The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director

Prior to the 2020 elections, a representative from the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution team reached out to the North Carolina Council of Churches. For the first time in its 40-year history of resolving international conflicts, their research showed the conflicts might come home. North Carolina, along with a few of other states, showed a high probability for election related violence. While N.C. did have a few minor skirmishes in some places leading up to the November 2020 elections, the truth of the Carter Center’s research materialized on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

With the 2022 mid-terms on the horizon, the Carter Center has ramped up its efforts to restore faith in democracy. In addition to N.C., similar work is occurring in Arizona, Florida and Georgia. The work here, known as “The North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections,” is a bi-partisan effort led by Bob Orr, a former Republican justice of the state Supreme Court and former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat.

A growing coalition of bi-partisan participants, which includes the Council, is calling on all candidates to sign this pledge, agreeing to a set of principles that were once de rigueur:

1. Honest Process: Cooperate with election officials, adhere to rules and regulations, and refrain from knowingly propagating falsehoods about the electoral process.

2. Civil Campaign: Encourage a peaceful election atmosphere during the pre-election, polling, counting, and post-election periods. Denounce any attempt to intimidate, harass, threaten or incite violence against opponents, their supporters, and election workers.

3. Secure Voting: Respect voters’ freedom to exercise their lawful rights to register and vote, free from interference, obstruction, or intimidation.

4. Fair Oversight: Encourage political parties and others to train poll-watchers on the election process and appropriate roles and behaviors, responsibilities, and obligations.

5. Trusted Outcomes: Make claims of election irregularities in accordance with the law and acknowledge the legitimacy of the outcomes after the results have been certified and all contestations decided.

More about the Candidate Principles is here. Please let those running for office in your locations know that you expect them to sign the pledge and conduct their campaigns accordingly.

Later this month, Justice Orr and Mayor Roberts will begin the “Trusted Elections Tour,” to insure trust in our voting system and strengthen civil discourse. The tour will have a stop in each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. It will feature panels of election security experts, local election officials, and attorneys from both major parties who will explain the election process and the appropriate ways to resolve any questions or disputes.

Tour Dates and Cities

NC-2: Wake Forest – Aug. 30
NC-13: Smithfield – Aug. 31
NC-3: New Bern – Sept. 7
NC-1: Edenton – Sept. 8
NC-12: Charlotte – Sept. 13
NC-14: Belmont – Sept. 14
NC-8: Albemarle – Sept. 15
NC-11: Fletcher – Sept. 20
NC-10: Hickory – Sept. 21
NC-5: Wilkesboro – Sept. 22
NC-9: Southern Pines – Sept. 27
NC-6: Greensboro – Sept. 28
NC-7: Wilmington – Oct. 3
NC-4: Hillsborough – Oct. 6

The location, and time for each of the local events will be available soon and we will continue to send updates. In the meantime, people can register for a Virtual event here

All of us have an interest in protecting the foundations of democracy. At the Council we believe that foundation is rooted in the Image of God. With those words in Genesis, “Let us make humankind in our image . . .” (1:26), every person is designated as beloved. Every beloved person counts. Please join the Council as we support this important initiative to insure Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections.