Early Voting Ends Saturday

Saturday marks the final day to early vote in the North Carolina primary.

Voters will be choosing their party’s candidates for the general election for the offices of President, US Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Labor Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer and more.

The winners of these primaries will then go on to the general election in November, but there are several items on the ballot that will be the deciding vote.

The $2 billion Connect NC bond referendum is on the March ballot and will either be approved or voted down in the primary.

And the race for Orange County Commissioner will be decided next week as all of the candidates who filed for the board are Democrats.

Voters will choose a replacement for outgoing commissioner Bernadette Pelissier, who has served as vice chair of the board but announced late last year that she would not seek reelection.

Three candidates – Andy Cagle, Matt Hughes and Mark Marcoplos – are running to replace Pelissier’s at-large seat and represent voters from all of Orange County. Listen to the at-large candidate forum.

Both district races have challengers for this year’s incumbent slate.

Two seats will be voted on in District 1. Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich are running for reelection, while Jamezetta Bedford and Gary Kahn are challenging for a seat on the board. Listen to the District 1 candidate forum.

And the District 2 race places incumbent Renee Price against Bonnie Hauser. Listen to the District 2 candidate forum.

Three seats are up for election to full terms on the Orange County School Board, and three candidates filed for election.

However, two candidates – John D. Hamilton and Michael H. Hood – are running for one unexpired term. Voters will choose one to fill the seat that runs through 2018.

Same-day registration is available during the early-voting period. There are six early-voting locations in Orange County and the polls will be open from nine o’clock on Saturday until one o’clock in the afternoon for the final day of early voting.

After a federal court struck down North Carolina’s Congressional district map, a new filing period will open for candidates running for the US House of Representatives after the March primary.

North Carolinians will vote in a new Congressional primary on June 7.


2016 Election: Price, Hauser Vie For BOCC District 2

Early voting is underway now for the 2016 primary election, with a number of key races on the ballot. There’s the presidential race, the Senate race, and the “Connect NC” bond proposal – and at the local level, there are also four open seats on the Orange County Board of Commissioners, with nine candidates in the running. (All nine candidates are Democrats, so the BOCC races will be decided in the primary: whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be running unopposed in November.)

Find your Orange County early voting sites here.

Two of those nine candidates are competing for a seat representing Orange County’s District 2, covering Hillsborough and unincorporated Orange County. Incumbent Renee Price is seeking her second term on the board; challenging her is Bonnie Hauser.

Which candidate should get your vote? What do the candidates have to say about the future of Orange County?

On Friday, WCHL’s Aaron Keck welcomed Price and Hauser to the studio for an informal, hour-long conversation about Orange County’s biggest issues. Part 1 of their forum focused on education and economic development; Part 2 focused on housing, transportation, firearm safety and solid waste.

Listen to Part 1.


Listen to Part 2.


Tune into WCHL on Monday at 3 pm, as Aaron hosts the three candidates vying for an at-large seat on the Board: Mark Marcoplos, Matt Hughes, and Andy Cagle.

Earlier this week, Aaron hosted the four candidates running for two open seats representing District 1: Mark Dorosin, Penny Rich, Jamezetta Bedford, and Gary Kahn. Listen to that forum here.

Early voting runs through Saturday, March 12; primary day is Tuesday, March 15.


Early Voting Kicks Off in Chapel Hill

Early voting is now underway for the 2016 primary election.

Members of UNC community and local leaders gathered Thursday to kick off early voting at the Chapel of the Cross right next door to UNC’s campus.

Briana Humes was there to vote for the first time. She was glad she was able to cast her ballot so close to campus.

“This is like way more convenient like we probably would have probably get a ride there and that would have been a whole situation because we don’t have cars or anything,” said Humes.

As someone with a few years until graduation Humes thought it was important to get involved in the local elections.

“Earlier she was saying that this is going to be where are going to be for the next four years since we’re freshman so I think it makes a really big difference,” said Humes.

Taylor Moss agrees with that idea. She is a recent graduate from UNC she is working to educate student voters

“We do explain to students that it’s important to vote where you go to school because you live there for four years so you should be affecting the policy because the policy is affecting you,” said Moss.

With all the excitement surrounding the presidential races, Moss is hoping to inform students about the races on the ballot.

“All of students have an idea about who they are voting for, for president but all else they are either unaware that it’s is on the ballot or haven’t done the research or thought through who they want to vote for, for those other positions,” said Moss.

Early voting near campus could make a big difference for students because the date of the actual primary, March 15, is during spring break.

