Raleigh, N.C. – American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. and ACLU of North Carolina are launching a statewide effort to educate voters about the high stakes of the Democratic primary for Wake County District Attorney. The ACLU is nonpartisan and does not support, oppose, or endorse candidates. The goal of this campaign is to inform voters on the candidates’ positions and their direct impact on the lives of Wake County residents and all North Carolinians.    

“We felt compelled to get involved in this election because there is much at stake for civil liberties, civil rights, and vulnerable communities at this time,” said Chantal Stevens, executive director with the ACLU of NC. “The elected district attorney has arguably become the most powerful decision-maker in the criminal legal system, whether it’s deciding to prosecute individuals for marijuana possession or sending children to prison for life.” 

The ACLU will spend approximately $200,000 to inform the public about the stakes of this election. Through voter outreach and education work -- including mail, texts, calls, and digital ads -- the ACLU will reach over 50,000 voters throughout Wake County to educate and mobilize them on the public positions of Democratic primary candidates Lorrin Freeman and Damon Chetson. There are no other political parties holding primaries for district attorney in Wake County in 2022.   

The ACLU of NC sent a questionnaire to the Democratic candidates, asking their views on key issues related to our criminal legal system, including their position on prosecuting people for personal drug use, sentencing child defendants to life in prison, condemning people with severe mental illness to death, and prosecuting 10- and 11-year-old children in court.  

“The elected district attorney plays a powerful role in the Wake County community and state legislature,” said Kristie Puckett-Williams, the deputy director for engagement and mobilization at the ACLU of NC. “Whether it’s pursuing lifetime prison sentences for children or convictions for small marijuana offenses—all of which disproportionately affect the Black community— we want voters to hold the district attorney accountable. By being informed about these candidates, together we can make a step toward transforming Wake County for the better.”   

The North Carolina Primary Election is on May 17th, 2022.