failed the math portion of their licensing exam since 2013. So says a report presented to the state Board of Education last week.

The failure rate on those math tests is getting…

Teacher Protests-13

August 11, 2018

It’s unexpectedly good news that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina wants to lower some of its premium rates for 2019, as the Journal’s Richard Craver reported Wednesday. This is the first rate decrease in Blue Cross of North Carolina’s history since it entered the…

Health Care Overhaul What Now

August 10, 2018

The debate over 3D-printed guns blew up last week. Many people rightly see this issue as being about the Second Amendment right to bear arms, it’s also about the First Amendment and free speech.

The plans for a basic 3D-printed gun have been around for a couple of years, but the federal…

3D Guns Lawsuit

August 09, 2018

Does the constitutional right to armed self-defense extend outside the home? The Supreme Court didn't address that issue when it a decade ago issued a landmark ruling affirming an individual's right to keep firearms in the home for personal protection. Now, that question is on the front burner with…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh Roe v Wade

August 08, 2018

Some 13 weeks till Election Day, and "The warning lights are blinking red," says the U.S. director of national intelligence. "I cannot emphasize enough the vulnerability," says Sen. Marco Rubio. "We could be just a moment away from it going to the next level," says the FBI director. On Thursday,…

Georgia Runoff Governor-36
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