Welcome to the jungle

Today UNC student Jason Baker filed to run for Chapel Hill Town Council. I am very excited to see a serious student candidate, something we haven't had here for a few cycles.

It's actually not much of a jungle - yet. Chapel Hill's field of candidates seems pretty tame, at the moment there are only 4 candidates for 4 seats! I'm sure that will change, but so far all of the competitive action is in Carrboro. Anyway, it's a good year for challengers in Chapel Hill...



Joe: No.

But students often don't take advantage of early-voting centers and wait until Election Day to vote -- for better or for worse. And on Election Day, you can't vote at Morehead Planetarium.

That's why student leaders and the DTH editorial page have consistently pushed for SB98 and others like it; if you make it easy for students to vote on Election Day, when the idea of voting is in the public consciousness, at least some of them will cast a ballot. I know so many people who said they would vote in 2003, waited until Election Day and then never made it out to their polling site because they didn't have time.

And yes, I know the idea of "didn't have time" is silly to people who post on OP; but for students, many of whom don't have cars and have to wait on buses to get anywhere off campus, it could take as long as two or three hours to vote. Most students aren't willing to spend that much time. But a half-hour at the Morehead Planetarium between classes? They'll do that.

Of course it's not too difficult to get to Morehead Planeterium, but the idea of voting centers is an intriguing one. It was pioneered by Larimer County Colorado in 2004. Instead of 143 precincts they had 31 voting centers
( I think they also had 10 early voting sites) and had a 93.5% voter turnout. A number of national organizations are also endorsing the concept. It means you can pick any voting center to vote at, the one closest to your work, home, class, shortest line, whatever. While you can report address changes in advance, you can also do that at the voting center and be given the correct ballot. Each voting center will be like an early voting site -- online access to the county voter registration database, and all ballot styles (Orange County has 3 ballot styles in general elections, one for each house district). Voting centers can be ideal when voters move frequently. Senate Bill 98 lets the county choose how many voting centers to open , and Chapel Hill Township (where the SB98 pilot program has chosen) would probably have 10-15 voting centers on election day, rather than the current 29 precincts. The number of early voting sites might increase also. With a myriad of places to vote on election day, it will be less important that every site have lots of parking. For example, there could be two voting site on campus -- Great Hall of the Student Union or Fetzer Gym on North Campus, and perhaps either the new Ramshead Building or the Smith Center on South Campus.

I can't understand UNC student leaders who lament how hard
it is for students to vote. Is it is too difficult to walk ALL THE
WAY TO MOREHEAD PLANETERIUM to vote? It must be ten
miles through waist-deep snow.

I was at the Orange County Board of Election Office this afternoon and watched Jason Baker file. WCHL was also there and interviewed him. He seemed to do very well answering their questions.

It was the first time I had been at the county elections office in Hillsborough since 1991. Elections Director Carolyn Thomas reminded me of the time while I was on the Town Council when I rode my bicycle from Chapel Hill to the Board Office in Hillsborough. I had long since forgotten that publicity stunt. Carolyn started working there in 1973, the same year I first ran.

I'm excited to join the field. Win or lose, I'm looking forward to this fall and expect this to be an interesting election for both participants and spectators (though I hope "spectators" participate at least to the extent of voting!).

I officially kicked off my campaign today, and I can't wait to really get the ball rolling! As a student candidate, a lot of the folks who agreed to help me out aren't around until classes start back up next month, but I'm already incredibly grateful to all the folks who helped me get this far and who are continuing to offer me their time and advice nearly every day.

To any and all of you who I haven't had the opportunity to meet personally, I hope you'll continue to look at my campaign, ask all the questions you like and tell me what you think. I'd be delighted to earn your support!

Jason has a campaign bio up at

Heads up: Matt Dees reports today in the CHN that Walker Rutherfurd, a May graduate with whom I've had the pleasure of chatting a few times, will file this week.

Walker was quite active in campus politics until he graduated. Hope to see him get the same sort of Web presence Jason has, and to hear what he has to say when he starts campaigning.

I'm also interested to hear Mr. Rutherfurd's pitch for Chapel Hill voters to elect a self-identified Republican.

Well, that's interesting.

And, I would venture, it doesn't bother students as much as it might bother some other folks in the community. I have no proof for that, just intuition based on my own experiences in the last three years.

