A second primary will be held for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, where no candidate received the 30 percent of votes required to avoid the possibility of a runoff.
The second primary will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in the 17 western North Carolina counties that make up the 11th Congressional District.
Under N.C.G.S § 163-111, the candidate who receives the second-highest vote total in a primary contest may demand a second primary if no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the votes cast for all candidates in that contest.
Madison Cawthorn, who finished second according to unofficial results, requested a second primary against top vote-getter Lynda Bennett.
The second primary will be held in the following counties: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey.
No other second primaries will be held in North Carolina in 2020.
Eligible Voters: All registered Republicans who live in the 11th Congressional District may vote in the second primary; they did not have to vote in the first primary to be eligible to vote in the second primary.
Also eligible are unaffiliated voters who live in the 11th Congressional District who either didn’t vote in the March primary, or who voted a Republican ballot in the primary. Unaffiliated voters who voted a nonpartisan, Democratic, or Libertarian ballot in the first primary may not participate in the second primary.
Early Voting: The early voting period for the May 12, 2020 second primary begins Thursday, April 23, 2020 and ends Saturday, May 9, 2020. County boards of elections are not required to use the same early voting plan for the second primary as they did for the first primary.
Under state law, voter registration is not permitted between the first and second primaries. This means same-day registration is not permitted during early voting for the second primary. Voters may make name and address changes during the early voting period but may not change their party affiliation.
These registration restrictions apply only to voters in the 11th Congressional District. Voters outside of the district may register and update their registrations without these limitations.
Absentee Ballots: Any voter eligible to vote in the second primary who indicated on that voter's absentee application for the first primary that he or she would like to request an absentee ballot for the second primary will automatically be sent an absentee ballot for the second primary. All other eligible voters may request an absentee ballot by May 5, 2020.
Photo ID: Temporary injunctions preventing implementation of the photo ID law remain in place. The law was enjoined by a federal district court on December 31, 2019 and by the North Carolina Court of Appeals on February 18, 2020. Therefore, voters are not required to show photo ID for the second primary.
COVID-19: Please see the State Board’s statement on COVID-19 here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/Press-Releases?udt_2226_param_detail=2037. We will continue to keep the media and voters apprised of any election-related developments related to the disease.