NORTH CAROLINA
15 Electoral Votes 
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North Carolina was a battleground state and saw intense activity by the Democratic and Republican campaigns. 
  
Setting the stage for the general election campaign here, on July 29, 2016 a federal appeals courty struck down major provisions of North Carolina's sweeping voter ID law.  The controversial measure, passed on a party line vote by the Republican legislature and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) three years earlier on Aug. 12, 2013, included not only a voter ID requirement but other restrictions including a reduced early voting period and elimination of same day registration [PDF]."  The ruling of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals minced no words, stating that "the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans."  Further, the ruling stated that "because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history."  The court blocked implementation of all five provisions [PDF].  A month later, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene. 
  
Concerns about voter suppression did not disappear.  On Oct. 31 the NC NAACP filed a lawsuit charging that election boards in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties had cancelled registrations of thousands of voters on dubious grounds (+).  A Nov. 7 article in Mother Jones described North Carolina as "the epicenter of voter suppression efforts during the 2016 campaign."  The magazine and many other news outlets reported on a Nov. 7 press release from the state Republican party "bragging" about increased white turnout and lower black turnout (+).  Information from the State Board of Elections presented a different picture, pointing to  increases in early voting sites and hours and "the highest early voting turnout in the state’s history” (+).
   
North Carolina also gained noteriety for HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act ("the bathroom bill") passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. McCrory on March 23.  Another event that filled the news was the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer in Charlotte on Sept. 20; this caused several days of unrest and protests, prompting Gov. McGrory to declare a state of emergency in the city.
  
A dark moment in the campaign occured on the night of Oct. 15 when a Republican Party office in the town of Hillsborough (Durham area) was firebombed (+).
 
The tight race for governor and tighter than expected contest for U.S. Senate also added interest.

Among the noteworthy visits to the state, Hillary Clinton wrapped up her campaigning with a final midnight "Get Out the Vote" rally with Bill and Chelsea, Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi in Reynolds Coliseum at NC State University in Raleigh.  President Obama made three trips to the state to stump for Clinton, including two in the final week.  A Winston-Salem rally on Oct. 27 was the scene of Hillary Clinton's only joint appearance with First Lady Michelle Obama.  Vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine chose Raleigh for his debate prep, although little news came out of that.  On the Republican side, Donald Trump chose McGlohon Theatre in Charlotte for an Oct. 26 speech on urban renewal and America's inner cities.  Gov. Mike Pence made a dozen trips to the state, more than any state but Ohio.
  
Trump carried 76 counties to 24 for Clinton, garnering a plurality of 164,315 votes (3.66 percentage points); he fell just below 50-percent of the vote, tallying 49.83% of total votes.

For a good overview of the campaign in North Carolina see:
Sean Sullivan. "Nervous GOP pours money, personnel into N.C."  The Washington Post, Sept. 13, 2016.
Nia-Malika Henderson.  "Clinton eyes NC as a firewall in tightening race."  CNN, Sept. 19, 2016.