I'm not saying he, or anyone, could be competitive with just the student vote. But -- and this also applies to any student running -- if you actually do mobilize us lazy college kids to vote for you (what were the numbers in the last election? Less than 500? It was embarrassing), you've got a good head start.

And yes, the underlying assumption here is that students, if they vote at all, will vote for other students -- provided that they're serious candidates. Again, no proof, just intuition.

I met Walker for the the first time yesterday and sat down with him for an hour or two. He seems like he will be taking this race seriously. I'm not personally "worried" by having other students (or other young people) enter this race, because unless an absurd number of them choose to do so it's not likely to negatively affect me. If voters in this race vote along partisan divides, he won't be taking votes from me anyway because I'm well known as being solidly in the left. If they vote based on positions on the issues, then I feel confident that my positions will resonate well with the town and earn their vote, regardless of which of the other candidates they choose to vote for.

It's only when voters use a mentality of "pick one student" that I can begin to worry, and that seems so blatantly discriminitory to divide along demographic lines like that, while I can hope for that vote, it seems as logical to me as saying "pick one lawyer" or even "pick one male" or "pick one black person." I want to represent student issues on the council, but I think it's an important distiction that I consider myself not to be a student at the University of North Carolina, but a resident of Chapel Hill whose occupation happens to (currently) be full time student. That's the perspective I'm bringing to the table, but it's just my background, and while I think it's a useful one to have, what I do shouldn't be confused with what I stand for.

I want to try to improve Chapel Hill for all those who have not traditionally been in the position to have a voice (or much of a voice) on the council. This should resonate well with students, a segment of the population I expect to earn the vote of, but also many, many other people. I go around talking a lot about the importance of affordable housing and improving public transit, knowing full and well that these are thing important not just to students but to everyone here who's living on a budget. I like to say one of the main reasons I commute almost exclusively by bike is because it's the most environmentally friendly viable option for me. But in reality, probably a larger reason is that I'm trying to squeeze by on student aid, mounting loans, and the hours I can work in between being a student (which is why I'm lucky and privileged to work an a-typical job).

I think 2005 will be a good year for mobilizing not just the student vote, but a lot more of the people who typically stay home for local elections. This is one of the areas I have a lot of background in from my work in the 2004 elections, and I look forward to where things are going to go this year. Like I keep saying, win or lose, this is going to be an interesting year in local politics.

I'm especially excited to see a wonderful candidate like Alex Zaffron file for mayor. It's good to see that someone with vision and character is on the ballot this year, someone who is not in the pockets of special interests and lobbists. I look forward to working for such an interesting and dynamic person and will do my best to see that he is seen by the public as the ONLY candidate whom anyone should even concider. Good Luck Alex!

Thursday DTH story on Jason Baker and Walker Rutherfurd
plenty of quotes from Mark Chilton in the story, they even mentioned me ...

Thanks, Will.


Few comments:
1) Members of Walker Rutherfurd's close ring of supporters say he intends to switch to "independent" before filing.

2) From conversations around campus, it seems that Jeremy Spivey is also considering running. He's registered "unaffiliated" but is a self-identified Libertarian.

3) Jeremy Spivey, despite being VoteCarolina Chair, has voted in Orange County only in 2004. Jason Baker, according to SBOE, has never voted in Orange County. Walker Rutherford, despite being born in 1981 has voted in Orange County only in 2004.

As a student who has voted here since I arrived in 2002 (and one of those 300-odd UNC kids who voted in municipal elections in 2003), it's very difficult for me to find a candidate who has very little established voting history in Chapel Hill to be a compelling candidate to lead this town. I hope students will prove me wrong (I was not a big fan of McSwain in 2003), but the fact that these students were more attached to their home districts than Chapel Hill is worrisome. The only student I can think of who demonstrated to me that they were dedicated to and capable of leading this town without the established voting history was Tom Jensen, who will not be running.

I love the idea of young people running for office, but find it troublesome in practice. I know all three potential student candidates ( and Jason Baker personally and know that he has a true love for the democratic process), but I worry that students come off looking ill-prepared, undedicated, and with motives that look like they're just looking for something good to write about on their Law School admissions essay. The student candidates definitely have a long way to go before they sell me on their candidacies, and I imagine that more than a couple Chapel Hill folks feel the same way.

