Remember the nonpartisan races

Nonpartisan offices on the ballot

Supreme Court Associate Justice
Robert H. (Bob) Edmunds Jr.
Suzanne Reynolds

Court of Appeals Judge
John C. Martin

Court of Appeals Judge
Jewel Ann Farlow
James A. (Jim) Wynn

Court of Appeals Judge
Sam J. Ervin IV
Kristin Ruth

Court of Appeals Judge
Cheri Beasley
Dough McCullough

Court of Appeals Judge
Dan Barrett
Linda Stephens

Court of Appeals Judge
John S. Arrowood
Robert H. (Bob) Hunter Jr.

District Court Judge, District 28
J. Calvin Hill

District Court Judge, District 28
Marvin Pope

Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
Dan Brackett
James H. Coman

Board of Education At-Large
Paul J. (Dusty) Pless

Board of Education North Buncombe
Alan D. Ditmore
Kevin Ronald Dodson
Ann B. Franklin
Edward Harwood

Board of Education Owen
Chris Bradford
Ben (Chip) Craig
Mark Crawford
Ryan Stone

Board of Education Roberson
William Joe McCanless Jr.
Steven Weir Sizemore

When Buncombe County residents step into the voting booth, the ballot they confront may contain a few surprises. While the bulk of the attention tends to focus on a relatively few high-profile contests, there are also many nonpartisan races awaiting your vote (see box). And although the actual ballot varies by location (not everyone, for example, will see the county school-board races on their voting sheets), all the nonpartisan races appear on side two of the ballot. Fortunately, the more visible Board of Commissioners races are also on side two, which should help most voters find their way there so they can cast all the votes they’re entitled to.

As the ballot explains, however, voting a straight ticket does not include either the presidential race or any of the nonpartisan races. These all require individual votes.

Nonpartisan races include one Supreme Court associate justice position, six Court of Appeals judgeships and two District Court judgeships.

In North Carolina, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court make up the justice system’s Appellate Division. The seven-member Supreme Court (a chief justice and six associate justices) sit as a panel in Raleigh to consider “errors in legal procedures or in judicial interpretation of the law,” according to the court system’s Web site ( The Court of Appeals, the state’s only intermediate appellate court, has 15 judges who sit in rotating panels of three to decide questions of law in cases ranging from parking tickets to murders. The judges serve eight-year terms.

District Courts, located in each county seat, handle various civil, criminal, juvenile and magistrate trial duties. (Felony criminal cases and large civil cases are heard in Superior Court, none of whose judges are up for election this year.) District judges serve four-year terms.

Other nonpartisan contests include the Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. These districts hark back to the Dust Bowl era, and their mission is to carry out soil-and-water conservation plans “that local people want and need,” according to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Web site (

For Buncombe County voters living outside the Asheville City Schools district, the nonpartisan section also includes several races for the county Board of Education: the at-large, North Buncombe, Owen, Roberson districts.

Below is the full list of candidates in nonpartisan races. In each race, voters are to choose one name only. Sample ballots are available from the Buncombe County Board of Elections (189 College St. in Asheville, or online at

— Nelda Holder


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