- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The time to become an official candidate for North Carolina’s 2016 elections is beginning four weeks in advance of the new year.

The candidate filing period begins at midday Tuesday, or about two months earlier compared to the state’s traditional election cycle.

That’s because the General Assembly decided to move up all primaries from next May to March 15 to have more national influence in the presidential primaries, while encouraging maximum turnout for other races.

The filing period continues weekdays through noon Dec. 21 and officially kicks off a big election year beyond the presidential primaries. Races for U.S. Senate, governor and Council of State and General Assembly seats are on the ballot. There are also elections for Congress, state judgeships and scores of county positions.

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