Camaraderie Among Democrats And Republicans At Primary Polling Places

Mar 3, 2020

Tuesday is Primary Day in North Carolina, and electioneers -- people stumping for their candidates at polling locations – say they’re seeing a steady flow of voters.  And despite their partisan passions, they are surprisingly devoid of vitriol.  At least on this day…

In Halyburton Park in New Hanover County, I find Democrats and Republicans sharing space – and Krispy Kreme donuts. 

Republican Hunter Ford talks with voters about his candidate for the state House.  And when voter traffic slows, he chats with members of the local Democratic party. 

Does that feel a little strange to him?

"Not at all!  It’s only strange for people who make it strange.  I’ve met a couple nice ladies here, and we all are proud that our fellow citizens are getting out to vote.  It’s the most American thing that we get to do."

In Brunswick County at Belville Elementary, there is a similar scene.  Teagan Perry Hall is a current Boiling Spring Lakes City Commissioner. While she campaigns for two Republicans in local races, she’s standing and chatting with a Brunswick County Democratic party member.  And sharing a table.

"This particular election I changed my affiliation to unaffiliated in order to vote for these two candidates.  So they were the only two candidates that were on the entire Republican ballot that I voted for.  During elections in November I will most definitely be on the Democratic side."

Dale Todd, Democratic Party Precinct Vice Chair in Belville, acknowledges it’s a bit unusual.

"Normally we don’t share space – especially when we're down to the actual election.  We normally try to separate ourselves so we don’t run off people who don't want to talk to us."

But that hyper-polarization we all hear so much about – not true, says Todd, in the real world. 

"At the individual level there’s still discourse.  I mean, you can find some common ground on just about any issue among most individuals."