Local politics on campus

Guest Post by Ryan Tuck

For the first time in its history The Daily Tar Heel will host a municipal elections forum designed to attract more University community interest in municipal elections. The 329 student-aged voters who participated in 2003 are a constant reminder that the campus community has held a passing interest in local political affairs. We feel a responsibility to help change that.

With co-sponsors in student government, the College Republicans, Young Democrats, VoteCarolina, Black Student Movement, the Graduate and Professional Student Federation and the Interfraternity Council, we will host an informal community speak-out style forum THIS WEDNESDAY from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Greenlaw 101 - the one next to Lenoir Dining Hall. A map is available at: http://sils.unc.edu/about/visit.html.

All Chapel Hill Town Council and Carrboro Board of Aldermen candidates are coming to be able to meet and chat with students in a very relaxed atmosphere. Jonathan Howes, special to the chancellor for local affairs and former Chapel Hill mayor, also will attend. Attendees will be able to converse with all candidates in attendance, register to vote or change their voter registration information and learn about the impacts of municipal elections on area life. Each organization, with the DTH at the helm, is assembling an information brief on the ways local municipalities affect the university. It is our hope that at least 500 students will come to this first forum of its kind and help create a healthy buzz around local elections that could translate into acceptable turnout numbers. We also want all members of the community to attend as no sphere is isolated in this area.

The Daily Tar Heel also has announced a date for its formal candidate forum for the council and aldermen. The newspaper will host the candidates in a Town Hall-style forum setting on Thursday, October 6th from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Questions will be split between half read by me and half asked by audience members in attendance. My questions will be a mix between those generated by the newspaper's editorial board and several submitted by readers. All are invited to attend the forum, which will be held on campus in Greenlaw 101. Directions: Greenlaw is the building between Bingham and Lenoir. Parking is available on Emerson and Lenoir drives or anywhere on campus, as it is after 5 p.m. An aerial map is provided here: http://sils.unc.edu/about/visit.html.

Please contact me at rctuck@email.unc.edu or 919.962.4086 if you have questions regarding either forum.

We hope to see you all out at both of these forums, which we hope will really kickstart this election season and spark some enthusiasm about municipal politics.

Ryan C. Tuck is the editor of the Daily Tar Heel. He blogs at http://apps.dailytarheel.com/blogs/editor.php



I'd like to encourage all the candidates who are attending the on-campus forums to get to campus by some other means than driving. I know some of you all don't use the bus system, so here's a great chance to get exactly where so many of us go on a daily basis. And if it's not convenient to take the bus, perhaps that's food for thought as you campaign and serve.

Good point and well-put, Joan!

I'll be there tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing how many students are interested in local issues.

I'll come on over from Raleigh, sounds like fun! Unfortunately no TTA that late in the evening, so I'll be driving.

Hey, great. Don't y'all leave before I get there. (I've got a prior engagement at 7.)

I've got class til 8, so I might not make it.

I have had some stuff come up, and at this point it looks like I may not make it at all. Anyone there care to liveblog? Or at least give us a report? ;-)

Katrina Ryan, Alex Zaffron, Mark Chilton, Randee Haven-ODonnell, John Herrera, and David Marshall were all representing from Carrboro. There was a conflicting meeting at the Century Center regarding the Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida and so I think Catherine Devine and Jacquie Gist were over there instead.

Bill Thorpe, Will Raymond, Laurin Easthom, Robin Cutson, Mark Kleinschmidt, Ed Harrison, Jason Baker and Walker Rutherford were all there as well. That is every last one of the CH Town Council candidates.

I met Gerry Cohen in person for the first time. Gerry and I have corresponded by email and talked on the phone numerous times, but until tonight had never met in person. The DTH took a group photo of Gerry, Jason Baker and me - so that will turn up somewhere in the DTH if Jason wins, I imagine.

The event itself was mostly informal discussion between students and candidates. The only structured part of the event was the introductory remarks which were made by Jonathan Howes. Jonathan was kind enough to introduce both Gerry and me as examples of people who had demonstrated that student voters can and do make a difference.

Jonathan also spoke to the question of why students should vote and be involved. He pointed out that many UNC students will end up remaining here for much of their adult lives and that their involvement now may significantly affect the future of the area. He also pointed out that students have a significant interest in the here and now of town services as well.

I would add to what Jonathan said that, although few of the early 1970's UNC students are still here now, the student body did lots of advocacy work in the 1970's that culminated in the creation of Chapel Hill Transit. Few of those visionary students ever got to ride the bus system that they helped create, but they made life easier for generations of students that followed.

Jonathan also remarked on the idea that arises from time to time that there should be a designated "student seat" on the Chapel Hill Town Council. He mentioned that College Park, MD has such a system. But Jonathan thought that a seat reserved just for a member of the student body was a bad idea. He expressed the opinion that in any college town students deserve a seat if and when they work hard enough to win one.

And I will add that the students may be getting ready to do just that.

yes, Mark Chilton and I have been playing telephone tag since 1991 ... he comes by my office every two or three years and leaves me a note ... but I'm usually at a meeting ... :)

While a number of tonight's participants are leaders on campus, leaders that plan to motivate their constituencies to turnout, I'm not counting on that alone.

My challenge to the students, which I'll be reiterating tomorrow 11:30-1pm at the Pit, is to drag 3 friends along with them to vote. Maybe between a top down and bottom up approach UNC students will triple their turnout and break a thousand votes this year.

One surprise, the message on early voting is NOT getting out. Nearly every student I've spoken is unaware of the 18 day early voting window. If the DTH can get one message out, I hope it's that voting will be extremely easy and convenient if done early.

