About Advance Carolina: Created in 2015, Advance North Carolina (“Advance Carolina”) is a Black-led organization with a mission to build political and economic power in Black communities and institutions in North Carolina. Advance Carolina educates and mobilizes Black and progressive voters to take charge of their communities and engages them to achieve inclusive, community-based political and societal solutions. Advance Carolina builds coalitions among grassroots organizations and local anchor institutions; provides leadership opportunities for youth, people of color, and women; and engages in political advocacy, including candidate endorsement and support for issue-based campaigns on issues prioritized by communities.
In 2020, Advance Carolina coordinated approximately 500 volunteers who engaged high potential voters considered unlikely to vote in the 2020 general election. These volunteers made attempts to contact over 150,000 voters via 73,000 text messages, phone calls to over 19,000 people, and literature drops at nearly 60,000 doors. For the 2020 election, Advance Carolina focused largely on women, faith-based communities, rural voters, and HBCUs. Of the people to whom Advance North Carolina reached out, 40% voted in the general election, representing record turnout for Advance Carolina’s target demographics.
Advance Carolina helped keep voters safe and informed by distributing 250,000 PPE kits with information on absentee ballots and safe in-person voting opportunities.
A notable local victory attributed to Advance Carolina’s efforts entailed overturning a conservative Board of Commissioners in a rural county to a progressive, Black majority. Also, a huge push in the final days leading up to the election enabled Ernestine Bazemore to win a democratic victory in a highly competitive state Senate race.
2022 Action Plan:
In 2022, North Carolina has a highly competitive, open US Senate, two races for seats on the state Supreme Court that will determine which party controls it, and significant opportunities to win US House and state legislative seats due to favorable redistricting. This year, Advance Carolina is prioritizing low-propensity midterm voters with intensive relational organizing approaches. They will test messaging and investment strategies to help boost enthusiasm and turnout for progressive candidates of color in key US House and state legislative races, with a particular emphasis on youth, and people in rural, suburban, and exurban areas. By endorsing local candidates for critical down-ballot races such as Sheriff and District Attorney, they intend to drive up turnout to “win from the bottom” and help up-ballot Democratic candidates such as Cheri Beasley, who is running for US Senate.
Advance Carolina’s strategy to engage youth includes a Commence to Vote initiative, in which graduating students are encouraged to vote early and share pictures on social media wearing their graduation caps. Advance Carolina’s outreach to youth is highly sensitive to the knowledge that youth activism may originate in traumas including school shootings, COVID, and police violence, and requires a tailored and updated approach.
Complementing their electoral work, Advance Carolina is addressing priority issues for people in their communities. One such effort is a Justice in Energy initiative with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to help reduce utilities costs for low-income individuals. Through candidate questionnaires and workshops with elected officials, they will hold officials accountable to the communities that elect them.
What Flip the Vote’s Support Could Mean:
To achieve its goals for 2022 and beyond, Advance Carolina needs help from Flip the Vote to scale up and train new staff for work throughout the year. They aim to drive turnout in critical 2022 down-ballot races which will have a “reverse coattails” impact on important up-ballot races like the open US Senate seat, majority control of the state Supreme Court, and newly redistricted US House and state legislative races. Advance Carolina’s planned addition of two regional coordinators, an organizing director, and 35 county organizers will help them reach their goal of five engagements per person in their target groups. Flip the Vote’s help will allow Advance Carolina to increase their reach by 20%, extend their impact across the state, engage in meaningful conversations with voters of color in swing districts, and generate enthusiasm for progressive down-ballot candidates.