Before election day, The Chronicle is creating a series of explainers about who's who on the ballot, to supplement continuing coverage of the presidential contest. Part two of this series includes the North Carolina secretary of state, auditor, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance and commissioner of labor. Also, check out our guide to voting on Duke's campus. A North Carolina sample ballot listing all the races to be voted on by campus residents is available below.

N.C. Secretary of State:

The Secretary of State oversees business contracts and promotes economic development in the state. The position does not govern North Carolina's elections, contrary to practice in many other states. 

Incumbent: Elaine Marshall (D)

  • Marshall has served as N.C. Secretary of State since 1997. She is running for re-election for a sixth term.
  • Wants to protect copyrights and deter counterfeit goods.
  • Wants to create a more open climate for investors and aid vulnerable populations. 
  • Has worked with the federal government and other authorities to crack down on business identity theft and fraud through closer monitoring and greater transparency of information.

Republican Challenger: Michael LaPaglia

  • Consultant and CEO of LaPaglia & Associates. 
  • Believes less government intervention and fewer regulations will allow business to thrive.
  • Describes himself as a "limited government free-enterprise advocate."
  • Says he wants "to reduce unnecessary regulation and ease the regulatory burden on business."
  • Emphasizes small businesses in his platform.

N.C. Auditor:

The N.C. Auditor conducts financial audits and examines the use of state funds. The office seeks to improve the government’s efficiency and uncover any abuse of state funds.

Incumbent: Beth A. Wood (D)

  • Prior to her election in 2008, Wood worked in the State Auditor’s Office and is a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Raised concern about government salaries being too low for auditors.
  • Criticized the failed roll-out of a new Medicaid billing system in 2013.
  • Believes there is a lack of oversight in North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Has found issues with the processing of Medicaid claims.

Republican Challenger: Chuck Stuber

  • Is a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Worked for 28 years as an FBI agent investigating government corruption, including several Ponzi schemes.
  • Has served as chief investigator for the North Carolina State Board of Elections since 2014.
  • Says he wants to investigate more areas of government, such as Medicaid fraud.
  • Says he wants to look into collapse of N.C. New Schools.

N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture:

The N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture oversees the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The primary responsibilities of the commissioner are ensuring an adequate supply of food in North Carolina and enforcing regulations.

Incumbent: Steve Troxler (R)

  • Troxler is seeking his fourth term.
  • Founder, owner and operator of Troxler Farms.
  • Has served on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
  • Continued gun ban at the 2014 N.C. State Fair, despite a recent law that could permit concealed weapons at the fair.
  • Says he wants to prioritize developing new markets for N.C. farm products and supporting working farms.
  • Supported a 2015 referendum for the Connect N.C. Bonds Act, a $2 billion package to upgrade transportation infrastructure and higher education facilities across the state.

Democratic Challenger: Walter Smith

  • Has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 32 years.
  • Served as the Mayor of Boonville, N.C.
  • Platform focuses on consumer safety, encouraging sustainable agriculture and simplifying procedures and regulations for farmers and agribusinesses.
  • Believes that N.C. is losing farms and farmland at “an alarming rate.”
  • Says he wants to encourage the continuation of family farms, the humane treatment of animals, infrastructural development in rural areas and agricultural marketing.

N.C. Commissioner of Insurance:

The N.C. Commissioner acts as the state's Fire Marshall. The position has several responsibilities, including regulating the insurance industry, educating consumers and handling complaints.

Incumbent: Wayne Goodwin (Democrat)

  • Has served in this office since 2009.
  • Prior to his election, he served as assistant commissioner of insurance and was a member of the N.C. House of Representatives.
  • Platform focuses on affordable, accessible homeowners’ insurance and maintaining the authority and neutrality of the office.
  • In a letter to Sylvia Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, he criticized the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Challenger: Mike Causey

  • Is a retired insurance agent and lobbyist from Greensboro, N.C.
  • Says he will strive to make the Commissioner’s office more accessible to the public and improve customer service. 
  • This is his fifth run for insurance commissioner. Also ran in 2014 for U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Believes that allowing more insurance companies to do business in North Carolina will lower rates for consumers.
  • Referred to the state's Rating Bureau as "communist dictatorship" and said insurance companies should be allowed to opt out

N.C. Commissioner of Labor:

As head of the Department of Labor, the commissioner has the power to promote the “health, safety and general welfare” of workers in North Carolina. 

Incumbent: Cherie Berry (R)

  • Berry has served as Commissioner of Labor since 2001.
  • Says she focuses on cultivating partnerships with businesses.
  • Says she lowered worker’s compensation cost and pledged to continue combating “redundant, job-killing regulations.”
  • Has become one of North Carolina’s most recognized elected officials because her name and photo appear on the certifications posted inside every elevator.
  • Nicknamed “The Elevator Lady.”

Democratic Challenger: Charles Meeker

  • Meeker is currently a partner at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP.
  • Served as mayor of Raleigh, N.C. for 10 years and as a Raleigh City Council member.
  • He says his top priorities are worker safety, employee classification and ensuring workers are payed.
  • Criticized labor commissioners using elevator inspection placards to raise their public profiles.

View the full 2016 general election ballot here:

Duke University - North Carolina Sample Ballot by thedukechronicle on Scribd