Yes, independents can vote in the primary in North Carolina.
North Carolina does have a semi-open primary meaning that independents can vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary. Currently North Carolina has 2.6 million registered Democrats, 1.9 million registered Republicans and 1.2 million non-partisans. (RightPundits.com)
Independent voters can participate in the primary, and Ace Smith, state director for the Clinton campaign, predicted Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama would split those votes evenly. “We were getting destroyed with independents in all those early primaries,” Mr. Smith said Friday. (New York Times)
North Carolina's high percentage of African-American residents -- 21.7 percent -- may help Obama, who easily defeated Clinton in neighboring South Carolina by attracting much of the African-American vote. (CNN)