The final countdown

The Primary Election is in one week! (What a great time for a statewide news network to stop reporting and start begging, eh?)  Early voting is still on until Saturday at 1pm at the Board of Elections office in Hillsborough and at the Planetarium on UNC's campus. Remember: you can REGISTER and VOTE in one swell foop only if you vote early, and you can do it in either location. If you vote on Election Day (Tuesday, May 4) you have to do it at the site for the precinct where you are registered. (Check out a sample ballot.)

In Orange County, we'll be selecting members of the County School Board (not city schools, only county) and making partisan nominations for County Commissioner, County Sheriff, State Legislative seats. We'll also be joining the rest of state state in nominating candidates for U.S. Senate and Court of Appeals Judges, but the difference is that the winners of the Democratic Party primary in Orange County will be over the hump, whereas the battle for the Senate will be just beginning. 

Here are some of the resources we've put together on OrangePolitics this year to share information about the candidates...

I'm determining now what we should do on election night. As you may know, I've had a lovely group of UNC stdents helping with OP this semester (you can see their work at, and some are willing to help on Election Day, even though their class and service requirements will already be fulfilled. 

In the past I have done a variety of different things including posting short videos with election updates from various victory parties, and lending my voice on WCOM or WCHL to talk about the election.  I often have more to say than the time allows, so this year I'm considering doing my own little election "show" via short, live videos that will be broadcast hourly here on OrangePolitics. 

I'm interested in any suggestions readers may have about this. Would you like reports from the various victory parties? Authoritative data from the Board of Elections?  Interviews with ... anyone?  Also, we'd like to suggest a Twitter hashtag for the team of folks talking about the election for OP as well the many others like the @DailyTarheel that will also be tweeting the results.  Look for a poll later this week to help pick a hashtag.

We will also be holding OP's annual Pundit of the Year contest next week, so get your prognosticating hats on!




I would encourage anyone unsure of who to vote for in the Senate race to scan this post: NC has several excellent candidates competing to be our nominee to defeat Richard Burr.  CC is the least competative among them, in large part because of his background as lawyer for polluters, bankers, and union-busters.

Hey great bunch of resources, thanks Ruby.  Local elections are so much more meaningful when people have access to information like this.It might be too late, but I think I'll contact the state senate candidates and ask about their support for the NC medical marijuana bill (HB1380) proposed last year.  Not sure if anyone else finds that issue important, but I certainly do.  Ellie Kinnaird has already indicated her support to me, and the state Democratic and Libertarian parties have both passed resolutions in support of medical marijuana and this specific bill.Anyway, thanks again for the great info! 

There have been a lot of suspensions from spring athletic teams by Cedar Ridge High School administration for alleged alcohol & drug use. None of the suspensions involved incidents on school property or actual criminal charges. Furthermore, these suspensions were ordered without parental input or any sort of due process. Many parents of athletes at the school, including me, are attempting to rein in a process that we believe has gone over the line and ill-serves the students. We are also concerned that the way the suspension policies are being executed leaves the School Board vulnerable to an expensive and embarassing lawsuit. We sent a communication to the School Board and surprisingly received no replies. The word is that they wanted to get the election behind them before dealing with this. Chair Anne Medenblik and member Debbie Piscitelli are incumbents running for another term. Neither one felt an obligation to respond to the large number of parents who voiced concerns to them.Mark Marcoplos

Mark, that question was in the Orange County Voice (OCV) questionnaire that you and I put together but the OCV leadership remove it at the last minute. I thought the question should be asked because it applys to both high schools and affects all after school activities not just sports. You are right it is a lawsuit waiting to happen because the student is guilty no matter the outcome of the court's ruling. I hope someone with deep pockets or the ACLU will take the Orange County School Board to task for this one. What are we teaching our young people with this policy?I do support Ms. Medenblik but at the same time I am concern with the disgruntled former coach Calder-Green and clan who support Keith Cook, and Laura Nicholson. For those of you unaware of Ms. Calder-Green I suggest you google the name she and her family have several lawsuits pending against the County Schools.

And an important role of the School Board is to facilitate the airing of issues important to parents. Avoiding issues is the opposite of leadership. law requires ballots to be received by 5:00 pm on the DAY BEFORE the election. New law effective with the primary provides for ALL PRIMARIES AND ELECTIONS that:        a. for military and overseas voters, ballot must be received  by 5:00 pm on Friday, three days AFTER the election. There is no postmark requirement, as the military rarely uses postmarks.        b. for all other voters voters, ballot must be postmarked no later than day of election, and ballot must be received  by 5:00 pm on Friday, three days AFTER the election. This means that the election night unofficial count will no longer be complete, although the board of elections will be able to tell candidates and the press how many ballots have been mailed out and not yet returned, this is the maximum universe of potential late counted ballots.This late counting of ballots is becoming the norm nationwide.I will be able to tell Tuesday how many absentee ballots are still out there statewide and in Orange County and will post.

Thank you for this, Gerry. I'm sure we're all going to be very frustrated to  not have official totals, although it's worth it if more people get to vote.  Hopefully the margins of victory will exceed the number of outstanding ballots, otherwise I guess we'll have to wait and see...

For Orange County there are the following civilian absentee ballots that were mailed out that have not yet come back, those received in the mail today through Friday will be counted:Democrats 21GOP             9Unaffiliated 0 In addition there are military and overseas ballots outstanding, but as explained below these are misleading stats:Democrats  116GOP               34Unaffiliated   60 Under federal law effective through this year's primary, any military or overseas voter who VOTED a ballot in 2008 is automatically sent a ballot for the 2010 primary and general election. About 90% of the military and absentee requests for the 2010 primary are automatic mailouts, and ony about 3% of those ballots are even being voted, while about 75% of the 2010 civilian requests have had ballots returned as of Monday.I think we can expect maybe half the outstanding civilian ballots to be voted by Friday, but at best 5% of the outstanding military/overseas ballots. So look for 10 more civilian Democratic primary ballots to be counted next week, and maybe 5 military and overseas. 

It seems a little unfortunate that the system is set up such that there are up to 197 votes still outstanding for this primary (however unlikely that they all get returned), and election results being called in the case of McKee vs Price with a 90 vote difference.  Even if we don't expect the number of votes actually returned to make a difference, we have a situation where it could, but the election is over, called, & decided before the votes are counted.Is there any way to mail out ballots 3 days earlier, and give them more early vote time instead of tacking it on to the end after election night which results in their votes not being counted until after the election is decided?

No one with any official authority "called" the election. It's just like 2000, the media had to declare a winner in the Presidential election. Americans want immediate gratification, and we don't like soccer (futbol) because there are ties.  There have been plenty of uncounted provisional ballots in past elections.  In any case, due to requirerments of federal law to protect military voters, we can't just back up the start date for absentee voting.  Patience, patience.By the way, statewide in Tuesday and Wednesday's mail the local 100 county boards got 437 civilian, 14 military, and 16 overseas ballots. In past elections these would have essentially gone in the trash. Two more days of mail to go, those numbers will be available Monday morning.


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