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger spoke about the importance of young people voting and what kind of values to vote for.

“It’s really important to vote and it’s important for your age group to show up and vote. I hope you vote for people who are more inclined to be more inclusive of everyone and including all groups of people,” said Hemminger.

Early voting will take place at Chapel of Cross and other locations around Orange County until March 12th.


Kick Off Early Voting At Chapel Of The Cross

Thursday, March 3, marks the start of early voting in the 2016 primary election, with six early voting sites in Orange County.

Get the full list of early voting sites here, including hours of operation for each.

Chapel of the Cross on East Franklin Street (next to Morehead Planetarium) is serving as the early-voting site nearest campus. On Thursday at 4 pm, a coalition of UNC students, administrators and community members will host an event at Chapel of the Cross to help kick off the early voting period and get out the vote, especially among UNC students. Everyone’s invited, so come out and join in the event – and if you’re an Orange County resident, it’s also the perfect time to fill out your ballot as well.

Dianne Heath from UNC student government joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Wednesday to discuss the event.


Get more information about the event (as well as more information about your primary ballot) at Facebook.com/TarHeelVote.

Early voting runs through Saturday, March 12. Primary day is Tuesday, March 15.


You Can Vote

The new voting laws cut Early Voting by one week, removed out-of-precinct voting on election day, and require people to bring a specific type of ID to the polls.  Many of the rules are pending Federal Court decision, generating mass confusion in the community on what is and is not required. This is why it is critical to have volunteers out in our communities getting everyone educated and registered so they can successfully cast their ballot this year.

This is where the YOU CAN VOTE campaign comes in. You Can Vote is a grassroots, nonpartisan, volunteer coalition here in the Triangle area. We register people so they CAN vote. We make sure citizens know how to navigate the ID requirements so they CAN vote. We help  voters go to the right polling place so they CAN vote. We help people VOTE BY MAIL so they don’t have to worry about going to the right polling place or having to show photo ID.

A lot of people feel overwhelmed and defeated by the new law. We believe it is our civic duty to find these citizens and to help them participate in our democracy. The more people who participate, the better leaders we will elect. But we need your help.

We can train you or your constituencies to help us find those who will need information on how to successfully vote in 2016.  If you want to help with this effort, please sign up on our website, YOUCANVOTE.ORG.


— Barbara Middleton-Foushee


Endorsements Roll Out As Early Voting Begins

Just in time for voters to head to the polls, the Orange-Chatham chapter of the Sierra Club and the alt weekly publication INDYweek have unveiled their endorsements in the Chapel Hill mayoral and town council races.

The Sierra Club is backing a slate of incumbents, plus first-time candidate Michael Parker. The environmental advocacy group says Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, and council members Donna Bell, Lee Storrow and Jim Ward “have voting records and stated priorities for smart growth, with moderate-density mixed use development that will support walkability and bike-ability, as well as transit improvements.” They also cite Parker’s work on the Planning Commission and support of light rail.

INDYweek took a slightly different tack, endorsing Kleinschmidt, Bell, Ward, Parker, and newcomer Jessica Anderson, but shying away from incumbent Lee Storrow in light of his recent DWI conviction.

Though his legal troubles may have cost him the influential INDY endorsement, Storrow issued a press release citing 32 current and former Orange County elected officials who publicly support his bid for a second term.

The Daily Tar Heel released endorsements on Thursday morning, supporting Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor with Donna Bell, Michael Parker, Lee Storrow and Jim Ward for Town Council.

The early voting period for the 2015 municipal and school board elections kicks off Thursday and runs through October 31. You can find a full list of voting sites and hours here.

University and community leaders are hosting an event at the Chapel of the Cross on East Franklin Street at 5 o’clock Thursday to celebrate the start of early voting.

UNC Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Winston Crisp, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Carolina Student Body President Houston Summers will make brief remarks before casting their ballots. The public is invited to attend.


Early Voting Sites Selected for October

Four sites have been chosen to host early voting for this fall’s municipal elections.

The Orange County Board of Elections has chosen three satellite early-voting sites along with the headquarters in Hillsborough for residents to vote this fall.

Chapel of the Cross, on East Franklin Street, will serve as one voting location. Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow says he is happy the board chose a location close to UNC.

“I’m actually really excited and supportive of this shift to Chapel of the Cross,” he says. “I think it’s a good location. It’s really close to Morehead Planetarium, which several years ago was a very successful early-voting site.

“Unfortunately, because of some renovations and changes in that building, Morehead is no longer available to be an early-voting site.”

