Early Voting For Sheriff Concludes

Early voting is closed for Orange County’s next sheriff as 298 residents cast their ballots on Friday, and 282 voted on Saturday taking the total to 1,519 for early voting.

Saturday, Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin told WCHL that he organized about 100 citizens to join him in voting early, and led the caravan from Chapel Hill to Hillsborough.

Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell are in the runoff for the position after the two were separated by just more than 60 votes in the May 6 Primary. Since neither received more than 40 percent of the vote, the second-place finisher—Caldwell—was able to call for the runoff.

Only the Board of Elections Headquarters took votes in the early voting process because of the historically low turnout for runoffs. However, all 44 precincts open on Election Day, Tuesday, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Candidate Profiles

Charles Blackwood

David Caldwell

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-sheriff-concludes/

Early Voting Thursday Check-In

Voting numbers remained flat Thursday as 156 Orange County residents cast their ballots early for the next sheriff.

Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell are in a runoff for the position after the two were separated by just more than 60 votes in the May 6 Primary. Since neither received more than 40 percent of the vote, the second-place finisher—Caldwell—was able to call for the runoff.

Only the Board of Elections Headquarters is taking votes in the early voting process because of the historically low turnout for runoffs. All 44 precincts will be open on Election Day, July 15.

The polls open each day this week from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Election Day is July 15, and all the polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Orange County Board of Elections is located at 208 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough next to Orange County Financial Services.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-thursday-check/

Caldwell Confident In Sheriff Runoff Home Stretch

Orange County Sheriff Candidate David Caldwell says he’s feeling good about what he calls a “history-making election” in the upcoming second primary for the office, despite the typical low voter turnout for runoff races.

David Caldwell

David Caldwell

“The intensity is unbelievable,” Caldwell says. “The amount of people that are involved and more informed has really blown me away.”

That’s Orange County Sheriff candidate David Caldwell, comparing the first six-way Democratic primary for Orange County Sheriff back in May and the runoff election between himself and Charles Blackwood that comes up on July 15.

Nearly 6,000 voters cast ballots in the early-voting period leading up to that May primary, which could have determined the next person to take the job, since there are no Republicans running.

But no clear winner emerged. Blackwood received the most votes at 30 percent, but 40 percent was needed to avoid a runoff, and Caldwell was only a little more than 60 votes behind him.

Blackwood recently expressed concerns to WCHL that low-voter turnout in the runoff could spell trouble for his campaign.

Caldwell, however, told WCHL that he is optimistic after two days of early voting had been completed, and 481 votes had been cast at the Orange County Board of Elections office in Hillsborough.

He said that’s actually more than he expected, which is one of the reasons Caldwell said he feels so hopeful.

“I think this is going to surprise a lot of people,” Caldwell says. “I don’t think it’s going to be as low as they think. It’s going to be a history-making election.”

For another thing, he said, it will mark the first time residents have voted for a new sheriff in 31 years.

If elected, Caldwell would be the first African-American Orange County Sheriff in a history of the office that dates back to 1752.

“Another history-making event that makes this election so important,” Caldwell says. “I think that’s one of the reasons so many people are excited about it. It’s just going to be history-making all around.”

Retiring Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass has endorsed Blackwood, who began his career in the Sheriff’s Department in 1980 under Sheriff “Buck” Knight.

Caldwell is a lifelong Orange County resident who’s worked for the Carrboro Police Department, in addition to 22 years with the Sheriff’s Department. Between those two jobs, he served in the Army, in Germany and Grenada.

He told WCHL that his love for Orange County is what kept him coming back, and it’s what drives him in this race.

“Many people in my neighborhood that I grew up with and went to school with, they left Orange County and didn’t come back because they thought there was no opportunity, there was nothing here for them, and things of that nature,” Caldwell says. “I’d like to see Orange County be a place where the families did come back and did stay.”

Caldwell has picked up an endorsement from former primary opponent Andy Cagle. For a list of all of Caldwell’s endorsements, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/sheriff-runoff-home-stretch-caldwell-confident/

Day One: Nearly 300 Vote Early For Sheriff

Nearly 300 people cast their vote on the first day of early voting, showing the one-race election carries as much importance as you might expect.

Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell are in a runoff for Orange County Sheriff. Because no Republicans filed before the May 6 Primary, one of those men will take the place of Lindy Pendergrass, who has served in that role for 32 years.

Only the Board of Elections Headquarters is taking votes in the early voting process because of the historically low turnout for runoffs. All 44 precincts will be open on Election Day, July 15.

Comparing day one of this early voting period to day one of the Primary in May, 180 fewer voters cast their ballot on Thursday. The polls were closed Friday due to the July 4 holiday.

The polls open again Monday at 9:00 a.m.; they’ll be opened each day this week until 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Election Day is July 15, and all the polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/day-one-nearly-300-vote-early-sheriff/

No Early Voting Friday

Don’t travel to Hillsborough Friday to place your vote for Orange County Sheriff.

Early voting for the runoff election is closed Friday for the July 4 holiday. The polls open again Monday at 9:00 a.m.; they’ll be opened each day next week until 5:00 p.m. They’ll open next Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Election Day is July 15, and all 44 precincts will open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-friday/

In Forum, Sheriff Candidates Find Common Ground

With early voting getting underway Thursday and Election Day itself just two weeks away, the two remaining candidates for Orange County Sheriff met at WCHL studios Wednesday for a forum that featured more agreement than disagreement.

Longtime law enforcement officers (and longtime colleagues) Charles Blackwood and David Caldwell were the top two vote-getters in the May primary; they’re facing each other in a runoff this month because neither got more than 40 percent of the vote. Technically the race is only for the Democratic nomination, but no Republicans are running, so the winner of the runoff on July 15 will be unopposed in November.

Visit the Orange County Board of Elections website for voting information, including early voting information.

In Wednesday’s forum, the strongest point of departure may have been on the issue of diversity. Caldwell called for stronger efforts to recruit a more diverse body of law enforcement officers, while Blackwood argued that the sheriff’s office already has a diverse staff – but even there, both candidates agreed on the need to recruit a diverse pool of officers, and the fact that diversity alone isn’t sufficient without an effort to make personal connections with the community.

Visit Caldwell’s campaign site.

Visit Blackwood’s campaign site.

And both candidates agreed as well on the need for more community outreach, closer collaboration with Orange County’s other law enforcement agencies, and – in an emotional exchange – the continued presence of school resource officers (SROs) in the public schools.

“The safety factor is the primary issue,” said Blackwood of SROs, “but the byproduct of this is, you’ve got a mentor for that student, for that child, that they may not have at home.”

Caldwell agreed. “I think we need to see more in there…not just (in) the security aspect, but being there when school is not in,” he said. “Not when you have your badge and uniform on, but being there when they’re relaxed. You’ll find they come to you with their problems.”

Listen to Part 1 of the forum, in which the candidates discuss their background, the legacy of outgoing sheriff Lindy Pendergrass, and issues ranging from drug control to domestic violence to response times to technology.

Listen to Part 2 of the forum, in which the candidates discuss community outreach efforts, collaborating with other agencies, the sheriff’s role in the public schools, crime prevention, diversity, disaster preparedness, and how to manage a busy department.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/forum-sheriff-candidates-find-common-ground/

Let The Voting Begin

The polls are open.

Close to 6,000 people cast their ballots early, showing increased interest in this mid-term election with tight local and national battles.

Click Here For Voting Information (Find Your Precinct)

Tune in to 97.9 FM WCHL Tuesday for exclusive election coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. Ron Stutts will be joined by Aaron Keck and Elizabeth Friend as well as special guests: Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Orange County Democratic Chair Matt Hughes, and Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen.

WCHL will bring you the numbers live once the polls close at 7:30 p.m. You can also stay up to date on all the races with our Election Central. And, tweet about the races using #2014OCPrimary and follow @WCHL and @Chapelboro on Twitter for all the latest.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/let-voting-begin/

Early Voting Final

The final day of early voting was by far the most popular as more than 1100 people cast their ballots.