Ginny, you raise some excellent points. Voting history is one of the first things I look at, especially with candidates I've never heard of before.

Here's Jason's voter file. I doesn't show a voting history, but I can't tell if that's a data glitch or because there isn't one. Hopefully he will address this.

I explained my voter registration to Matt Dees of the N&O which I hope he will place in the next article about me if this is to be an issue.

I first registered to vote in Orange County when I moved here in 2002, and was a registered voter here for two election cycles, 2002 and 2003. In the summer of 2004, I worked in the 11th district (where I am from originally) for Patsy Keever's congressional campaign. I had an apartment in Buncombe County for the summer and moved my voter registration there to vote for Patsy in the primary, and then kept it at my parent's house (where I was assured I could legally consider my residence as I was still a student) to vote for her in the general election, because Buncombe County was MUCH more contested than Orange County in 2004, especially Congressionally speaking.

I moved my voter registration back to Orange County immediately after that election. My voter history in Orange County did not transfer to my record in Buncombe County, and my Buncombe County record didn't transfer here. This will, indeed, be my third election as a registered Orange County voter, though the record does not show this.

Since under the law I could have been considered a resident of either place, I registered in the location where my vote would have the most utility and be most likely to drive the politics of this country as a whole to the Democratic side, which was my major concern last year.

Good -- thanks for the explanation. I couldn't believe that you'd not voted here!

I personally feel much better about you running knowing that you bothered to vote in 2003.

Ruby, I wasn't aware you could get someones records so easily...thanks for the link. My voting history goes back only to '96, which I assume is because of a 10 year limit? I know there's some gaps - some of which can be accounted for by absentee voting - but others that are a mystery. How accurate are these records supposed to be?

As you can tell from Jason's story they're not completely accurate, but if you don't have a weird case they're fairly reliable. The records weren't digital until recently, which is why they don't go back very far.

Carolina Student Body President Seth Dearmin dropped by my office today to talk about Senate Bill 98
and also told me that Jeremy Spivey was planning to file for Town Council

As far as voter history:

I know of a handful of students, myself included, who registered to vote in Orange County in 2003, went to the polls on Election Day, voted, and never had a record of it show up on the BOE's website. I've been told that it's a computer glitch.

I'm not sure if that applies to any student candidates, but I imagine lots of Carolina kids find themselves in similar situations -- or, on the other hand, situations similar to Jason's. Bottom line, I'd just hesitate to jump to any conclusions without asking the candidates.

Jeremy Spivey, by the way, was (and, I think, still is, but I haven't been in the know this summer, so don't quote me on that) head of VoteCarolina, UNC's nonpartisan voter registration group.

Finally, the DTH has made a big deal about Senate Bill 98 and others like it. It could really increase the student turnout on Election Day -- or maybe that's just our wishful thinking. :)

I had lunch with Jeremy today at Cosmic Cantina. I'll let him speak to his own aspirations, because it's not my place to spread rumor. Whether or not he's running, I'm glad that someone with the background of running VoteCarolina is interested in town politics. I really think it will help to mobilize the student vote this year, both in terms of issue education and actually getting them to the polls.

I have a copy of Senate Bill 98 on my desk right now care of Gerry. It's too late for it to help this time around, as I understand, but I do hope it will mean good things for the generations of students who come after me. Making it easier for people to vote is always a good thing in my book.

I've found that with the exception of occasional glitches (especially on complicated ones like Jason's), the voting records tend to be reasonably accurate. It's at least the best info. I had available. Hopefully if it's wrong, candidates will be able to explain their voting history on their website, ask the SBOE to correct it, answer questions about it in forums.

As for S-0098, which was rescheduled to come up on Monday, I'm personally a big fan. One of the organizations I work with (www.uncasg.org) has been concerned about voting accessibility and UNC-CH definitely has the most complicated precinct assignments. According to a report that we've yet to release (drawing on SBP Matt Tepper's report for CH), most other campuses have a single district (and at most 3). UNC has 6. Floating the SuperPrecinct in Chapel Hill will help remedy an immediate problem of severe voter confusion (students who don't vote early because they don't realize that moving one dorm over means they may have to go off campus 2 miles in the opposite direction or kids who think they can vote at Morehead on election day) and transportation problems while hopefully providing information to eventually help implement this in other areas of the state. Also of note is the Same Day Voter Registration that came up in the committee yesterday. (And as Under the Dome reports, the Election Law Committee has had an interesting go of it with "Floaters").

