By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Although state lawmakers ordered some communities in North Carolina to postpone their 2021 elections until next year, Raeford’s municipal races will continue as scheduled, elections officials said.
Filing opens this Friday for the 2021 municipal elections. The office of City of Raeford Mayor and two Raeford City Council seats are up for election this year. The city offices on the ballot are nonpartisan and so did not have partisan primary elections in the spring.
The filing period for the three positions opens at noon Friday, July 2 and will run for two weeks, until closing at noon Friday, July 16. One-stop early voting will open in October and the city Election Day will be Tuesday, November 2.
This year is a municipal election year, falling in-between a presidential election year and a midterm election year. There aren’t any countywide races on the ballot in the 2021 election, and only Raeford residents can vote in the city election.
So far no one has notified the Hoke County Board of Elections of opening a campaign to seek one of the three positions, but that could change any day, Elections Director Towanna Jackson said. At least one person has notified the News-Journal he is planning a campaign event for later in July to announce his candidacy.
Wayne Willis and Charles Allen are the incumbent council members. City councilors serve four-year terms.
Allen is currently serving his second term in office since being elected in 2013. Willis is serving his third four-year term since being elected in 2009. Willis additionally served a partial term when he was first appointed to the board.
John K. McNeill is the incumbent City of Raeford Mayor. The mayor serves a four-year term. McNeill is serving his fourth consecutive term in office.
Although Raeford’s municipal election will take place this year, some other communities in the state will have to postpone their races until 2022. North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation that Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Monday delaying municipal elections for more than 30 cities, towns or villages across the state.
The delay until 2022 is meant to give those communities a chance to revise their election districts in the wake of new population numbers from the 2020 United States Census.
Communities other than the 30 included in the law will continue as usual with their planned municipal elections, N.C. State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said in a press release.
“City, town, and village elections not affected by this law will go on as planned later this year. The State Board and county boards are hard at work preparing for the upcoming candidate filing periods and elections,” Bell said in the statement.
Some municipalities in Hoke’s neighboring counties are affected by the legislation. Fayetteville, Laurinburg, St. Pauls, Lumberton, and Erwin will have to postpone their municipal elections this year, according to the State Board of Elections. Some of North Carolina’s largest municipalities including Charlotte, Raleigh and Cary will also postpone their 2021 city elections.
“Under the new law, terms of mayors and council members in the affected municipalities will be extended until their successors are elected in 2022,” the State Board of Elections said in a press release.
The law will not affect any of Hoke’s county elections.