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New, bipartisan effort meant to build trust, strengthen democracy

The North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections will go on a statewide tour to educate voters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2022 midterm elections are less than three months away. In light of the Jan. 6 insurrection and unsubstantiated claims about the validity of the 2020 election results, Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina are coming together to protect democracy.

The national not-for-profit organization The Carter Center is leading the new initiative in only a handful of states. North Carolina is one of the four.

It’s called the North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections. It’s a bipartisan effort meant to serve as a reminder that regardless of political party, everyone is part of democracy.

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"The whole system of democracy operates on elections," Robert Orr, co-lead of the North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections said. "If we undermine elections, then we undermine democracy and we undermine our whole system here in the United States."

During times of extreme political division, Democrats and Republicans are joining forces to build back some of the trust that’s been lost. The new network is meant to educate voters and strengthen civil discourse.

“We are more polarized than we’ve been probably since the Civil War," Jennifer Roberts, Co-Lead North Carolina Network for Fair, Safe, and Secure Elections said. "That’s concerning. We want democracy to be the form of government that helps us resolve our disagreements and helps us come to a compromise that’s going to serve the best interest of the most people."

Former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr are leading the initiative in the state.

Next month, they’ll join elections experts on a statewide tour to advocate for peaceful political engagement, answering questions and explaining the entire elections process.

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"We want to make sure that people know here in North Carolina we are doing things the right way no matter which party is in power," Roberts said. "We’re following the rules, we’re following the laws, and we want to make sure democracy continues to be strong."

The trusted elections tour will head to every congressional district. Locally, the town hall will be held in Charlotte on Sept. 13 and Belmont in Gaston County on Sept. 14.

There will be a virtual town hall for those who can’t attend.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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