Hopefully if it's wrong, candidates will be able to explain their voting history on their website, ask the SBOE to correct it, answer questions about it in forums.


I don't know, I have a distinct memory of voting in 2002, but it doesn't show up. Other years I was elsewhere in the state/country, but I voted in Orange in 2000 and 2002.

Joe, I believe you're off base with your criticism.

I spent hundreds of hours in the 2003, 2004 election cycles working on getting out the "vote". I found it very difficult to describe to students where their election day voting precincts are located - "The Kehillah Center? Oh, it's on the other side of Mason Farm from Campus. Mason Farm? It's the back way out from Campus, where married student housing used to be - kind of behind the Dean Dome...." Even with maps and bus schedules in hand it took a while for locations to sink in (and that is when their interest didn't fade within the first 60 seconds of the explanation).

Sometimes the precinct was "steps away" but the real impediment was disinterest or confusion or the lack of easy registration.

Even early voting can be quite a challenge. The Orange County BOE did a terrible job this last cycle at Morehead.
During the 2004 national election, local volunteers spent a bit of time encouraging students to wait and vote though the line snaked across the quad - many times student voters left.

Now, we probably won't see long lines like that this time (unless the student population is energized by 4 student candidates) but I hope that if there are delays the BOE does a better job responding.

A super-precinct plus same day registration could supercharge Campus-based voting with the unintended(?) consequence of a major shift in political power towards the student population. Good thing?

Googling potential student candidate Jeremy Spivey ...

I'm Jeremy Spivey, and I'm a Political Science and Psychology double major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I'm also pursuing a Creative Fiction Writing track in the English Department. I'm the Chair of Town Relations Committee for Student Government, and I worked extensively with the first-year group VoteCarolina! the non-partisan student group dedicated to increasing student voter turnout in Chapel Hill.

What makes this rather strange is that I'm a registered Libertarian, though I count myself among the most moderate members of the party. Unlike many of my counterparts within the party, I respect many of the political philosophies of both parties, and perceive many of the same problems that they do within US society. I want to return fiscal conservatism to the Republican party, which has been usurped by hawkish neoconservatives and social engineers. If these elements are too entrenched to give way to personal liberty, I'd like to see fiscal conservatism embraced by the Democrats instead.

While I'm not likely to see much short-term progress towards these goals at the national level, I think localities can be convinced that free minds and free markets are the key to personal happiness. And, this year will see me learning the ropes of local civic activism, albeit from a nonpartisan angle.

In the last year, VoteCarolina! increased One-Stop Presidential-election early voting in Orange County from 9,000 (in 2000) to 30,000 (in 2004). Two of the three early voting polling places were within 2 miles of UNC's campus, and students, faculty, and staff of UNC completely engulfed the sites. The average wait to vote early was over an hour. We published and printed 10,000 nonpartisan voter guides, detailing early voting and precinct-level voting on campus, highlighting each dorm and its precinct location (which were often miles off of campus). For those precincts furthest away from campus, we provided transportation to the polls on Election Day. Despite being blocked from access to dorms by the University's no solicitation policy, we registered thousands of voters, and coordinated our efforts with the Young Democrats and College Republicans, who registered thousands more. All this, from an organization that didn't exist in July 2004.
. . . . .


That's an interesting view of VoteCarolina. The work of the Young Democrats (of which I was a member) certainly accounted for a heck of a lot more of the increase in student turnout in early voting than the work of VoteCarolina.

Jason Baker should be credited with a lot of that, as he led our voter registration efforts.

As for the 10,000 voter guides, I was at Morehead Planetarium every morning and every afternoon every single day of early voting and saw one voting guide the entire time.

And transportation to polling sites? Again, only with an assist from the Young Democrats which provided a good portion of the vehicles and drivers.

VoteCarolina! certainly was a good idea and I hope it continues in the future, but for all its bluster it lacked a lot of the grassroots effectiveness of the Young Democrats and College Republicans. An increase in turnout at early voting would be more correctly attributed to the likes of Jason Baker, Tom Jensen, myself, OCDP and our other numerous volunteers.

