With primaries coming up in a number of Southern states, many key issues are hanging in the balance. For instance, on North Carolina’s primary ballot on May 17, residents will vote for candidates who will run for Republican incumbent U.S. senator Richard Burr’s seat, and several seats in the General Assembly, the state’s legislature. These decisions will have major effects on climate action in the state, major energy and infrastructure projects, and potential political redistricting.

We know all of these big issues are deeply intertwined and affect people immediately, though they often seem separate when we read the news. In Antionette Kerr’s story in 2020 about disasters in N.C., we learned that “according to a government report, North Carolina spent only 1% of federal relief money by December 2018 because of “limited institutional knowledge within state government” for how to distribute community grants and design recovery programs. The report also revealed the state emergency management agency spent $3.7 million unnecessarily.”

In Kentucky, voters will choose candidates for a variety of offices, including the mayor of Louisville, the Louisville metro council, and a U.S. Senate seat. These roles will determine how Louisville handles its current housing crisis, budget priorities, and education and health equity.

While voting won’t get us the urgent change we so desperately seek, it helps set things in motion. Alone it won’t be the savior we were taught that it would be. However, it is a necessary tool in our kit for a more equitable America. 

You need to vote because if you did, then your vote would count. It would mean something. We can help change things. We can put people in offices that really care.

Tasha Guidry
voter education LEADER in Lake Charles, LA

We’ll be adding to, sharing, and amplifying voter guides and other information over the next few weeks to help you make sense of what’s at stake in the primaries. Thanks to everyone who sent in their recommendations.

Do you have a non-partisan voter guide you’d like to share? Email us: community@southerlymag.org.

May 10

West Virginia

Vote 411, for voter information (you can sign up for a ballot guide)

WV Can’t Wait candidate search tool (enter your zip code)

May 17

Kentucky

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, voter guide and candidate information

North Carolina

You Can Vote, for voter information and candidate/issue information

News & Observer’s voter guide, with information on candidates, polling places, and more

May 24

Alabama

May 9 is the last day to register to vote for the primaries. Do so at alabamavotes.gov or the “vote for Alabama” app on your phone. In person: return application to your local Board of Registrar’s office by its close of business today. Find your county’s Board of Registrar’s contact information at sos.alabama.gov/city-county-lookup/bor.

Vote 411 Alabama, for voter information and to request candidate information

Alabama Political Reporter has a list of all the 2022 candidates

Texas

League of Women Voters nonpartisan voter guide

Arkansas

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, on ballot issue education

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette voter guide

Georgia

Vote411 Georgia, for voter information and candidate/issue information

What Black Voters Should Know and information on early voting, from Capital B

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