Public Forum on Voter-Owned Elections


Monday, February 23, 2009 - 2:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall

What: Public Hearing, Chapel Hill Town Council
When: Monday, February 23, 7:00 p.m.
Why: Come support Voter Owned Elections Monday, February 23

On   July 16, 2007, the Town of Chapel Hill received authorization from the North Carolina General Assembly to establish a Voter Owned Elections (public financing) program for local municipal election campaigns. The Town is the first local government in North Carolina to have received this legislative authority. The State Board of Elections required some improvements to the town's proposed program, so Chapel Hill is having a second public hearing on Monday night. Town Council members invite public input and supporters of Voter Owned Elections should attend the public hearing.

For more information or to RSVP, please email


Angry folks on the right have been organizing against this program saying that it is wasteful and not supported by the majority of Chapel Hill's citizens. We know this is false.

The majority of Chapel Hill residents support this smart, democracy investment that changes the culture of elections and prevents the special interest money chase from creeping into Chapel Hill. But if you don't show up then this viewpoint might be drowned out by the vehement opponents of VOE. And if you don't show up, the program could be viewed as not having the popular support needed to be successful.

With municipalities across North Carolina soon potentially able to create their own public financing programs (HB-120), Chapel Hill's experience with be thoroughly scrutinized. For this reason, this public hearing carries a special weight. If only the ANTI's show up then critics of VOE can legitimately claim that even citizens in liberal Chapel Hill don't support the reform. They can then use this fact to discourage other communities from considering it.

But if dozens of VOE supporters show up tonight, exhibiting nothing more than clapping solidarity, then that argument will have less power.

Do your part and show up tonight. You won't just be speaking (or clapping) for Chapel Hill, you'll be supporting pro-democracy efforts across the state.

that the majority of Chapel Hill residents support this?  I have heard folks all over the political map express both pro and con opinions. I do think that you are right however, it will pass anyway.

I can't be there ins person, but I strongly support this and I hope people will endorse it loudly tonight.

Now that we've had  two public meetings to explain the details of VOE rules in prep of the July 6 election filings for the Nov. 3 election of four concil seats and a mayor, how was the attendance?  As I remember the two goals, one is to break down the financial barriers some citizens might have when running for office, and the other is to end the "problem" of donor-influence on our elections where our cap is $250.Did the forums bring out many interested in running?I still think we ought to get an answer to Matt C's question: do any of the eight sitting council members who have previously run for their seats have specific examples of how anyone has attempted to co-opt them or corrupt them with offers of campaign cash? Are there any police reports on these "crimes?"PS: It's not helpful to suggest that everyone who opposes VOEs are "on the right."  Many on the left love the 1st Amendment.

The April 29th forum had a small turnout that included Mark Kleinschmidt, Sally Greene and Penny Rich. Dan Goldberg had a good write-up in the May 1st Herald Sun, with an example towards the end that seems to address your 3rd question.   


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