Should it be easy to vote? I hadn't really considered that before reading this discussion. I was fully supportive of SB98 but now I'm wondering if there isn't some vaue to making it a 'little difficult' in order to ensure that those who do come to the polls are aware of the issues and the candidates positions. Informed voters.....easy access to the polls. Anyone know if there's been any research on this?

Terri, we used to have ways to make it "a little difficult." They were called literacy tests and poll taxes. Just how difficult do you want to make it? And for whom?

Jeremy Spivey's blog entry pasted above is HIS view of voter registration on campus fall 2004 at Carolina. I worked both with Jeremy Spivey and with Jason Baker. Both had a lot of energy, but Justin Guillory is correct, Jason and the YDs actually registered more voters. VoteCarolina was an important part of campuswide efforts and they did distrubute a lot of information and had some access that partisan efforts did not. BTW, I think Justin Guillory who graduated this year is now managing Charles Meeker's re-election campign here in Raleigh.

As far as SB98, it is my experience that unless students are motivated to vote by issues and candidates, they are not going to vote in town elections regardless of where the polling place is. If the motivation and interest are there, then more convenient voting locations will translate into higher turnout.

And as far as student or student age candidates, there appears to be a broad spectrum -- Baker (Democrat), Rutherfurd (Republican), and Spivey (Libertarian).

Terri, this topic is one with much empirical research. Directly related to your question is the research from the rational choice school that basically concludes that turnout is higher when you lower the "cost" of voting to the voter. We all tend to fix costs in different ways: standing in line time, braving the weather, investing in becoming informed, etc., so it's important to learn what voters consider their costs.

There is also debate in the vast research on if low turnout in the US reflects voter disaffection with politics or widespread contentment with the status quo.

Interestingly enough, one of the factors most likely to increase turnout is the perception of a close race. This gets to the research that shows people more willing to "pay the costs" to vote when they believe that their vote will make a true difference on the outcome. Accordingly, the more miniscule the possibility that your vote will be pivotal, the more miniscule the costs must be.

For students, a rational choice approach would say that they must be energized to pay the cost in terms of the time and energy expended to vote. Usually the organizations/individuals helping to reduce their costs (transportation, etc.) also provide the "information" on how to vote, thus reducing another cost.

If registration (which has a planning cost) is allowed on the day of voting, some fear it because if an election is reported to be close AFTER the traditional closing of the registration period, more people will now register and vote on election day because they think they will make a difference. Depending on one's political outlook, this can be a "good" or "bad" thing.

Believing that voting centers will cause more students to vote is yet to be proven. The centers will make it more convenient for all citizens, but some research has shown that being close to a polling place does not greatly influence a person's likelihood of voting. We do know that WHEN elections are held - weekends/holidays vs. weekday can make a significant difference in turnout, but testing the centers approach could be useful.

the other interesting factor is that the three elections with the highest student voter registration in Chapel Hill/Carrboro were 1972 (McGovern/Nixon), 1990, (Gantt/Helms), and 2004 (Kerry/Bush). This mean that student voter registration was STILL very high the following year, the residual effect of a high interest national election that motivated students, and that student candidates did NOT have to motivate as many students to register to vote for a local election. The winning students candidates? Cohen (Chapel Hill) and Beswick (Carrboro) 1973, Chilton (Chapel Hill) 1991. 2005????

Ugh. Is it really necessary to have a whose-is-bigger competition over voter registration? Obviously, Jason and Jeremy (and folks like Justin Guillory, Tom Jensen, and their counterparts at the College Republicans) both did a lot to register students last year. They should both be applauded for it without having their personal views of the situation attacked.

As someone who's closely followed three student election seasons, I know this is probably wishful thinking, but I truly hope personal attacks stay out of this election. It would be a shame for egos to get in the way of any of the student candidates.

And Terri: I think it's safe to say that in municipal elections, the only people turning out are the ones who care. I just think there ought to be a way to help students avoid the situation Will mentioned above.

