North Carolina Voters Approve $2 Billion Connect NC Bond

North Carolinians voted to approve the Connect NC bond in Tuesday’s primary.

The $2 billion dollar bond will fund investments in the UNC system, community colleges, state parks, National Guard Facilities and water and sewage utilities. Those investments include a new Medical Education Building at UNC and improvements to Jordan Lake State Park and Eno River State Park.

The bond received support from both Democrats and Republicans ahead of the referendum.

The two billion dollar proposal would be the first general obligation bond in 15 years with the purpose of improving the state’s infrastructure.

Pat McCrory pitched the bond to UNC and Chapel Hill leaders in February. McCrory has said that the bond will not result in any new taxes and tax increases.

Opponents of the bond said it would leave debt to future generations.

View all of the Connect NC Bond projects.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on the passage of the bond:

“I am so grateful to North Carolina’s voters for supporting higher education in such a wonderful way. It is a strong endorsement for the importance of having the very best facilities at Carolina to train more North Carolina doctors for our state.”

UNC System President Margaret Spellings released this statement Tuesday:

“This is a great day for the UNC system and all of North Carolina. We are grateful to the voters for approving the Connect NC Bond package and for their demonstration of support and confidence in our public University and community colleges. North Carolina is known for its longstanding commitment to public higher education, and the economic return on that investment has been tremendous. Today—at the ballot box—our citizens reaffirmed that historic commitment. With their votes, they said that higher education must continue to help meet the needs of the state and to open the doors of economic opportunity for their children and grandchildren.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/north-carolina-voters-approve-2-billion-bond

Remember Your Voter ID! But Why?

The 2016 primary election is the first in North Carolina where you’ll be required to show a valid ID in order to vote. (You can vote without one if there’s a “reasonable impediment” preventing you from obtaining one, but you’ll have to go through some red tape if that’s the case.)

Legislators say the voter-ID provision is designed to prevent voter fraud, and there’s something to be said for having safeguards in place. But is the cure worse than the disease? There have only been a handful of cases in North Carolina where an individual has tried passing themselves off as somebody else in order to vote – only two cases this century, in fact, out of about 35 million votes cast.

And the voter ID provision will make it demonstrably more difficult for many North Carolinians to vote. How many? Perhaps as many as half a million, a disproportionate number of which are black, female, and either young or elderly. Evidence is still unclear on the specific effect of voter ID laws on turnout, but there’s growing evidence that it does have a negative effect. (This in turn tends to benefit Republican candidates, and voter ID opponents argue that that’s the whole purpose of the law in the first place.)

More information on voter ID and turnout here

….and a lot more here.

So what should North Carolina do, when it comes to voting and voting restrictions? Orange County conservative Ashley DeSena and WCHL’s Aaron Keck (a progressive) discussed the issue on the air this week. (Both are skeptical of voter ID. Keck likes Oregon’s law that automatically registers you to vote when you turn 18, without your having to do anything; DeSena goes further, wondering why ‘registration’ is even necessary in the first place.)

Listen to their conversation.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/remember-your-voter-id-but-why

2016 Election: BOCC At-Large Candidates Talk Issues

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.

Three of those nine candidates – Mark Marcoplos, Matt Hughes, and Andy Cagle – are competing for the at-large seat being vacated by outgoing Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier. Which candidate should get your vote? What do the candidates have to say about the future of Orange County?

On Monday, WCHL’s Aaron Keck welcomed Marcoplos, Hughes and Cagle to the studio for an informal, hour-long conversation about Orange County’s biggest issues.

Listen to the forum.

 

Last week, WCHL also hosted informal forums for the four candidates running for two seats representing District 1 and the two candidates running for a seat representing District 2.

Listen to the District 1 forum here.

Listen to the District 2 forum here.

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

http://chapelboro.com/featured/2016-election-bocc-at-large-candidates-talk-issues

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.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/2016-election-price-hauser-vie

McCrory Pitches $2 Billion Bond in Chapel Hill

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was in Chapel Hill on Wednesday pitching the $2 billion bond proposal that will be on the March primary ballots across North Carolina.

A crowd that included Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, members of the North Carolina General Assembly and local county commissioners gathered at the Center for School Leadership Development next to the Friday Center on Wednesday as McCrory continued to tout the upcoming bond proposal.

