Carrboro election: maps and graphs

The maps below show the percentages of votes by precinct garnered by each candidate for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. I have also provided links to additional maps and graphs.

A couple of observations:

Additional maps and graphs:



Can someone explain the Damascus precinct to me?

Voter Turnout Statistics at Damascus= 71
Carrboro Mayor votes at Damascus= 87
Carrboro Alderman votes at Damascus= 243

In the end it doesn't matter, but I always feel better when numbers make sense. Does anyone do quality assurance on these numbers?

My quality assurance question has more to do with the fact that the Coles Store Carrboro Voter turnout number (264) is the same as the Coles Store BOE voter total (264).

These numbers cannot be the same since those of us who live in the NTA voted at Coles Store for the BOE but not for the Carrboro Aldermen and Mayor.

Mary, the Board of Elections recounts everything a few days after the election (last Friday?). The discrepancy above could be a data-entry error. Or it could be something else.

Remember the Faley-Bedford re(re)count in 2003 produced slightly different numbers, though not a different winner. My point there is, the final official outcome may well have some error in it.

Mary: The total Coles Store turnout was 416. The turnout for Coles Store in Carrboro was 264. The turnout for Coles Store in the county was 152. That's what I see on the BOE site, anyway.

Similarly, the total turnout in Damascus was 162. This includes 71 voting both in the Carrboro elections and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board election, and the remainder voting only in the school board election.

I'll add this.

The fact that the OP commentariat sees fit to start a whole thread on this is telling. You seem to be grasping to justify skipping over one single voice -- out of seven on the board -- in order to shut out completely the voices you don't like. You might not admit it (though you might act on it), but solid, the-choice-is-clear arguments don't need fancy maps and graphs. Somewhere in your hard drives, a telltale heart is pounding away, isn't it?

I don't know what to name the OP commentariat except that. You're some kind of subset of the left, not the whole progressive lot of us.

So let's assume your subset were a minority in a town, about 30-35%, and growing. The majority, say a bunch of DLCers, hold all town seats, and they insist on how inclusive and diverse they are. They vehemently oppose installing the 4th-place vote-getter, from your ideological subset, with the arguments that that would be divisive, unrepresentative, against the will of 65%, etc., etc....

One single seat, that's all you want, one out of seven, not even the percentage of you in town. And they won't grant you that, when this election gave them every good reason to. Would you believe their mantras of wanting to include everyone? Would you protest, pulling out all the stops? How would you feel? ... That's what I thought.

In Coles Store there were three types of voters: 1)voters in the county school district, 2) Carrboro voters who also vote for the CHCCS BOE, and 3) NTA voters who only voted for the CHCCS BOE. My point is that the current post on the County website indicates the same number of voters in both of the last two categories which is not possible.

The county website also lists that there were 87 votes cast for Carrboro mayor at Damascus.

I don't think any of this has much effect on your beautiful graphs/maps.

Oh, I see what you mean now, Mary. Maybe the final numbers will be clearer.

Mary, just a slight clarification. The county website shows Types 2 and 3 lumped together, not a separate # for Type 3. They are essentially reporting 0 for Type 3, which means your vote didn't count, I suppose.

108 votes for Carrboro mayor with at least 212 folks voting in the School Board race makes it seem the answer is likely in the Carrboro # being high.

Oy--- I understand your clarification. Maybe this is an indication that it is time to change who votes at Coles Store. (You know, there is a conspiracy theory that the BOA arranged this far away precinct in order to discourage LHF and NTA residents from voting....)

Well it's definitely a conspiracy theory because I'm pretty sure the BOA has nothing to do with determing where people vote. Correct me if I'm wrong Gerry, but isn't that a decision made by the Board of Elections?

Tom, It was a joke.

from today's daily tar heel...

"Ryan said the attorney general's office handed down an initial opinion that Carrboro ought to have included a fourth seat on November's ballot, anticipating that either Chilton or alderman Alex Zaffron would vacate their seats."
"Zaffron said he stands behind Brough's interpretation. “It seems to me the law is pretty clear,” he said.

Ryan said she disagrees with Brough's interpretation of the code. She also said the law seems clear, if badly constructed.

“The section of the charter in question is very poorly written,” Ryan said. “It seems to be very specifically created to fill a vacancy during an election.”

In his memo, Brough wrote that because the possibility of an opening was not known until after the filing date, the vacancy falls under a N.C. general statute that allows the aldermen to appoint someone — not necessarily the fourth-choice candidate in the last election — to fill the seat."

I call B.S. . It seems they should have had a 4th seat knowing this would happen... If people could cast 4 votes it would not change the relative order of the finishers. If anything my guess.. as a chapel hillian is that katrina voters probably voted for fewer candidates (one-shoting her) than other voters. If anything if more good candidates entered the race it would have diluted even more votes from devine, Haven-, etc.... I don't know if most people realize this but the Town charter only specifies filling seats by elections.

It's a pretty clear case of consolidating political power, which is okay by me but don't try to say there is an argument other than that for picking a lower place finisher over a higher one. It is not about representation, only consolidation...

Im my opinion, the root of this unnecessary dilemma is that the NC Legislature does not allow local governments to hold a democratic election whenever they want to. How can this be a good idea?

Yes. Mark I agree with some of that..

However, there was a recent post by Dan coleman talking about the spirit of the law versus what lawyers interpret the law to be.

I read the carrboro charter, and unless I missed a section - the town charter only fills seats by elections. So the "spirit" seems to suggest this is the way to go.

Arguing that if there was a 4th seat, Katrina's relative order would be lower are very weak given her supporters probably aren't voting a full slate...

JB, you have to read the Carrboro Town charter in context with the general law. The general law provides that there is a special election for town board members, ONLY if the vacancy occurs more than 90 days before the election. in ALL other circumstances, an appointment fills the seat for the remainder of the unexpired term. The Carrboro Town charter deals with HOW the special election is to be held. (a separate seat on the ballot, or lumped in with all the others with the low winner getting the two-year term)The Carrboro Town Charter provision was the third in the string o local bills designed SOLELY to reverse a 1973 Orange County Board of Elections decision. In mid 1973, a vacancy occurred on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education. The board of elections put it on the ballot for the midterm election with separate filing for the two-year seat, rather than expanding the field by one for the main event on the ballot. (Marie "Peachee" Wicker was elected in the separate race for the two-year seat.)
The 1974 General Assembly reversed this ruling for the school board, followed by similar local legislation for Chapel Hill in 1980 and Carrboro in 1987.

Now, for Jeff V who complains that the purpose of this whole thread is to show why Katrina SHOULDN'T be appointed, in fact, I think the chart at the top of this thread showing that Katrina was the ONLY person of any candidate to get the "dark red" for intense support of ANY candidate in ANY precinct could in fact be SEEN as a strong argument about why she SHOULD be appointed.

What if, lets say, the Orange County Board of Elections in fact somehow ignored the law put four seats on the ballot because they were sure that either Alex or Mark would be elected, thus creating a vacancy, but Jeff V had run again as a write-in and won, and there was never any vacancy at all?

Just to be clear to the readers, when you say general law you mean state law..

My only point is that the TOWN CHARTER - for some reason - only addresses filling vacancies by election... I am not arguing what the content of the NC state statutes say...

anyone who looks at the politics will have a hard time picking a fifth place finisher over a fourth place finisher for a "democratic" process.

JB, the reason the Town Charter deals with only a part of the issue is that all provision of general law (the law applicable to all municipalities) continues to apply unless it is contradicted by the town charter. If not, the provisiions are read together.

Up until the early 1970s, we had enormous town charters, trying to state all the laws applicable to a city. More recently, after the adoption of the municipal law rewrite in 1971, charters are supplemental to a large body of state law.


Thanks for doing these maps. They are very informative. Gerry is absolutely right in saying they provide clear evidence that Katrina should be seriously considered as the replacement for Mark Chilton's seat.

It would be interesting to hear why so many folks in north Carrboro voted for Katrina. Was it because of her proposal to merge with Chapel Hill, a protest against the status quo, or something else?

This debate is very much like the redistricting debate for BOCC.

I do not oppose the alderpeople picking their favorite person, but they shouldn't try to explain it away as anything but consolidating power and picking people who represent your views. As I said - it's okay to have a winner take all approach - for the county as well but don't try to pretend that's not what it is.

Disclaimer -

I neither support nor oppose Katrina's positions. I did not support or oppose any candidates in carrboro. And frankly other than seeing in the papers and in the map above in this thread, I don't know much about carrboro's political scene except that a "group" has its feathers ruffled and votes anti-incumbent. I would also speculate there is a much larger contingent than the Kevin Wolff/Cutson contingent in carrboro with "issues".

I was simply referring to the process of passing up the 4 th spot in an election to take the 5th spot and explain it. I do not know what "tactics" any of the carrboro candidates used in the election nor do I support or oppose them... because I do not know them.

Gerry and Terri,
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me repeat a few things.

Katrina has lived in this area for 2 1/2 years (N&O Voters Guide). She established a temporary (and I consider false) residence in order to run. She worked very hard and spent a lot of money to find those 101 voters in Lake Hogan Farm. I am not saying that these LHF residents do not have any complaints because I know that some of them do. I have heard them complain about such things as adequate school facilities, bike lanes into town, sidewalks outside the subdivision, taxes, etc.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but to my knowledge, no one from Lake Hogan Farm has ever run for elected office. I tend to believe that this lack of political participation indicates that in general most LHF residents are not that discontented.

I really do believe that Katrina has taken her anger over annexation and used it to fuel a search for discontent north of Homestead. I have no idea how many new annexes want to stay angry and continue the divisiveness versus how many want to put the hard feelings behind them and move on and become part of the Carrboro community. Maybe I'm an idealist, but I think most people want to be treated fairly and want to move on. (I am always of the belief that most people have most things in common and there are more things that hold us together than there are things that tear us apart.)

Back to my point, Katrina lost this election, and I do not think the citizens of Carrboro owe her a seat on the BOA, especially considering her divisive political style. Again, my experience of Katrina is that she does not dialogue well. During the campaign season, she was quick to assume the worst about people and quick to write people off when they did not agree with her. Also, over the past several months I have watched Katrina twist and distort facts--- in so doing, she has fueled dissension. I have not seen Katrina show any propensity towards promoting education and understanding.

In my opinion, there is no good reason to appoint Katrina. There are many respectful citizens in the NTA and in Carrboro, who have served on boards, who are involved in the community, who deeply understand and care about the issues facing Carrboro and the NTA (and want to bring fair resolution to conflicts), who care about fair and equitable services to all neighborhoods, who understand and agree that some new annexes have legitimate complaints that must be addessed in a fair and timely manner, who have good ideas about how to diversify Carrboro's tax base, who have no agenda other than wanting to promote a safe, sustainable, harmonious community. Some of these people share Katrina's views about fiscal responsibility and residential and economic growth. Some believe that annexation happened too soon. My point, the BOA does not need to settle for Katrina-- no matter how much louder she gets. There are many bright, committed, respectful, tolerant, and fair people to choose from, and I honestly think that it is important to fill that empty seat with someone who can really listen and work well with others.

Just for a moment, and just for fun, suppose that the bright-red precinct on the Ryan's tally map were a part of town where some identifiable racial or ethnic group mostly lived, and suppose that the seven-seat board included nobody who either was of that racial or ethnic group or shared its central concerns.

And suppose that people were saying of the map, "See? All of that candidate's support was from this one little precinct! That candidate doesn't really represent THE WHOLE TOWN's views."

And suppose other people were saying that the only fair way to fill the seventh seat was through a town-wide election (which would be dominated, naturally, by the votes of those from all of the other precincts).

What would you think about that?

Just a thought experiment.

An oppressed racial or ethnic group, Eric?

Mary, dear Mary,

As you and Katrina know, my argument is not for Katrina herself. I am arguing for the principles of representation and allowing the voters to speak for themselves. Katrina received a higher percentage of the votes in North Carrboro--without the annexation area--than any other candidate received in any other precinct. Yes, the raw number of total voters from the precinct (on election day) was small, but 1) Cole Store had the highest turnout of any Carrboro district and 2) Katrina received nearly twice the votes as two of the winning candidates and close to 5 times as many votes as the other from that precinct. I would say that is fairly clear evidence that the voters in that precinct were making a different statement than those in the rest of town.

Eric's thought experiment describes my other feelings about this very nicely. Thanks Eric. I cannot support an electoral process based on ABK (anybody but Katrina).


Surely you don't think an under represented racial minority and a group of people mad because their taxes are going to go up is the same thing?


Should Robin Cutson be appointed to the Chapel Hill Town Council if a vacancy emerges in the next couple of years? She too won the malcontent precinct, around 30% of the vote, and represents a viewpoint different than anybody else's on the Council.

Do only racial minorities deserve representation, Tom? Did anyone criticize the support Mark K got for representing the gay and lesbian community? What about those who wanted representation for students? If you were to go back and look at historical documents, you would find that we have a representative government because of geographical concerns. And let's not forget that Orange County is currently investigating strategies for ensuring better geographical representation on the BOCC.


The only Coles Store Precinct voters who could vote in this Carrboro election were Lake Hogan Farms, who have been paying Carrboro taxes all along, so I'm afraid their key issue isn't their taxes going up, like SOME annexation area residents.

Honestly, the Lake Hogan voters are concerned about over crowding in the schools, and Carborro's go-go growth all around them. They're concerned about the basic difference of priorities between the those suburbanites who moved here for the school system and those who moved here for the cultural amenities.

It's not the taxes. It's taxation without representation. Some people find that objectionable.

Robin Cutson wasn't the next highest vote getter, Tom. If there was a vacancy on the CH council, would you support Will R for the seat? He received about the same percentage of the CH vote as Katrina received in Carrboro.

Let me repeat this one last time. I am not supporting Katrina. I'm supporting the 4th place candidate in an election held less than a month before the seat becomes vacant. The fact that the 4th place candidate represents a group of people who I believe will have huge impact on the future of Carrboro simply reinforces my position.

I would expect any governing body filling any vacancy to choose the most qualified applicant.

Mark did not win because he was gay and I highly doubt that very many people voted for him because he was gay Terri. Two thirds of the Chapel Hill voting population picked him because he has proven himself to be a strong advocate on a multitude of issues that the folks who turned out care about.

I would like to see a student on Town Council, but clearly the electorate did not see the need to vote for a student this time. Thus I would not believe in a vacancy being filled by a student for the sake of having a student on Council, just as I do not believe in appointing an outsider voice in Carrboro just for the sake of appointing an outsider voice. Neither electorate expressed a desire to have this type of representative on their governing board.

That said, if Katrina is the most qualified applicant I hope she will be appointed. I have a feeling though that there will be applicants who have a longer history of activism and constructive service to the local community.

I did NOT say that Mark won his election because he is gay Tom. But surely you would agree that the gay and lesbian community are happy to have someone on council who they feel represents their interests.

I will agree with your last statement. I imagine you even know who at least one of those applicants will be.


I would support Will if he was the most qualified candidate. He received almost 10% more of the vote than Katrina did, and the fact that he received about 40% of the vote in almost every precinct reflects the fact that he is not a special interest candidate, but rather one concerned about the best interests of all of Chapel Hill.

Voters were not asked to vote for four candidates, they were asked to vote for three. I am relatively confident that Cat DeVine would have finished fourth if voters had been able to choose four candidates. I don't think very many, if any people, were deciding whether to choose someone else or Katrina for their fourth choice and wishing that they had four votes so they could choose both.

Katrina finished a distant fourth in an election where voters were choosing three Aldermen. If anything the results show that Carrboro voters do NOT want Katrina, certainly not that they do.

I don't think Eric is saying that the NT residents are a racial or oppressed minority. I think he (and others) are asking people to think outside the box on representation issues.
In 1979 or 1981, after an unpopular annexation of Barrington Hills (viewed then as the "north") the residents in Barrington Hills (who had felt excluded from the process) organized, and supported a slate of candidates who were antithetical to the then current progressive board. One of the reasons they won a low turnout election is that they were motivated and their supporters voted in MUCH higher numbrs than the average Carrboro resident.


I'm sure the gay and lesbian community is happy to have Mark on there, and I'm sure many racial minorities are glad that Bill Thorpe was elected. The difference between the two of them and Katrina though is that they ran campaigns that were appealing to a wide enough swath of the community to get them elected, whereas Katrina did not.


Being mostly absorbed with Chapel Hill politics I really have no idea who would be interested in filling this vacancy. Were you referring to someone in particular who you think or have heard will be one of the applicants?

Just wanted to add to the mix the back-and-forth going on The Bullhorn (Chris Cameron's blog) at the Daily Tar Heel:


Representation is an interesting and elusive notion. Help me understand your views. If you have some time I would like you to answer two questions, please.

1) Does someone have to come from the annexed area to adequately represent it?

2) What is the test to determine whether a group requires "in-kind representation"?

("In-kind representation" is a term of art I made up--which makes it one hell of a term of art! It means the kind of representation where someone from a group actually represents a group. Let me explain: John Herrera portrayed himself as a representative of the Hispanic community by virtue of being Hispanic. As a Hispanic he would be, in my little lexicographic made-up world, an in-kind representative.)

Now some people might accuse me of trying to trip you up. Actually, knowing the answer to these questions would clarify a lot of things in my mind. In that spirit, I invite anyone who has answers to these questions to weigh in.


When talking about representation, I think it is much more similar to the discussions about district representation on the BOCC. Local government is about local issues, where a road goes, or how new development will affect an existing neighborhood. I would posit that someone who lives in that area and knows what the traffic is like at different times of day, or where kids tend to play etc. can give better representation and better insight to the entire board than someone who rarely if ever spends time there.

Most of the projects, and most of the large agenda items facing the board in the next few years are happening in the part of Carrboro north of Homestead Rd. When I talk about representation of northern neighborhoods, that is what I'm talking about.

There is also a difference in priorities amongst those 27516ers who moved into their homes for the school system( and maybe even a particular school), and those who chose Carrboro over Chapel Hill for its cultural amenities. Negotiating a town budget that addresses the priorities of these two different demographics fairly is pretty tough if no one from the former group is in the room.


Since you've asked questions of Katrina, please allow me to ask a one of question of you.

Did you place any value in coming in 4th in this election? In other words, did it ever occur to you that if you couldn't finish in the top 3 that 4th place might serve a similar purpose?

Here I go again...

Terri, you say. "Cole Store had the highest turnout of any Carrboro district."

Here are Gerry's calculations from the Deck Chairs thread:

Carrboro Voter Turnout Statistics
Precinct Total Voted Total Registered Percent Voted
Absentee 358 NA NA
Carrboro 298 1523 19.57%
Coles Store 264 686 38.48%
Damascus 71 1872 3.79%
Lions Club 274 2828 9.69%
North Carrboro 580 2327 24.92%
OWASA 167 3070 5.44%
Town Hall 295 1803 16.36%
Provisional 0 NA NA
Total 2307 14109 16.35%

The 38.4% is wrong. It is based on a fallacious number. (Most likely the true Carrboro voter % turnout for Coles Store is closer to 16%.) If you insist on believing the 38.4% number than you must also believe that A) there were 264 Carrboro voters and only 108 of them bothered to vote for mayor, and B) almost every Coles Store Carrboro voter one shot on the aldermen vote (264 Carrboro voters, 274 votes cast for aldermen)

Mary, I spoke with the BOE about that odd 264 #. I was told the board is meeting tomorrow to certify the results and will look into this question.


So, your answer to #1 is "yes".

Your answer to #2 is that the test for in-kind representation is one that considers disparate demographics based on geography.

Is that right? Or do you mean that disparate demographics based on geography is only one in a list of legitimate in-kind representations?

Let me be clear. You gave an argument about why in-kind representation is important for the annexed area, which is nice, but not what I asked for. I'm asking for a test (maybe a list of criteria) that triggers a need for in-kind representation. A bright line test would help me determine why the annexed area would require in-kind representation and not other groups, like students, or renters, or police officers, or Asians, or business owners, or the homeless, or libertarians, or republicans. These are all groups with specific needs, agendas, and expectations.


I certainly considered that some people might place a undeservedly high reliance on a fourth place finish. I am going to assume that you understand that a fourth place finisher in a three seat race does not extrapolate to knowing who the fourth place finisher would be in a four seat race.

Terri, please let me know whether you know that outcomes would be different and un-extrapolatable either way. If you don't agree with the statement I can direct you to some well-established game theory and analyses that not only support but prove that contention.

I have chosen to speak to Katrina on the representation issue divorced from the unrelated place-finishing argument precisely because I am addressing Katrina's strongest argument. I want to make sure I have not missed something.

This representation question is a lot more interesting than the previous conversation -- the criteria are elusive. I certainly voted in CH for Bill because I believe we need his voice on the Council. It is a different voice than any of the others.

Identity politics is a very strong force. It'll be interesting to see what the real # of Carrboro voters in Coles Stores is, but if it is anywhere close to 108 (total mayoral votes), Katrina with 101 is at 90% of the voters in that district, right? And as a proxy for the "northern neighborhoods" she describes, that sounds like an incredibly strong statement (not that anyone is or should be asking me).

Carrboro has always had a diverse population. Seems to me that with very different concerns in play for different sides, the geographic diversity that exists in the town should be honored as well.

If Katrina promised to "play nice", would that help, Mary? :)

It's worth pointing out that David's argument indirectly opposes gerryc's argument of 11/14@10:29AM. In this post, gerryc argues that the unique density of support for one candidate in a certain precinct should count in favor of that candidate's appointment to a vacant position. Setting aside for the moment the issue of whether the numbers leading to that conclusion are accurate, this is really an argument for "proportional representation," a term that I think already adequately covers the concept described by David as "in-kind representation." (Sorry, David.)

Proportional representation, as most of us know from civics class, is the theory that governmental bodies should be made up of people who represent certain recognized groups (political parties, men, women, blacks, resident aliens, butter-side-up, etc.) in the proportion in which they exist in the population at large.

Because voting in Carrboro is broken down only by geography, the only type of proportional representation that would be possible under the current system is one in which aldermen represent a particular section of town. Gerryc and others appear to be arguing that the upcoming vacant position should be awarded as if all the positions had been elected under a proportional system, and in particular that the position should go to the person who represents the northernmost precinct.

David appears to be obliquely arguing that this is true only if you hold the preferences of groups identified by geography to be more important than the preferences of groups identified in other ways. For example, it's possible that David got 60% of the law-enforcement vote. We'll never know, because the vote isn't broken down that way. If that were true, perhaps David should get the seat, because otherwise the law-enforcement community would be underrepresented.

This example is intentionally fallacious to demonstrate the problem at hand. I'd like the participants in this argument to clarify whether they are in fact advocating proportional representation by geography as a whole or only in this special case, and if so, why.

I think it is ALWAYS good in a democracy to seek to include new participants at the table ESPECIALLY if they are disaffected.


I think it's hard to place people into arbitrary groups. Since you used John as an example, I'll continue with his candidacy for illustration. John almost certainly was not elected by Hispanics to represent Hispanics, since the vast majority of Carrboro's Hispanic population can't vote. Additionally, "Hispanic" is a rather arbitrary designation that doesn't mean much politically, since south Floridian Cuban Americans are very likely to be conservative and Republican, while Texas dwelling Mexican Americans are overwhelmingly Democrats.

So clearly somebody else ( like maybe the Indy) decided that John represented "Hispanics" and that was a good enough reason to vote for him. I think that's insulting to both John and to the hispanic population.

One of the few things you CAN tell about someone is where they live, and whatever their motivations, the chart clearly represents a different constituency in suburban neighborhoods than in "walkable" Carrboro.

The "vast majority of Carrboro's Hispanic population can't vote." Really? Is this really true? Anyone care to take a stab at this?

Here's a link that profiles North Carolina's Hispanic population.



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