At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Voting underway in NC 11 Second Primary

The March 3 Republican Primary Election for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District between 12 candidates hoping to represent the party in its bid to retain an important U.S. House seat resulted in no candidate achieving the required 30 percent threshold for victory, so a Second Primary – a “runoff,” in common parlance – will take place on Tuesday, June 23. 

Lynda Bennett and Madison Cawthorn, the top two finishers in the March 3 Primary Election, will compete for the right to face Democrat Moe Davis in November. Green Party candidate Tamara Zwinak and Libertarian Tracey DeBruhl are also running. 

Whoever wins will replace Asheville Republican Mark Meadows, who represented the 17-county district for eight years until announcing he wouldn’t seek reelection on Dec. 19.

He’s since resigned from the seat altogether to become President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, leaving almost all of Western North Carolina without a Member of Congress since March 30. 

The runoff was originally slated for May 12, but was postponed for six weeks on March 20 by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

The June 23 Second Primary is open to all registered Republicans, as well as registered independents who either did not vote in the March 3 Primary Election, or voted Republican. 

The period to request an absentee ballot has been underway since Friday, May 8. Get yours online or from your local board of elections, and return it by mail or in person before Friday, June 16. No reason is needed for civilian absentee voting, but overseas citizens or members of the armed forces must use a different form, provided by the federal government. 

In-person early voting began on Thursday, June 4 and runs through Saturday, June 20. Times and locations vary by county.

A press release from the NCSBE dated May 7 says that significant precautions will be taken to safeguard the health of both voters and poll workers. 

Those precautions include masks, face shields and gloves for poll workers, masks for voters who do not bring their own, single use pens and cotton swabs, enforced social distancing in lines, hand sanitizer for voters as well as poll workers, protective barriers at check-in tables and ample cleaning supplies for disinfection before, during and after the election. 

Election Day is Tuesday, June 23. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Procedures may vary by county, so check back in with The Smoky Mountain News for important updates, or call your county board of elections. To learn more, visit www.ncsbe.gov.

Go to top