Pat McCrory discussing the Connect NC Bond. Photo via Blake Hodge.

Pat McCrory discussing the Connect NC Bond. Photo via Blake Hodge.

McCrory said the bond is important for North Carolina’s future as the state continues to grow.

“Do we prepare for it, or do we react to it,” McCrory asked. “And I’m convinced you have to prepare. Those people who react, lose.”

North Carolina passed 10 million residents in late 2015 and is now the ninth most populous state in the nation.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt called this bond proposal a “partnership” between state leadership in Raleigh, community colleges and universities in the state and North Carolinians. Folt said this bond is badly needed to fund projects that will make a positive impact, pointing out that it has been 15 years since the last statewide bond.

“Probably everyone remembers it, but North Carolina passed the largest capital bond issued for higher education in the history of the United States,” Folt said. “And that was the last bond. That was the largest one in the country.

“I didn’t live here. I knew all about it. This made waves everywhere. It was of immense consequence. Other states, they were all looking at this.”

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt discussing the Connect NC Bond. Photo via Blake Hodge.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt discussing the Connect NC Bond. Photo via Blake Hodge.

Folt said that bond 15 years ago improved the entire higher education system in North Carolina and, in turn, the state as a whole.

McCrory said there were three strategies behind the bond: to keep up with population growth, to restore a crumbling infrastructure and to borrow while interest rates remain historically low.

McCrory continues to call the proposal a “sound financial model” as he says the multibillion-dollar proposal will not require a tax increase.

“Because we have not had a bond in 15 years, and those bonds are now being paid off,” McCrory said.

He added, “The debt from bonds will be less in five years than it is today, with the approval of this $2 billion in bonds.”

McCrory said that there was even room to borrow more money. At a UNC Board of Trustees meeting in November House Representative Dean Arp told the board the bond did not include more funding because lawmakers did not want to risk the bond not getting the approval of North Carolina voters.

A map of the Connect NC Bond projects. Photo via Blake Hodge.

A map of the Connect NC Bond projects. Photo via Blake Hodge.

The bond proposal covers wide-ranging issues, including the 17-campus university system, community colleges, parks and infrastructure.

At UNC, the bond money will be used to provide a new facility for the School of Medicine.

McCrory said he is proud of the bipartisan support the bond proposal has received.

Some have questioned whether the bond package is politically motivated during an election cycle that is expected to see a tight race for Governor between McCrory seeking a second term and a Democratic challenger, very likely to be Attorney General Roy Cooper. Other groups are urging voters to vote against the bond and to fund the projects on a pay-as-you-go plan rather than taking on debt.

North Carolinians will decide on whether to approve the $2 billion bond package during the March primary.

Get more information on the Connect NC Bond and the projects that would be funded.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/mccrory-pitches-2-billion-bond-in-chapel-hill

Voter Registration Deadline Is Friday

Friday is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming primary election on March 15.

If you are registering for the first time or updating your information, you can find that form here. The form must be filled out and postmarked or received by your local board of elections or the State Board of Elections by this Friday, February 19.

Voters will choose their party representative for the general election races in November. North Carolina has a semi-open primary process, which means unaffiliated voters can vote in any one party’s primary but registered party members must vote in their respective party’s primary. Voter will choose their party’s representative for President, Governor and Senate.

Voters will also vote “for” or “against” the Connect NC Public Improvement Bond. Most of the $2 billion bond will goes towards the UNC system, improving the water and sewage system and funding for state parks.

This year will also be the first year North Carolina will require a photo ID to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are a NC Driver License, a US passport, a military ID, a veteran ID, and certain tribal identification cards. If you do not have one of these IDs then you can still vote if you sign a form saying you have a reasonable impediment, such as a lack of paperwork or proper transportation.

If you want to mail-in your vote, you can request an absentee ballot online or receive one during early voting. Absentee ballots must be received by March 8. No photo ID is required to cast an absentee ballot.

Same-day registration will be available during the early voting period from March 3-12. To vote on the day of the actual primary, March 15, you must register by Friday.

