A lot more than simply the timing is unusual about the Greensboro City Council election on Tuesday, July 26.
Early voting opened on Thursday, July 7, so even though most people in Greensboro seem unaware that an election is being held, for those involved it is crunch time.
Greensboro City Council elections are nonpartisan and usually the political party organizations don’t have much involvement. But this year the Guilford County Republican Party decided to take an active role in the nonpartisan City Council election.
The GOP may have been influenced by the fact that the current City Council is made up entirely of Democrats. The last Republican elected to the City Council was former District 5 City Councilmember Tony Wilkins in 2015. In 2017m Wilkins lost his reelection bid to District 5 City Councilmember Tammi Thurm, who is a Democrat, so it’s been over four years since there was a single Republican on the City Council.
This year the Guilford County GOP voted to spend $12,000 to send out a mailer to Greensboro Republicans to support the three of the four Republicans on the ballot, and the one Republican not on the ballot running as a write-in candidate for mayor.
The Republicans on the ballot are At-large City Council candidate Katie Rossabi, District 4 City Council candidate Thurston Reeder and District 5 City Council candidate Tony Wilkins.
On June 13, almost a month after the primary on May 17, at the Guilford County Republican Party meeting, Chris Meadows announced he was running a write-in campaign for mayor and the mailer sent out by the GOP includes Meadows with instructions on how to vote for a write-in candidate.
Voting on paper ballots instead of electronic machines has made voting for a write-in easier. One write-in candidate in the era of electronic voting machines handed out pencils along with complicated instructions on how to cast a write-in ballot.
District 3 City Council candidate Zack Matheny has no opponent on the ballot and is not listed on the GOP mailer. Since Matheny has almost no chance of losing the City Council race, the newly elected City Council should include at least one Republican.
The GOP sent out over 12,000 mailers, mostly to voters who are registered Republican but also to voters registered as unaffiliated and some registered Democrat.
The GOP mailer has also caused some confusion. Several Republicans who don’t live in Greensboro have contacted the Rhino Times with questions about why they were receiving a mailer when they aren’t eligible to vote in the election.