In all, close to 6,000 people voted early for the Primary Election, which takes place Tuesday. The early voting results will be the first to be posted by the Board of Elections, which go live with the absentee ballots at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when the polls close.

The most popular location for early voting this year was the Board of Elections headquarters in Hillsborough. It saw more than 1800 ballots cast. The Seymour Senior Center came in second with 1,677, and Carrboro Town Hall came in third with 1,512.

The North Carolina Hillel Center, which was the closest voting location to campus, only saw 504 votes cast and Master’s Garden only saw 204 votes in the nine-day early voting period.

The Orange County Sheriff race could see a runoff election if the person with the most votes doesn’t receive more than 40 percent of the votes. However, if he does, he will most likely win the Sheriff’s seat since there are no Republican opponents on the ballot.

The other seats that have only seen Democrats declare are the Orange County Board of Commissioners At-Large and District 2 chairs, Register of Deeds, and four Orange County School Board seats. The Carrboro Board of Aldermen special election is also taking place Tuesday.

Voting Information

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-final/

Early Voting Update

More than 1,000 people cast their ballots early on Monday and Tuesday, and the numbers continue to rise.

The Orange County Board of Elections headquarters continues to be the most popular location as more than 215 votes were cast there each day. On Monday, 587 total votes were cast in Orange County while Tuesday saw 591 voters make their picks.

The North Carolina Hillel Center has been a point of focus as it is the closest location to students. The numbers have only eclipsed 50 votes one day, but it’s not the worst location this early-voting season. Master’s Garden has not seen more than 23 votes cast in any single day and has not yet eclipsed the century mark.

Early voting continues through Saturday. For location information, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/early-voting-update/

APRIL FOOLS: Ellie Kinnaird Write-In Candidate For OC Sheriff?

There is no known campaign to place Ellie Kinnaird on the November ballot as a write-in candidate. Did this year’s April Fools story get you? Do you remember last year’s story? A special thank you to Commissioner Mark Dorosin for playing along and to Ellie Kinnaird for being such a good sport in our annual prank.

Ellie called the WCHL newsroom Tuesday morning after hearing the story and said, "you left one thing out: I'd look good in the uniforms!"

Ellie called the WCHL newsroom Tuesday morning after hearing the story and said, “you left one thing out: I’d look good in the uniforms!”

CARRBORO – Six men are vying to be Orange County’s next sheriff, and with no Republican challenger, most assume the contest will be decided in the Democratic primary next month. But a grassroots campaign to get a write-in candidate on the ballot in November is drawing attention county-wide.

“I think Ellie would make a great sheriff. I think she would bring to Orange County law enforcement the same kind of tough but fair-minded attitude she brought to both Carrboro and the General Assembly,” said Commissioner Mark Dorosin, responding to word that some are trying to draft former Carrboro Mayor and North Carolina Senator Ellie Kinnaird for the job as the county’s top law enforcement officer.

Dorosin says Kinnaird would likely bring significant changes to the department.

“The quality of the food served in the jail would improve, everything would be organic from the Carrboro Farmers Market, as well as I think you’d see the sheriff’s vehicles all switched to bio-diesel and the prison buses run on natural gas.”

After eight and a half terms in the General Assembly, Kinnaird stepped down from the state senate last year to pursue voter-outreach efforts, but supporters say they want to see Kinnaird take a more hands-on approach to bringing justice to Orange County. They’re mounting a campaign to collect enough signatures from registered voters to get Kinnaird’s name on the November ballot as a write-in candidate.

It’s not clear that Kinnaird herself has endorsed the campaign; she could not be reached for comment on this story.

Kinnaird has no law enforcement experience, but she holds a law degree and has served on the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety. During her time in the General Assembly, she gained a reputation as a tough negotiator, an attitude Dorosin says would serve her well as sheriff.

“You’d see a strong reduction in crime with Ellie as sheriff. She will take no nonsense.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/election/april-fools-ellie-kinnaird-write-candidate-oc-sheriff/