The long confusing 2021 Greensboro City Council election is approaching the finish line.
Early voting ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, and Election Day is Tuesday, July 26, when the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
So, barring unforeseen circumstances, sometime after 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, the votes will be counted and the Greensboro City Council election – originally scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021 – will be over.
Campaigning in a normal election is time consuming and intense, but campaigning in an election when nobody knows when the election is going to be held is an exercise in frustration. Part of running a campaign is raising money, and raising money for an election when the date of that election is in doubt adds a whole ‘nother degree of difficulty.
The Greensboro City Council election was originally postponed because the US Census data needed for redistricting was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. That postponement had the primary in March and the general election either in April or May, and the date would not be known until after the primary election results were certified.
Then the North Carolina Supreme Court delayed the primary to May 17, to settle legal challenges to the statewide redistricting which didn’t affect the City Council election. The general election was then set for either July 5 or July 26, and the NC legislature wisely chose July 26.
Early in the process, the Greensboro City Council had the choice of holding two elections. One would have been for mayor and the three at-large city councilmembers who run citywide and were unaffected by redistricting. The second election would have been for the five district City Council races that had to be delayed because the Census data was not available.
Mayoral candidate and District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling, who announced he was running for mayor in December 2020, spoke in favor of a split election.
However, the majority of the City Council decided that holding one election, whenever it was held, was the better option.