With more absentee voting, experts encourage extra time and research on lesser-known races

With more absentee voting, experts encourage extra time and research on lesser-known races

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s just eight days of early voting left and Election Day is less than two weeks away.

Of course, the presidential election takes up much of the attention. But some experts say you need to be paying attention to some of the other races further down on your ballot.

One of those being the North Carolina Court of Appeals races.

The higher courts can make some major decisions for the state and some experts weigh in they can make some political decisions when a compromise can’t be found.

They hope because of an increase in absentee voting, people will take the time to research these lower ballot races, and their candidates, to make an informed decision.

“In the ideal world, we have these elections because we want to hold these judges accountable and we want to pick the judges who make the right decisions and yet we waste that opportunity most of the time," said associated professor of political science at UNCC, John Szmer.

He says some data shows that in these low-profile races, voters often times vote based on trivial factors, like name, gender, or who’s campaign sign they last saw.

“We do know that when people are voting for these judges, they don’t know much about who people are voting for," he added.

He doesn’t know if voters will act differently this year but says they could because of the increase in absentee voting.

He says because so many more people are having their ballot sent from home to him, they have the time to research candidates for all the races.

“I sat at my kitchen table and looked up all the candidates and I looked up there backgrounds," he said. "It was better for me as a voter. I could make a much more deliberate decision.”

Rob Heroy is an attorney in Charlotte.

He explains that the appeals court could see a wide variety of cases, anything that might need an extra opinion.

Some of those cases could be something like a drunk driving case, which wouldn’t necessarily affect the state.

But those same judges could help in making decision on voting rights and re-districting in the state and that’s why he says voters should take notice.

“It doesn’t seem like anyone in politics can get along anymore. Within the North Carolina government, people are at each others throats," he said. "So much of this winds up going to get resolved by the courts and not the politicians.”

For a full list of candidates, go to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.

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