I don't know if 'ego' will get in the way of any of the student candidates, but ideology sure might. I think it's kind of silly to expect the majority of Carolina students who are liberals to vote for a Republican and a Libertarian just because they're students too. I think that for progressive students like myself Mark Kleinschmidt and Laurin Easthom are much more apt to represent our interests than Walker Rutherfurd and Jeremy Spivey.

That said, best of luck to them, and if their candidates help inspire student voter turnout good for them- I just hope the extra students who turn out take the time to figure out what all the candidates actually stand for and choose the ones who have the vision and experience to move Chapel Hill forward instead of making age their sole factor in deciding who to vote for.

Tom's statement "I just hope the extra students who turn out take the time to figure out what all the candidates actually stand for and choose the ones who have the vision and experience to move Chapel Hill forward instead of making age their sole factor in deciding who to vote for" is what I was getting at. Looking at elections these days, we have to consider the very powerful role played by the media. This past presidential election is a great example of a successful media strategy that had nothing to do with reality. The campaigns primary issue patriotism and yet, that winning candidate now has less than 45% approval rate. Nothing has changed except the rhetoric of the election has gone away and the reality of the situation is harder to ignore. Messages backed up by a wealthy campaign coffer have a greater chance of being heard and remembered (repetition).

Thanks for the info Fred. And Dan, you know damned well and good I wasn't promoting literacy tests or any other type of gatekeeping strategy.

How do I know what you were promoting since you didn't say? If you check my earlier post, you will find that in fact I asked you pretty directly what you had in mind. Why no reply? Do you really want to make voting more difficult for some? Wouldn't it be better to make voting easier and also make getting information on candidates and issues easier?

> ...choose the ones who have the vision and experience
> to move Chapel Hill forward instead of making age
> their sole factor in deciding who to vote for.

I would hope that no one voting in Chapel Hill uses age as the sole factor. I no more want to win the student vote just because I'm young than I want to lose the rest of the town's vote for the same reason. I'm running on issues, not my age.

>> VoteCarolina! increased One-Stop Presidential-election early voting in Orange County from 9,000 (in 2000) to 30,000 (in 2004). >>

One of my favorite sections in Politics and the Policy Process was on credit-claiming and blame avoidance strategies.

I don't know if ‘ego' will get in the way of any of the student candidates, but ideology sure might.

As well it should. (And, since you might be curious, I can assure you that the DTH editorial board is not going to endorse _any_ of the three student candidates simply because they're students. Or Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians, for that matter -- as Jason said, it's all about the issues. There are some issues that most students care about more than other local residents, but I think we can all agree that everyone's interests, more often than not, overlap.)

I was just disappointed to see Justin's post about voter registration. I understand that folks in YD and their friends want to give credit where credit's due -- but in the context of an election, whether this is intended or not, everything relates to politics. What Justin might've just seen as a slight to your group, an outsider well could see as campaigning against people who aren't of his ideological bent. Which is fine, of course; it's just that (I would hope) nobody will base their vote this fall on who got more students to the polls.

That's what I was trying to say up there, more or less; mea culpa if I did so poorly, or in my usual I'm-at-work-and-have-a-lull-oh-God-I'm-so-bored ornery fashion. :)

Chris rightly states:
" it's just that (I would hope) nobody will base their vote this fall on who got more students to the polls."

It merely might be a good predictor of who can get their supporters to the polls THIS year!


Hopefully issues do play the main role in who votes for who this year. But now that Jason, Jeremy and Walker have decided to run they are public figures and should expect to be scrutinized. In fact, it is the journalist's job to do so. It appears as if a large portion of the "experience" in both Jason and Jeremy's backgrounds appear to be voter registration related. If so, how can anyone make a judgement on which candidate is better without an assessment of their performance.

Since the DTH has failed to explain the true nature of voter registration projects at UNC this past election year, I wanted to help set the record straight that Jason has accomplished much more in that arena than Jeremy has.

It is the public's right to know how effective public candidates have been in the past. The DTH may shy away from this critique, but I will not.

Justin, I had a question about your comment

As for the 10,000 voter guides, I was at Morehead Planetarium every morning and every afternoon every single day of early voting and saw one voting guide the entire time.

I spent most afternoons and several mornings working the lines giving out the Dem's guides (here's a photo, if you wonder what I look like I'm standing on the second sidewalk sticking out to the right - wearing a blue denim shirt). You'll see from the photo an attendant at the YD's tent whose job it was to distribute literature to those in line. Also, often, there were additional non-YD Dem's handing out the guides with me.