According to the State Board of Elections, only 35% of registered voters in North Carolina voted in the last presidential primary in 2012.

http://chapelboro.com/news/voter-registration-deadline-is-friday

5 to 4 Votes Are Healthy For Chapel Hill

Raleigh Mann

Raleigh Mann

Before moving to Chapel Hill 38 years ago, I was a newspaper reporter in south Florida.

Have you driven there lately?

The weather is still great, but the beauty is harder to find.  Over-development squashed it years ago.

But, I learned a lot as a covered the deliberations of those city leaders who struggled to deal with developers who saw dollar signs on every empty lot.

“I’d never want to be in their shoes,” I told myself.

It’s a thankless job.

We all owe a large debt of thanks to those who have served Chapel Hill for years, but who lost their seats in this past election.

It is a tough job.

Why do people run for public office?

Well, many reasons.  But, if we read the campaign websites of those who recently got elected to Chapel Hill’s Town Council, it’s clear why our local election turned out as it did.

Chapel Hill residents desperately want their voices heard.  Some of us have the quaint idea that council members who represent us should actually listen to and consider our concerns.

Mayor-elect Pam Hemminger said that too often the mayor and council dismissed residents with legitimate concerns as anti-development or afraid of change.  Thoughtful input for task forces and advisory boards is ignored.

New council member Jessica Anderson wants to promote smart development by listening to residents and advisory boards and prioritizing the interest of local residents over those of developers and investors.

Nancy Oates wants to restore trust and accountability.  And I quote her, “So all of us who care about Chapel Hill can live our lives without having to worry about what council members are doing to our town.”

Michael Parker says that he wants to insure that our town government works for and is responsive to the needs of all its residents.

Donna Bell, the only incumbent voters returned to the council. is proud of her work to develop more affordable housing in Chapel Hill.

Don’t expect these new council members to take over the castle exactly, but you can bet that their voices, and maybe ours too, will be heard.

We’ll see more 5 to 4 votes and that’s healthy.

 

Raleigh Mann

 

http://chapelboro.com/columns/the-commentators/5-to-4-votes-are-healthy-for-chapel-hill

2015 Election Results

Here are the 2015 election results for the races for Chapel Hill mayor, Chapel Hill Town Council, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, Carrboro Mayor, Carrboro Board of Aldermen, Hillsborough mayor, Hillsborough Board of Commissioners, and Chapel Hill referenda.

We have more detailed coverage on the 2015 election results here.  It was a rough night for incumbents in Chapel Hill.  But, it was a good night for incumbents in Carrboro and Hillsborough.

2015 Election Results

 

Chapel Hill Mayor
Candidate Votes Percent
Pam Hemminger✔  4,878  54.01%
Gary Kahn  84  0.93%
Mark Kleinschmidt 4,053  44.88%
Write-in 16  0.17%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Chapel Hill Town Council(Elect 4 seats)
Candidate Votes Percent
Jessica Anderson✔ 5,318  16.98%
Donna C. Bell✔ 4,485  14.32%
Adam W. Jones 906  2.89%
Paul M. Neebe 771  2.46%
Nancy C. Oates✔ 4,449  14.20%
Michael Parker✔ 4,186 13.37%
David Alan Schwartz 3,890  12.42%
Lee Storrow 3,147  10.04%
Jim Ward 4,063  12.97%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board of Education(Elect 4 seats)
Candidate Votes Percent
Joal Hall Broun  3,996  11.19%
Rani Dasi✔  6,989  19.57%
Gregg Gerdau 1,587  4.44%
Pat Heinrich✔  4,445  12.45%
Margaret Samuels✔  5,618  15.73%
David Saussy  3,312  9.28%
Annetta Streater✔  5,369  15.04%
Theresa Watson 4,237  11.87%

(Precincts Reported: 29 of 29)

 

Carrboro Mayor
Candidate Votes Percent
 Lydia E. Lavelle✔ 1,746 96.36%
Write-In 66 3.64%

(Precincts Reported: 8 of 8)

 

Carrboro Board of Aldermen(Elect 3 Seats)
Candidate Votes Percent
 Bethany E. Chaney✔  1,585 32.65%
Michelle Johnson✔  1,635  32.65%
Damon Seils✔  1,562 32.18%
Write-In 72 1.48%