I talked to everyone I could tonight about the need to put information in voters faces about such nitty gritty issues as address changes, deadlines, etc. Will, I think the DTH is planning to put a lot of effort into informing its readers about how to vote, when, where, etc. I asusme that when early voting starts there will be LOTS of publicity.

Thanks to Ryan, the DTH staff, and the forum cosponsors for putting together a nice event tonight.

Orange County News Release today:

Sample ballots for the November 8, 2005 Orange County elections have been posted at the link below.


Thanks, Mark! We'll link to this on our 2005 Election Guide, which is the appropriate place for it. http://orangepolitics.org/elections-2005

Bummer the local board of elections was not unanimous in approval of superprecincts. Guess some don't really want to make it too easy for those on campus to vote! http://www.dailytarheel.com/

Oh... and the Segway scooter... what a secret weapon... every candidate should get one... hmm... do I see a Fellini role in someone's future?

Hype is the awkward and desperate attempt to convince journalists that what you've made is worth the misery of having to review it.
[on Hype], A Fellini Lexicon, Edited by D Pettigrew (2003)

I don't think the super precinct (vote centers) idea is dead, just hibernating.

Gerry you might be the best to comment on this ----

What is the role of League of Women voters? I thought their mission is to advocate voting by providing information about where and when to vote and education of voters on a wide range of issues with non-partisian candidate information. I am not seeing much presence in this election with respect to either of the above.
Glad to see the DTH taking a proavtive role.

Mary, I suspect the ID for voting will continue to be a major issue here as well as across the nation.

From the DTH:

William Knight, a member of the board of elections, was the only dissenting vote against the superprecinct.

Knight said he voted against the measure because it did not include a provision for voter identification.

He said the board sent a letter to the General Assembly asking that it include mandatory voter identification in the superprecinct legislation.

Kinnaird said she did not want voter identification included in the bill because it could intimidate potential voters.

“It can be used to deny people votes, because it can make it very difficult,” she said.

She said that without a driver's license, the obstacle of finding acceptable identification could dissuade voters.

Here is some blind speculation on my part. (Call it a reporter's hunch, nothing more.)

Mr. Knight is a Republican:


I know some members of the county GOP were upset at the change in the superprecinct bill; as Sen. Kinnaird originally filed it, it would have affected the entire county, but the bill as passed limited the area affected to Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Some rural Orange County GOPers felt disenfranchised and slighted by that change.

Any relation to Mr. Knight's vote? I have no idea. But I plan on giving him a call tomorrow.

In the State House, there was a vote on whether to require voter ID in the Orange County vote centers bill, my recollection is the first time it was a straight party line 57-60 vote against it,

the second vote was straight party line 54-58 except Faison voted yes.
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/voteHistory/RollCallVoteTranscript.pl?sSe... (the difference between the 1st and 2nd amendments is that the second amendment allowed the voter without ID to vote a provisional ballot and send ID to the Board of Elections up toa week after the election and have the vote counted.

The proposed ID requirement was NOT as onerous as the new Georgia law which allows ONLY a drivers license, the two ptropsoed amendment would have, for instance, allowed a student ID to suffice.

The final House vote on the bill
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/voteHistory/RollCallVoteTranscript.pl?sSe... was 61-51

Interestingly, the first Senate vote on the bill was 48-0, the final Senate vote was 31-17 after it became a partisan issue.

As far as the issue of whether GOP members form Northern Orange were against the bill because northern orange was excluded (the Senate passed bill included the whole county), I would say that the bill was limited to Chapel Hill-Carrboro by amendment of Rep. Faison BECAUSE the proposals really only works if there is boradband internet access at all the vote center sites and many of the potential voting locations north of Hillsborough simply don't have the availabilty.

From listening to the floor debate, it mirrored much of the antional debate over voter ID and the big partisan split over that issue.

After the bill became hung up for weeks on the partisan issue, another bill was enacted that provided that if the bill was not used in 2005 (and it won't be), it could instead be used in 2007. The bill can also be used in 2006.

I'm posting this under this thread because of the recent doleful DTH article anticipating a poor turnout from campus. I've now spoken with more students than voted in 2003 and I'm a bit more confident than the DTH that they'll turnout.

Let's hope we don't have Greensboro's outcome, as related by "theShu" at Greensboro is Talking

The wicked-low voter turnout at last weeks primary elections in Greensboro and Guilford County has prompted some interesting responses...

More here with a link to a nice post-primary video of some of the candidate's responses.

The problem with the DTH analysis is that it looks at the 1200+ undergraduates who registered this fall in isolation. It does not mention the 7,500 who registered last year or the 2,300 who registered in 2003 and are, if they still live in Orange County, eligible to vote. It also does not mention graduate and professional students, who are mostly over age 22 and are MORE likely to register and vote. In fact, with the almost 10,000 undergards registering the two prior years, other than incoming freshmen, the well of potential voters to register was nonexistent, any upperclassman who was planning to register in Chapel Hill/Carrboro already had. In fact, I thought the 1200+ registering in 2005 was quite HIGH given all the other factors I mentioned above.

DTH endorsements are a surprise-

Foy, Kleinschmidt, Easthom, Raymond, Thorpe.

Feel bad for Jason Baker, but the endorsees are all solid progressives- wouldn't have expected this after all the editorials the DTH has written over the last couple years baiting the town.

But I'll take it.

And I'll take a new thread on the topic, if the moderators are so inclined. ;-)

What is the DTH's recent record? Do candidates they endorse win?


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