Orange County Asks, What Amendment?

In the statewide vote, Amendment One passed easily with 61% of the vote. However, Orange County overwhelmingly rejected the amendment by a vote of 79% to 21%. (Our neighbors in Durham County likewise voted 70% to 30% against the amendment.) Some precincts in Carrboro and Chapel Hill voted against the amendment almost unanimously. The map below shows the Orange County precinct-level results of the referendum. The results are presented as the ratio of votes against the amendment to votes for the amendment.

The map is based on unofficial results from the Orange County Board of Elections. Important disclaimer: Because of the large number of early votes, the map is inaccurate to the extent that early voters made different choices than people who voted on Election Day. In the Amendment One referendum, early voters constituted more than 36% of the electorate, and more than 87% of them voted against the referendum. It is likely that some precincts were disproportionately represented in the early vote. (See, for example, the precinct-level early-voter turnout in the 2009 Chapel Hill municipal election.) We won't know for sure until the early votes are apportioned to their precincts.

Thirty-eight of the county's 44 precincts went against the amendment. Most notably, almost 95% of voters in the Town Hall precinct in Carrboro and the East Franklin precinct in Chapel Hill voted against on Election Day. Majorities in 7 precincts supported the amendment, including nearly 60% of voters in the Caldwell and Tolars precincts in northeastern Orange County.

The immediate fate of domestic partner benefits for public employees in Orange County is now in the hands of the county commissioners, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, and the Chapel Hill Town Council. All 3 of these bodies adopted resolutions against Amendment One, and all 3 offer benefits to same-sex partners of government employees. (Carrboro was the first municipality in North Carolina to offer these benefits.)

The News & Observer reported today that Orange County has stated the amendment will have no immediate impact on the county's domestic partner benefits. Commissioner-elect Mark Dorosin, who led the race for county commissioner in district 1 yesterday, campaigned in part on a pledge to resist any change in the county's policies should Amendment One pass.


Ratio of Votes Against to Votes For the Amendment

View Larger Map


Candidate Mark Dorosin on Amendment One

Total votes: 20


I was thinking last night that Carrboro's "Town Hall" precinct might well have been the highest percentage "Against" out of all the precincts in the state.  My Town Hall voted 94% Against to 6% For.  That's my precinct!But I needed check no further than Chapel Hill to find that East Franklin went 94.7% Against to 5.3% For.  I could see Joe Herzenberg's gleeful grin from beyond the grave as I realized last night.  Joe's (late) precinct, East Franklin had edged out my precinct Town Hall by 0.7%.Until someone shows me some better numbers, I am going to assume that East Franklin is therefore the single most Anti-Amendment One precinct in the state.

East Franklin at 94.74% beat out Duke West Campus early voting site which had 94.73%. We do not yet have a total for Rams Head (all five sites are lumped in together by the OCBoE so far), and we will get the real precinct numbers in about a month when all the totals statewide are allocated back out to the precincts.

and the precinct which you will see mentioned in Barry Yeoman's upcoming column on the Amendment One issue in the Indy, was Durham County's "School of the Arts" precinct, with 94.62%. It has neighborhoods that joined southern Orange Co. in backing George McGovern in 1972, and which haven't let up since: Trinity Park and Burch Avenue. Also includes the West Village "adapted re-use" warehouse district, and the lively Brightleaf Square area. When Chapel Hill gets more adults living in the West Franklin zone, we'll easily match it.  The West End restaurants easily do so now.  Ed Harrison

Finally got the early vote breakout by site, listed below is % NO on the amendmentRams Head 95.08%Carrboro Town Hall 95.06%Seymour 89.60%Mt Zion AME 76.02%BoE Office 66.27%coming in close behind Rams Head and Carrboro TH: East Franklin election day at 94.74% and Duke West Campus early voting site at 94.73%.  We will get the real precinct numbers in about a month when all the totals statewide are allocated back out to the precincts.

Duke has said they're maintaining domestic partnership benefits. As far as i can tell, though, UNC has maintained a studied silence on the matter. Has anyone heard anything?

Clarification on Duke's domestic partnership benefits, its only available if you are gay. For a man and woman not married and living together it is not available.

That's correct. Duke uses the term "same-sex spousal equivalent" for its domestic partner benefits. 

UNC does not offer domestic partner benefits and never has. I would imagine they have not wanted to battle the state legislature over it, but I have always been embarrassed that our state's flagship university, which attracts faculty, staff, and students from all over the world, has not pushed harder on this issue. I know for a fact that UNC has lost some valuable potential employees because they don't offer DP benefits. It's time for UNC to take a stand on this, don't yall think?Elizabeth Waugh-Stewart

Oh, I didn't realize. They do for some things (life insurance, for example) but not for the big one of medical care. Would be interesting to hear something from them. That's a serious disincentive for people to work there, particularly given UNC's global ambitions.

While they don't offer full benefits, a friend of mine who is an LGBT faculty member tells me that there is dental insurance (but not medical) available for same-sex partners.  I'm sure that will be gone soon.Unfortunately, UNC is hamstrung by the Legislature on this matter and cannot set their own policies as their employees are state employees.  No one there wants to speak up and trigger a retaliatory budget cut.Catherine Adamson 

From what I can tell, Orange County is the only county in North Carolina that voted against the amendment (21-79) by a higher percentage than it went for President Obama (72-27) in 2008:



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This Week in Orange Politics

It'll be a busy week across Orange County this week. The Carrboro Alderfolks will discuss bicycle-friendliness and the Lloyd Farm propery mediation process, while the Chapel Hill Town Council will get an update on UNC-related development. Both school boards will review the student performance data recently released by the state, while the Hillsborough Town Board will get an update on the Colonial Inn. The county commmissioners will meet with the Mebane City Council on public transportation and the Buckhorn EDD, and will get an update on Southern Branch Library in a serperate meeting.

CHALT and the Sierra Club/Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce/WCHL will hold candidate forums for Chapel Hill candidates.

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