November 2007


Election Day is finally here. This is an open thread to discuss. What's going on out there?

Update: the page to watch for results is

Journalism students cover 2007 races

Not sure how this will pan out, but here's another place to watch for results tonight:

Leading up to election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, students will cover local issues and races through different media including print, audio and video. On election night, student political journalists will step out of their classroom/newsroom to document the results and reactions to the local 2007 election. But their stories won't be due the next day. Like professional journalists, students will be expected to work real deadlines and send in their stories for editing and posting to this Web site under the 'Stories/Features' tab. Up-to-date blogs will also be kept during election night.
- School of Journalism and Mass Communication - About the Project

Election Day video blogging

Another first, I have attempted a video blog! Sorry it's so long (16 minutes). I'll try to do better next time.

Preliminary results

All of the initial tallies are in except for provisional votes (those are that are cast in the wrong district but then moved to the correct district).

This is just shamelessly cut and pasted from the County web site, with a little visual augmentation by me. Check back on OP soon for some of Damon Seils' fabulous maps.

Last updated at 10:06:37 PM on 11/6/2007
37 of 38 precincts reported

Click on desired office to view results

Chapel Hill Mayor
Chapel Hill Town Council
Hillsborough Mayor

Hillsborough Board of Commissioner

Carrboro Mayor
Carrboro Board of Alderman

Chapel Hill - Carrboro Board of Education

Chapel Hill Mayor

Kevin C. Foy
Kevin Wolff

Battle Park

There is no pundit of the year!

Well this was a very interesting year. No-one in the survey predicted Jim Ward coming first (by 7 votes!), so we have no absolute victor. In fact as a group, the averages of our predictions were off base in a few places. I guess that goes to show, that we should do more thinking for ourselves, or get out into other neighborhoods more (as I think Fred told us last time).

Where did the hive mind get it right? Collectively, we predicted the correct results for all the mayoral races (cinch), we got the Aldermen right except the top two, and we got the top and bottom right in the school board race. For a bunch of people from Chapel Hill (10 of the 21 participants) we sure did't seem to know Chapel Hill voters very well!

Three people got the order right in Carrboro: Ed Neely, Patrick McDonough, and one person who declined to give their name. And only one person got the order of the School Board race right: Damon Seils!

A lot of us got knocked out of the running by listing incumbents Joal Broun and Jamezetta Bedford as top voter getters, when challengers actually took the top slot in both of their races!

Election 2007 Maps: Carrboro

Here is the first round of precinct-level maps for the Carrboro election. The complete set is available here. The maps below are based on unofficial results released by the Orange County Board of Elections on the afternoon of November 7. Much credit goes to my friend Brad for helping to put these together so quickly.

The first figure below shows the 8 precincts that now lie at least partly within Carrboro's municipal boundary.

Web sites on the campaign trail

I find it interesting how local candidates have used the internet as a primary source for campaign information. I have lived in several suburbs of North Carolina cities but I have never seen local political candidates use websites for any sort of campaigning.

Have these sites made a different impact on local voters or have voters even seen the sites at all?

With the exception of two one incumbents (Jim Ward and Joal Broun) all of the candidates in Chapel Hill and Carrboro races as well as the school board race had campaign web sites. Interestingly, no Hillsborough candidates were online except the Mayor whose web site was apparently leftover from his first campaign 2 years ago. All of these links are available at

I asked Ruby who pointed out that this is not the first year that sites have been used and past years can be seen at and

Smith Level Road, NCDOT, Reductio Ad Absurdum

On Monday evening, 11/5, NCDOT held a "Citizens Informational Workshop" on the Smith Level Road "improvement" project. Turnout was, to be kind, sparse. Now we enter the "public comment and public hearing" phase, the last stop before the asphalt meets the roadbed. The current DOT project plan for Smith Level (the section between Rock Haven Road and the Morgan Creek bridge) could best be described as resembling MLK Blvd.

Does the Town of Carrboro really want a multi-lane monstrosity within the town limits? Aristotle had a phrase for DOTs proclivity to seek to relieve congestion by adding travel lanes: reductio ad absurdum. At a moment of fatigue (discussion on this issue began back in 1986) the Board of Aldermen gave DOT the green light to continue planning based on the current project plan. Now here we are.

Two actions seem to be required to turn this project from boondoggle to actual improvement:

Election 2007 Maps: Chapel Hill

These are the precinct-level maps for the Chapel Hill election. The complete set is available here. As with the Carrboro election maps, the maps below are based on unofficial results published on November 8 by the Orange County Board of Elections. And thanks again to Brad for the technical wizardry.

As shown below, the Chapel Hill municipal boundary contains part or all of 22 precincts, including 1 precinct in Durham County.

The Politics of Public Memory at UNC, in Orange County, and in North Carolina

A week from today (11/16), newly reelected council member Sally Greene (congrats, Sally!!) and I will host a day-long conference at UNC that returns attention to the oft-debated question of how we remember, and why we continue to honor, some of our most checkered ancestors.

The ancestor in question is Thomas Ruffin, the pride of Hillsborough and of UNC (and of the state generally). Ruffin was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court for most of the three decades leading up to the Civil War and a UNC trustee for 42 years. Scholars have placed him on par with John Marshall as a jurist. There's a dormitory that bears his name on the UNC campus, and his imposing statue guards the front door to the North Carolina Court of Appeals building in Raleigh.



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