I'm not sure how you could miss the guides, so maybe you're speaking of something else?

Jeremy's blog states:
"We [VoteCarolina] published and printed 10,000 nonpartisan voter guides, detailing early voting and precinct-level voting on campus,"

Justin comments above:
"As for the 10,000 voter guides, I was at Morehead Planetarium every morning and every afternoon every single day of early voting and saw one voting guide the entire time."

WillR then says he was handing out Democratic voter guides, and wonders why Justin did not see them.

I don't think Jeremy claims VoteCarolina published anything that voters would take to the polls. And I don't think Justin is saying that Democrats weren't handing out voter guides at the polls

The voting guides Justin was talking about were the VoteCarolina guides, which I never actually saw either. Yes, the Young Democrats, NC Coordinated Campaign and Orange County Democratic Party were there in full force every day, and distributed what I would guess were tens of thousands of pamphlets.


I think you and Justin are talking about different things- he is referring to Vote Carolina's nonpartisan guides, while you are referring to the partisan sample ballots that the Young Democrats handed out from the tent that was staffed every minute of the early voting period.

Maybe 10,000 of the nonpartisan guides were distributed, but I only saw one the entire campaign despite being at Morehead for the majority of the day every day of early voting. That's what Jeremy is touting as an accomplishment

I think the issue of what groups/people did the most to get students out to vote is silly and not worth discussing. But what is relevant is which council candidates have shown a greater capability to get things done in their prior public service. Since none of the student candidates have served on Chapel Hill boards or commissions, the best way I can see to determine their merit based on their background is their level of success in student leadership- and I think in that realm Jeremy's claims of success don't really measure up to the facts. So that's where it becomes an issue- a candidate overreaching in credit claiming to gain credibility- basically what Ginny was referring to in her post last night,


I set up the YD tent and took it down every day, so I probably met you at some point. Hello again! We handed out lots of Democratic voter guides. VoteCarolina's voter guides were different. I believe they had information about polling sites for students and less info about the candidates for office.

My point about the voter guides is not that they were not printed and handed out. But that they were not as omnipresent as would be necessary to make a significant impact on voter turnout. YD not only had posters, sandwich boards, and tables set up around campus. But we also emailed every registered Democrat and Independent on campus with specific information about early voting and where the should vote on election day. It was sophisticated enough so that a student would get emails about their particular precinct only.

I think these programs did much more to raise turnout among students than anything that VoteCarolina tried.

In the context of the Chapel Hill elections I hope the candidates can be a thoroughly examined. We should not just take what people say at face value. A lesson from the elections of George W. Bush.

Haha. Seems as if everyone at those YD tents, spends their Sunday afternoons on orangepolitics.

Thanks for the clarifications. I don't recall seeing many other organizations voter guides other than the Dems, though I did see more than a few voters with the Indy's.

As far as taking people at what they say, for the non-incumbents you'll have to rely a bit on what they say (if they say anything - Woodrow Barfield??), maybe what boards they've served on (as noted elsewhere) and, I think especially important, how they prosecute the election.

For instance, last Council election cycle, Candidate Bachman, when questioned by the media and fellow candidates, said she wasn't part of the "rah rah" development crowd or firmly in the pocket of the UNC BOT/administration. All of which could've been quite true. She got in trouble, though, when she tried to be coy and avoided explaining why so much of her campaign was being financed by those interests.

Instead of dancing about, a good, clear explanation would've gone far in establishing her credibility, it would've reflected well on her campaign and demonstrated an openess her constituents could've expected post-election.

Sure, a candidate can try to glom onto the hot button issues of the day, but I think that if questioned sufficiently the prepared, passionate candidate will bloom and the posers exposed.

Of course, words are words and deeds are deeds, Esse Quam Videri.

Luckily, as far as the incumbents, there's a four year track record to go on.

This is the difference, as I noted in my previous comments about Mr. Harrison, between that of a Candidate Ed and Incumbent Ed. The delta can be quite large and is measured by both the factual account of their substantive incumbent activities, if any, and the texture or tone, if detectable, in which they carried out their elective duties.



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