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How issues relate to the offices on your ballot each election, and what roles and responsibilities are held by officials.

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Federal Elected Offices

U.S. President (and Vice President)

The United State’s chief executive issues executive orders, leads the military, can stop (veto) or enforce laws passed by Congress, and appoints federal judges — all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Congress: U.S. Senate and U.S. House

With the ability to make U.S. law and oversee federal agencies, congressional powers include spending our tax dollars, taking the country to war, deciding who gets healthcare and environmental protections, and when to hold the president accountable — from appointments to impeachments.

  • U.S. Senators
    Each state elects 2 Senators to the U.S. Senate. Senators adopt the federal budget, pass laws, and approve appointments by the President to the Supreme Court, other courts, and many other agencies.
  • U.S. House Representatives
    The U.S. House adopts laws with the U.S. Senate and President. The 435 House members are elected by district for two-year terms. North Carolina has 13 districts. You vote for 1 candidate in your district to be your Representative.

State Elected Offices

N.C. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court

The state’s highest courts hold the governor and legislature accountable. They make big decisions on issues from redistricting to death penalty appeals. They are the final word on what is “constitutional” and other interpretations of state laws.

  • NC Supreme Court
    The NC Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. There are 7 seats on the NC Supreme Court.
  • NC Court of Appeals
    Judges on the NC Court of Appeals hear appeals of criminal and civil cases from the District and Superior Courts, the trial courts in NC. There are 15 Court of Appeals seats in NC.

Council of State

(Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Labor)

Includes the top 10 officials in NC’s executive branch, is led by the governor, and can call for special legislative sessions and determine the state’s financial future.

  • Governor
    NC’s governor, who is elected by the entire state. The governor can stop (veto) legislation passed by the NC General Assembly; appoint the Board of Elections and other boards; issue orders to address emergencies; and administer laws not handled by independent agencies.
  • Lt. Governor
    The Lt. Governor, who is not necessarily in the same party as the governor, can assume the governor’s duties if he or she is unable to serve, is a member of many boards, including the Board of Education and Community College Board, and presides over the NC Senate, casting the tie-breaking vote if needed.
  • NC Attorney General
    The Attorney General heads the NC Department of Justice, which protects consumers from fraud, provides legal representation to State agencies, and is a resource for local District Attorneys and other parts of the justice system.
  • NC Secretary of State
    The Office of Secretary of State regulates certification of lobbyists, charities, businesses, notaries, etc., and maintains the State’s official public records.
  • NC Auditor
    The State Auditor reviews the financial management of state agencies and the efficient and appropriate use of the public’s money.
  • Commissioner of Agriculture
    The Commissioner heads the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, which has the double role of promoting farm products and food safety, plus monitoring pesticides and effective farming practices.
  • Commissioner of Insurance
    The Insurance Commissioner regulates insurance rates and practices, licenses building code inspectors, handles consumer complaints, inspects fire departments, and trains firefighters and rescue personnel.
  • Commissioner of Labor
    The Labor Commissioner heads the NC Department of Labor, which promotes the “health, safety and general well-being” of NC’s workers and shapes and enforces laws related to workplace practices.
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
    The Superintendent heads the NC Department of Public Instruction. It oversees NC’s pre-K to 12th grade public schools, implements the policies of an independent State Board of Education, and licenses teachers.
  • NC Treasurer
    The Treasurer invests public funds for best results, administers the pension and health-benefits programs of public employees, oversees local and state government borrowing, and provides fiscal advice to agencies.

State Legislature: NC Senate and NC House

The two chambers of the NC General Assembly hold the power to draft state laws on anything they choose. They can enact criminal justice reform, draw our voting maps, and decide how North Carolinians receive health care. They also use our taxpayer dollars to set the state budget, including resources for everything from roads to schools. Candidates are elected based on geographic districts (who you have the choice to vote for depends on where you live).

  • NC Senate
    The NC Senate is made up of 50 members elected for 2 year terms
  • NC House
    The NC House is made up of 120 members elected for 2 year terms.

Local Elected Offices

Mayor & City Council

Oversee the general administration of day-to-day city operations, including police & fire departments, arts & parks, local taxes, economic development, water & sewer management, and zoning. They hire the City Manager and prepare the annual budget.

Sheriffs

Oversee general law enforcement for their entire county. They make arrests and investigate crime. Many sheriffs have been personally involved in the murders of unarmed Black people in recent years.

Local School Boards

Set the school system budget and decide who runs your schools, where your kids go to school, how big classes are, and even what textbooks are used.

Local County Commissioners

Decide how money is collected and spent in your county, determining everything from local funding for your elections to setting your property taxes.

Local Judges

Have the power to do everything from felony and misdemeanor criminal cases to business disputes to divorce and child custody.

Local Soil And Water Conservation Supervisors

Establishes local conservation priorities and works with landowners on things like soil preservation, flood prevention and
protecting clean water.