(Precincts Reported: 8 of 8)

 

Hillsborough Mayor
Candidate Votes Percent
 Tom Stevens✔ 677 94.55%
Write-In 39 5.45%

(Precincts Reported: 4 of 4)

 

Hillsborough Town Commissioner(Elect 3 Seats)
Candidate Votes Percent
 Mark Bell✔ 602  28.41%
Ashley DeSena  167 7.88%
Evelyn P. Lloyd✔  618 29.16%
Brian Lowen✔  611 28.41%
Cindy Lee Talisman  116 5.47%
Write-In 5 0.24%

(Precincts Reported: 4 of 4)

 

Chapel Hill Referenda

Bonds For Streets and Sidewalks
Candidate Votes Percent
 Yes✔  6,852 79.24%
 No  1,795 20.76%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Bonds For Trails And Greenways
Candidate Votes Percent
 Yes✔  6,896  78.22%
 No  1,920 21.78%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Bonds For Recreational Facilities
Candidate Votes Percent
 Yes✔  6,356 73.18%
 No  2,329  26.82%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Bonds For Solid Waste Facilities
Candidate Votes Percent
 Yes✔  7,050 80.60%
 No  1,695 19.38%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

 

Bonds For Stormwater Improvements
Candidate Votes Percent
 Yes✔ 7,101 81.77%
 No 1,583 18.23%

(Precincts Reported: 23 of 23)

http://chapelboro.com/news/2015-election-results

Chapel Hill Mayoral Candidates Get Out The Vote

It’s been a highly contentious local election season (to say the least), but with Election Day looming, Chapel Hill’s three mayoral candidates do agree on one thing: everyone should get to the polls and vote.

Incumbent mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and challenger Pam Hemminger are running neck-and-neck: in the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, Hemminger has a six-point lead (43-37), but nearly 20 percent of Chapel Hill voters say they’re still undecided. (Another 2 percent support longshot challenger Gary Kahn.) With the race that close, turnout is going to play a major role: turnout for Chapel Hill municipal elections is typically only around 15 percent, so the candidate who wins is going to be the candidate who gets his or her supporters to the polls.

In the midst of the early voting period, WCHL invited Kleinschmidt, Hemminger, and Kahn to the studio to get the vote out together and make their final pitches to Chapel Hill voters. Kleinschmidt and Kahn joined Aaron Keck on the air Monday; Hemminger was ill that day, but joined Aaron later in the week.

Listen to Mark Kleinschmidt and Gary Kahn:

 

Listen to Pam Hemminger:

 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Polls are open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. (Photo ID is not required to vote this year – though poll workers may ask if you have a photo ID, to make sure you’re ready for 2016 when the photo ID requirement kicks in.)

The nine-day early voting period ended on Saturday afternoon. There was a major spike in early-voting turnout in the final days: about 300 people showed up to the polls on each of the first six days, but 483 people turned out on day 7 (Thursday) and 642 people turned out on day 8 (Friday). In all, more than 3,000 people turned out for early voting in Orange County; once Saturday’s turnout is added to the total, it’ll likely be more than 3,500 and possibly as many as 4,000. For comparison’s sake: only about 2,000 voters turned out for early voting in Orange County in the 2013 municipal election – but about 4,000 did turn out for early voting in the previous municipal election, 2011.

Early voting turnout numbers here.

 

http://chapelboro.com/featured/chapel-hill-mayoral-candidates-get-out-the-vote

Meet Pittsboro, CHCCS Candidates In Forums Thursday

Election Day is approaching! Come learn about the candidates at a pair of forums on Thursday, September 24, both hosted by the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham, and Chatham Counties.

The first is for Pittsboro voters: the LWV is hosting a forum for Pittsboro mayoral and town council candidates from 6-8 pm in the auditorium of the Agriculture Building at 65 East Chatham Street. (You’l be able to register to vote at the forum too.)

The second is for Chapel Hill/Carrboro voters: a forum for CHCCS school board candidates from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

LWV Voter Services chair Krishna Mondal joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to discuss the two forums.

 

For more information on the two forums or on the League of Women Voters, visit LWVODC.org.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/meet-pittsboro-chccs-candidates-in-forums-thursday