Explore The Smoky Mountain News online voter guide to find out:
• what seats are on the ballot
• who’s running
• what are the issues
• which races you vote in
• Voter registration deadline: Friday, Oct. 10
• Early voting: Thursday, Oct. 23 thru Saturday, Oct. 25 (Click here for a list of early voting sites and hours by county.)
• Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
North Carolina General Assembly
NC Senate: the big race for the seven western counties
NC House 119: the race for Haywood, Jackson and Swain
NC House 118: the race for Haywood, Madison and Yancey
District attorney: battle for top prosecutor in the seven western counties
Haywood County commissioners
What’s up for election? Three out of five seats on the county board.
About the race: The current Haywood commissioners have enjoyed a stable tenure, consistently winning their seats when they come up for re-election. All three incumbents are Democrats, with long histories of elected office. The three challengers are running on similar platforms, two of them Republicans and one of them a Libertarian.
Jackson County commissioner
What’s up for election? Three of the five seats on the board.
About the race: There was a major power shift in county politics four years, after an upset election ushered in a new conservative-leaning majority power bloc on the board. The three sitting commissioners on the ballot in 2010, all Democrats, were ousted the three challengers: two Republicans and a conservative-leaning independent.
This year, Democrats are trying to take back the seats they lost, and voters will have a chance to endorse or oust the new leadership that took over four years ago.
Do I vote in all the districts, or just mine? Every voter in Jackson County gets to vote for every commissioner seat, no matter where you live in the county. While the county is parceled up into four territories for the commissioners race, the geographic districts only apply to the candidates. Candidates must live in the district of the seat they are running for, but are elected by voters countywide.
Macon County commissioners
What’s up for election: One seat in the Highlands district and two seats in the Franklin district.
About the race: There are three commissioner seats up for election in Macon County: one seat for the district representing the Highlands area and two seats for the district representing the Franklin area. All three incumbents are running.
The race presents an interesting mix of candidates: a couple Democrats, a couple moderate Republicans, a conservative Republican, and a Libertarian. Voting won’t necessarily be along party lines, and could be a hard race to predict, but an historic one when it comes to how conservative or moderate the county will swing.
Do I vote in all the districts, or just mine? Every voter in Macon County gets to vote for every commissioner seat, no matter where you live in the county. While the county is parceled up into three territories for the commissioners race, the geographic districts only apply to the candidates. Candidates must live in the district of the seat they are running for, but that’s the only import of the districts.
Swain County commissioners race
What’s up for election? All five seats on the county board are up for election, including four commissioner seats and commissioner chairman, although the chairman’s seat is uncontested.
About the race: As usual, it will be a long shot for Republican challengers trying to wrest a commissioner seat away from the Democrat incumbents on the board. But that hasn’t stopped a couple from trying.
The Democratic primary in May saw far greater competition, and in that race, an upset took out two of the four sitting commissioners on the ballot. This means there will be least two new faces on the board
This is the last year that all the commissioner seats will come up for election at the same time. Going forward, the terms will be staggered — instead of all the seats being on the ballot every four years, half the seats will be up for election at a time, with alternating seats up on the ballot every two years. This year’s commissioner election will set the stage for staggered terms. The top two vote getters will serve a full four years. But the third and fourth highest vote getters will only serve two years before their seats are up for election again. They will resume a four-year election schedule after that, with alternating election cycles established.
Swain voters approved the switch to staggered terms in a ballot question in 2012. It passed with 2,912 voters in favor of staggered terms compared to 1,930 against.
Haywood County Sheriff
About the race: And the winner is…. Sheriff Greg Christopher. Christopher has proven immensely popular and effective in just a short time, after being named sheriff barely a year ago after the sitting sheriff at the time stepped down. No one is running against him.
Jackson County sheriff
About the race: After a heated and crowded primary that narrowed the field from nine. The two men left standing are:
• Democrat Chip Hall, chief deputy in the sheriff’s department.
• Republican Curtis Lambert, a former Sylva police officer.
Current Sheriff Jimmy Ashe is stepping down, which opened the floodgates on candidates running in the primary.
Can Hall capitalize on his role of "second-in-command" at the sheriff's department under Ashe, without owning Ashe's baggage from the past four year? Can Lambert prove he has the experience to do the job?
Macon County sheriff
About the race: Robbie Holland has served as Macon’s sheriff for the past 12 years, and is headed for another four. Holland handedly cleaned up in the May primary against a Republican challenger, and faces no Democratic opposition in the general election.
Swain County sheriff
About the race: