Vote Tuesday, no really

So there's an election again on Tuesday, in which Democrats get to select whether Elaine Marshall or Cal Cunnigham will run against US Senator Richard Burr in the fall. (I'm partial to Elaine, but I really don't care which one wins as long as he or she beats Burr.) Voters in the northern and western* part of Orange County will also be settling a near-tie for fourth place in the nonpartisan Orange County Board of Education race.  By all accounts (, your choices seem to be dumb and dumber, so good luck with that!

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't realize there would be one-stop early voting for this run off until it started a couple of weeks ago. You can only do it at the Board of Elections office in Hillsborough and it ends Saturday afternoon. Get the info at or just vote on Tuesday at your own poll site like you would on any other election day.

With so little to draw people out, I wonder if this will be one of the state's lowest turnout elections ever? 

* Corrected 6/21/10. 



I drove up to Hillsborough yesterday and was voter 528. I wouldn't have been surprised to have had a lower number since no one I "know" outside of twitter and OP is talking about it. 

I was Voter 202 on June 9th.  My husband is spending the summer in Greece, so we wanted to vote before he left town, otherwise Hillsborough would have been a bit of a hike when we could have waited until election day and voted near our home.  I have to imagine that a lot of voters are waiting for just that.This election I expect will be especially bad for student voter representation.  No early voting near campus for those students are in town to walk to.  And then there are all the students who have updated their registration to Chapel Hill who are home for the summer who probably wont vote either.On the other hand, another way to look at it is that those of us who chose to vote get more say than usual due to the low turnout.For the record, I too am partial to Elaine.  On LGBT issues she has take on DOMA repeal and UAFA on her campaign website, but Cal does not.  Cal Cunningham has said he supports UAFA (to allow bi-national gay couples to be together) but wont put it up on his campaign website even though he already has a gay rights section.The main difference in the candidates, as highlighted by the debates, is that Elaine opposed the surge in Afghanistan and seems to want to get our troops home in short order, whereas Cal us to stay until we finish the job.I am a fan of Cal's strong support of Voter Owned Elections.So I voted Elaine, but I'll gladly take Cal as an improvement over Burr any day.  I'm going to keep pushing Cal on UAFA though until its on his website.As far as viability against Burr goes, Elaine came in first in the first round of the primaries, and in 2008 she had more votes in NC than Obama, Hagan, or Perdue which I think says something for her ability to garner broad support.

"On the other hand, another way to look at it is that those of use who choose to vote get more say than usual due to the low turnout." Change "choose" to "get."   If you were able to vote during a weekday in early voting then you are a beneficiary of a system that gives an advantage to people with your schedule at the expenseo of people with my schedule.  Consider yourself privileged.

Please let Cal know that you support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and that you want him to say as much on his LGBT equality section of his website.  UAFA is legislation that would give binational gay couples the same right to be together that straight couples have.Go here and leave a comment on his wall asking him to include UAFA on his website (I posted this on my facebook & a few people have already started to do this): I think this will be an easy sell because...

  •  Cal already has an Equality/Civil Right section on his website
  •  Cal already supports UAFA as he said on a Pam's House Blend liveblog:  "I believe we must address UAFA as part of comprehensive immigration reform"

I believe they worked up their Equality section before Cal had the chance to do the liveblog on Pam's House Blend and get deeper into LGBT specific issues.  And I know the campaign has been crazy since then, especially with the runoff.  But it is important that Cal stand up on this issue.  Cal & company clearly care about reaching out to LGBT voters, they have people posting letters here on BlueNC, in the Lexington Dispatch, they participated on a PHB liveblog, they have some LGBT issues on their website, and they have reached out to some LGBT leaders in the state.Cal, putting this one line on your website will do more to show me, and I imagine many other LGBT voters in the state, that you still have our concerns on your mind than any supporter letter will do, and it will help educate more people about the inequality that UAFA seeks to address.  Please add a line about your already stated support of UAFA to the equality section before the runoff election date.

I'm not a Democrat so I can't get in on the action, but yes please please please give us someone who can defeat Burr.

You just have to not be registered as a Republican and not have selected a Republican ballot in the first primary vote this year.  (I can't believe how often I have to tell people this.)

The Board of Elections is located right behind where Hog Day is being held this year on Saturday.  Cameron Street will be open to traffic, although it will be more congested than usual.  Take that into consideration if you were planning to vote on Saturday, or plan to go to Hog Day AND vote.  

I'm so glad you pointed this out, Elizabeth!  I was planning to head up there on Saturday as it's very hard for me to get to my poll site on Tuesdays (I can only get there by car, but I normally commute by bus and foot.  It's one of those many voting sites that's not actually in the neighborhood it serves.)  Now I'm not sure how I'm going to vote.

Someone mentioned Hog Day and Early Voting - Hillsborough Hog Day is ALL DAY, but EARLY VOTING ENDS AT 1:00 on Saturday.

Footnote for those voters living outside of the Chapel Hill Township you can vote in the Orange County School Board race. You don't have to live in "northern part of Orange County" as stated by geography challenged Ms. Sinreich to vote in the School Board race.

If we are going to have a discussion of schools and local geography, I don't believe there is a local legal entity of "Chapel Hill Township".  The Chaple Hill Carrboro City School District draws students from both towns, the extra judicial territories of both towns, as well as portions of Orange county outside of the towns and EJT's along the western and northern borders of the district.

Can you name the 7 townships in Orange County?

bingham, chapel hill, Cheeks, Hillsborough, Eno, Cedar Grove, Little river

Very good but I was hoping Mr. Danner would answer. All the areas he included are part of the Chapel Hill Township which is the CH/Carrboro School System.Mark is right about the township advisory councils (TAC) in the 90's. I was a member of the Bingham TAC. Shortly after our current Planning Dept head came the advisory council disappeared. The TACs advised the planning board and dept. on zoning and plannig issue in their area.

I was mistaken about the non-existance of Chapel Hill Township.  However, if you open the following two links you will see that, in fact, Chapel Hill Township is geographically larger than the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School districts.  Therefore, I call the geography quiz results a tie.

Townships were governmental units post civil war through late 19th century. Justices of the peace for each township met together and ran the county, pre county-commissioners, but justices of the paeace were appointed by the General Assembly. Even after townships withered as governmental units and JPs lost their judicial and administrative powers, the General Assembly still appointed them, see this 1963 legislation: ACT TO APPOINT JUSTICES OF THE PEACE FOR THE SEVERAL COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA. The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:Section 1. The following named persons are hereby appointed justices of the peace for their respective townships and counties in North Carolina, for a term of two years, said terms to begin on July 1, 1963, unless otherwise provided in this Act: .....ORANGE COUNTYChapel Hill Township: Mrs. LaRue C. Farlow.....also see GS 153A-19 Establishing and naming townships.(a)        A county may by resolution establish and abolish townships, change their boundaries, and prescribe their names, except that no such resolution may become effective during the period beginning January 1, 1998, and ending January 2, 2000, and any resolution providing that the boundaries of a township shall change automatically with changes in the boundaries of a city shall not be effective during that period. The current boundaries of each township within a county shall at all times be drawn on a map, or set out in a written description, or shown by a combination of these techniques. This current delineation shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk.(b)        Any provision of a city charter or other local act which provides that the boundaries of a township shall change automatically upon a change in a city boundary shall not be effective during the period beginning January 1, 1998, and ending January 2, 2000.(c)        The county manager or, where there is no county manager, the chairman of the board of commissioners, shall report township boundaries and changes in those boundaries to the United States Bureau of the Census in the Boundary and Annexations Survey. In responding to the surveys, each county manager or, if there is no manager, chairman of the board of commissioners shall consult with the county board of elections and other appropriate local agencies as to the location of township boundaries, so that the Census Bureau's mapping of township boundaries does not disagree with any county voting precinct boundaries that may be based on township boundaries. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1987, c. 715, s. 1; c. 879, s. 2; 1993, c. 352, s. 1; 1995, c. 423, s. 4.)In 1901, Hillsborough Township was divided into Eno, Cheeks, and Hillsborough, with part of Little River being added to Eno that same year.

and tell us the relevancy of townships. I believe the relevancy has been allowed to slip away because they (Democratic Party operatives) didn't want local power units.

county government will not be able to step up and tell you the relevance of townships because they are irrelevant.Townships largely became inoperative and irelevant when the General Assembly made county government elective instead of being run by JPs appointed by the General Assembly on a township basis.  There were township taxing districts for roads throughout the state (not sure about Orange) until 1937 when the General Assembly took over roadbuilding and forbade counties and townships from building roads. Many of them had gone bankrupt in the Great Depression. 

Seven years after the Constitution of 1868 established the county commissioners and township systems, political control shifted to the conservatives. At a constitutional convention in 1875, the Constitution of North Carolina was amended to authorize the General Assembly to modify the plan of county government established in 1868. The legislature was quick to exercise its authority in this matter. The board of county commissioners was not abolished, but members were to be chosen by the justices of the peace of the county rather than by the people at large. While the commissioners retained their responsibilities, decisions on matters of substance could not be put into effect without the concurrence of a majority of the justices - all of whom were elected by the legislature. The justices were made responsible for conducting all elections. In more than a few counties, the board of commissioners was also made subject to legislative appointment. This troubling arrangement lasted for twenty years. In 1895, the right of the people to elect county commissioners was restored in most counties, and the necessity for approval of the board's decisions by the justices of the peace was repealed. Townships were stripped of their powers, but they were retained as convenient administrative subdivisions, primarily for road building and maintenance purposes. Finally, in 1905 the people of all 100 counties regained direct control over the board of commissioners through the ballot box.

What purpose do townships serve?Ben SteelmanStarNews Not much, really. In North Carolina, townships exist primarily as convenient geographical subdivisions of counties. They have no local officials of their own. Newcomers from other states, such as New Jersey or Pennsylvania, are often confused by the terminology, said Chris May, executive director of the Cape Fear Council of Governments. There, townships handle many of the functions that counties do in North Carolina. In the Tar Heel State, however, townships mainly serve to draw voting precincts or to sort property tax records, May said......Things weren’t always this way; in fact, for a few years in the 1800s, townships were a pretty big deal. They were created under the state Constitution of 1868, written (under congressional order) by a mostly-Republican state convention. The convention’s delegates wanted to reform North Carolina’s system of local government, which had been controlled by tight little “courthouse rings.” County government had been controlled mostly by justices of the peace who were named by state legislators, rather than being elected directly by the people. As the history books put it, a lot of the delegates were familiar with local government in other states, (Translation: many of them were “Carpetbaggers,” in the unkind terminology of ex-Confederates.) In this case, they decided to adopt something like the township system as it existed in Pennsylvania. Under the Constitution of 1868, each county was subdivided into townships. Each township was supposed to elect two justices of the peace and a clerk, each for two-year terms. These officials would form a three-member governing board, who would collect local taxes and have charge of certain government functions, such as building roads and bridges. Each township would also have a three-member school committee, which acted as a local board of education, and one or more constables, who acted as part-time law enforcement officers.Democrats and ex-Confederates loathed this system, and when they regained control of the legislature in 1877, they moved fast to dismantle it. Under constitutional amendments ratified in 1877, townships lost most of their powers, including taxation; the township clerk position was abolished, and justices of the peace were no longer elected directly. The school committees lingered for a few more years, but their work was taken over by county boards of education. 

This is the first election in my entire voting life that I am considering not voting. Despite Mark and Ruby's suggestion several months ago that Dems make a statement to the party by going Independent, I've held out hoping things would change. But for months now, every email I've received from Elaine Marshall has been about how awful Richard Burr is (now some of them also attack Cunningham). Cal Cunningham's emails aren't much better. I've unsubscribed myself from Marshall's distribution list 2-3 times, and twice also notified the campaign staff that I don't care about how awful Burr is, what I want to know is what Marshall believes and stands for and that I would be happy to resubscribe if they could provide more informational messages on Elaine Marshall herself. Not only do I not get a response, but then I get added back to the distribution list.The single, biggest political problems we have in this country (IMHO) is the political parties fingering point at the other problem on every single issue, holding up legislation that they didn't propose, and generally turning our national governance into quagmire. I have no confidence that either Marshall or Cunningham will do anything to improve that situation. Goodness knows Burr is one of the contributors. So what's the point in voting? Bad communicatioin on issues and pitifully poor use of the technology for campaigning. To Cunningham's credit, when I unsubscribed, he left me unsubscribed, so
he may end up getting my vote if I decide to vote. 

to preserve my perfect voting record there have been two meaningless runoffs that I voted a blank ballot. In 1982 At Colonial Heights in a State Auditor runoff I checked in, got my ballot and immediately dropped  it in the box. The chief judge began shoouting "you forgot to mark your ballot" I answered "I didn't forget"

I'd encourage everyone to vote for Marshall. She is in favor of getting out of Afghanistan.Want to know why we have funding problems? About $2600 per citizen in the U.S. goes to the annual military budget.

that lapsed in the 90's, I think. They just unceremoniously went away. The county government is quite capable of stepping up and reporting on the relevancy of townships by telling us they are irrelevant and telling us why.

Okay, I'll vote Tuesday.  Send me the money it will cost me to take the time off of work to vote and I'll be glad to vote on Tuesday.Why should it cost people money in order to vote?  Didn't they used to call that a poll tax?

How long do you work on Tuesday?

6:30 to 7:30

Shame on you for saying our choices are "Dumb and Dumber" for the Orange County Board of Education. Not one of the 8 candidates in the BOE election, nor the 2 in the runoff deserve such disrespect by insulting their intelligence. You also showed your own lack of knowledge and disrespect for all of Orange County School District by referring to us as the "voters of the northern part of Orange County." We live from the Caswell and Person County lines, all the way to Chatham County line, south of Hwy 86, south of Hwy 54, and south of Chapel Hill-Greensboro Hwy. Please treat us with respect. Thank you.

I've corrected my geographic description of the Orange County School District. As you and your husband are so fond of pointing out, it does include western Orange County.  I wish there was a more elegant way to just say "everything but Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and their outskirts" but that doesn't really roll off the fingers.As for my description of the two school board candidates, I'm kind of surprised that no-one else mentioned it.  It is kind of rude (even by my own standards).  I was hoping that remark might solicit some evidence to the contrary, but I'm still waiting on that.

The western boundary is the Chapel Hill-Bingham Township line, the southern and eastern is the county line. The northern boundary is inside Chapel Hill Township, I think it may follow a power line or road.

It's not much of an excuse, but I've been out of town and out of touch with the various candidates' platforms.  I came back to a stack of robocalls from Marshall and Wesley Clark, and I hung up on all of them before I heard what they had to say - I despise robocalling and it's almost enough to make me vote against someone, although I want Burr GONE very much and I'd like to make this vote count.  Who has the best chance against him?Otherwise if anyone's willing to give a quick thumbnail assessment of their preferred candidates, I'd be interested.  Of course, your vote is private, but up for all opinions you're willing to make public.

is how I view this situation.Elaine Marshall, as Sec of State & a former State Senator, has a pretty solid background.Borrowing from this posting

In addition, Marshall is a proven vote‐getter. In 2004, when Bush
carried the Republican ticket, Marshall received over 100,000 more votes
than Burr, and in 2008, she received the second highest vote total in
North Carolina history.
In the PPP poll taken on June 8, Marshall trails Burr by only 7 points
and is the only candidate among Burr, Cal Cunningham and Marshall who
has a net positive approval rating. She is also competitive across
demographic and geographic lines. She leads Burr among women and in the
919 area code (Triangle). She is tied with him in all of eastern North
Carolina and the 704 area code (Charlotte). In contrast, Cunningham
trails Burr heavily in virtually every category.

In 2008 she got more votes than Obama, Perdue, or Hagan, so I think she has some real bipartisan viability.  Cal on the other hand as a former state senator with a military background could be appealing to NC voters too.They are both good on gays rights stuff, but Elaine is better.  Cal is stronger on supporting Voter Owned Elections which is something I like.Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is Elaine opposed the Apghanistan surge, whereas Cal supported it and would like us to stay until the job is done.  Although I don't think either of them are anywhere close to the republican position of no-timelines/indefinite war. Burr is so bad for NC in so many ways that I will be excited to vote for either candidate come Nov.  But to answer your question of who has the best chance against Burr, the answer is Elaine.  She has consistantly polled better than Cal against Burr, and has a history of doing really well in elections, including being the top vote getting in the first primary.  No argument for viability can be stronger than that.

I think Elaine Marshall has the best chance of beating Richard Burr, and so I voted for her. But I will also happily support either her or Cal Cunningham in the fall.Ideally I'd like to combine Elaine's personality and politics with Cal's campaign tactics and energy. If she wins the runoff, perhaps she'll hire whoever is making everything happen over there.

I can say knowing both candidates that we'd do well with either of them. They do come from different political generations. I first met Elaine in the 1972 McGovern for President campaign (Cal was born in 1973), and I later worked with Elaine when she was a State Senator. I met Cal in 1994 or 1995 when he was running for student body president at Carolina and he called me a number of times the year he was SBP.  I worked with him again when he was in the State Senate.

is preferable to meeting our needs at home. Think drones killing inocent people for enough money to bail out county school systems. Think young people dying for natural gas and minerals. Think of a candidate - Cunningham - who does not have the basic understanding of the American Empire. Don't elect someone who is dumber than you.


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