Storrow adds this will allow the Carolina community and residents in a higher foot traffic area around Chapel Hill to have an easily accessible site to voice their opinion.

“I think it’s vital that we have a location accessible to the students, faculty, and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill,” he says. “It’s my long-term hope that we can create a consistent site; that it’s not changing every couple of years.

“I think Chapel of the Cross might provide us with that opportunity to create a really consistent site.”

Storrow says recent action by the North Carolina legislature only increases the need for a voting site near campus.

“The General Assembly changed the law several years ago to not allow out-of-precinct voting,” he says. “If we truly care, and want, and expect that all residents of our community are going to participate in the election and have access to participate in the election, means that having an early-voting location that’s either on campus or adjacent to campus is really vital.”

The out-of-precinct voting restriction only applies on Election Day, not to early voting.

Early voting will begin on Thursday, October 22, and finish up on Saturday, October 31. The Board of Elections office in Hillsborough will be open for early voting Monday through Friday from nine o’clock to six o’clock and on both Saturdays from nine o’clock until one in the afternoon.

The satellite locations will be at Chapel of the Cross, Carrboro Town Hall, and the Seymour Center, on Homestead Road. These locations will all be open for voting from noon until seven o’clock Monday through Thursday, noon until six on Friday, and nine until one o’clock on both Saturdays.

Storrow says he is hopeful the 2016 election will include Sunday voting hours.

The ballot this fall will include nine candidates for four seats on the Chapel Hill Town Council, three candidates for Chapel Hill Mayor, eight candidates for four seats on the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School board, and five hopefuls for three seats on the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners.


Early Voting Turnout Way Up From 2010

The early voting period ended on Saturday, with turnout in Orange County significantly higher than in the last midterm in 2010.

After a spike in turnout on the last two days, when all was said and done, a total of 23,195 Orange County residents cast early ballots this year. To put that into perspective: in the last midterm four years ago, about 16,500 voters cast early ballots – and that was when the early voting period was significantly longer.

Saturday saw the highest daily turnout, with 3256 voters casting ballots – including nearly a thousand at the Seymour Center alone. Bad weather often has a negative effect on turnout, but the rain held off for most of the day on Saturday.

Local political expert Gerry Cohen reported on Facebook that turnout was up across the state too: statewide, there was a 25 percent increase in Democratic turnout, a 5 percent increase in Republican turnout, and a 45 percent increase in turnout among Libertarians and unaffiliated voters. And there was also a big spike in turnout among African-American voters: up about 45 percent from 2010.

See a full breakdown of early voting numbers in Orange County.

Election Day itself is Tuesday, November 4.


Early Voting Still Strong In Orange County

If you haven’t voted early yet, you only have a couple more more days.

Early voting continues through Saturday at five locations in Orange County. So far, turnout has been brisk: on Wednesday, 2348 residents cast their ballots early. About the same number of people cast early ballots on Monday and Tuesday as well.

Through the first six days of the nine-day early voting period, Orange County saw 13,939 votes cast. That puts Orange County on track to end the early voting period with close to 21,000 ballots.

View a breakdown of early voting totals in Orange County, by day and location.

To put that into perspective: during the last midterm election, in 2010, only about 16,500 voters cast ballots early in Orange County – and that was with a significantly longer early-voting period.

There are five early voting locations in Orange County: the Board of Elections office in downtown Hillsborough; Master’s Garden Preschool, also in Hillsborough; Carrboro Town Hall; NC Hillel on Cameron Avenue in downtown Chapel Hill, just off campus; and the Seymour Center on Homestead Road.

Click here for a full list of locations and hours of operation.


Early Voting Turnout Still High In OC

Only three days remain for early voting this year, and turnout at the polls is still consistently high in Orange County.

On Tuesday, Day 5 of the early voting period, 2433 Orange County residents cast their ballots – almost exactly the same as Monday’s total. Through the first five days, 11,591 Orange County residents have cast early ballots – putting Orange County on track to end with about 21,000 early votes cast, if the trends hold.

See a complete day-by-day breakdown of votes cast by location.

To put that into perspective: in the last midterm, in 2010, a total of 16,500 Orange County residents cast early ballots.

Early voting continues through Saturday at five locations in Orange County: at the Board of Elections office in Hillsborough; at Master’s Garden Preschool, also in Hillsborough; at the Seymour Center on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill; at NC Hillel in downtown Chapel Hill, on Cameron Avenue just off campus; and at Carrboro Town Hall on Main Street.

For a full list of locations and hours of operation, click here.

Election Day itself is Tuesday, November 4.