Voters will make big decisions this year about the future of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and whittle down what may be one of the largest group of candidates to ever run for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board.
Three new mayors will be elected to replace outgoing leaders in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough.
Chapel Hill’s mayoral and Town Council races could be the ones to watch, since the candidates share many of the same goals, but differ on how to get there. Political action committees and blogs are generating intense dialogue.
A key zoning change to allow duplexes and accessory homes in neighborhoods is central to current Council member and mayoral candidate Adam Searing’s bid — and that of his four-member council slate — to grab a majority and overturn recent town decisions.
Searing’s opponent, Jess Anderson, is a fellow council member who supported the zoning change, which passed on a split 6-3 vote. Council member Amy Ryan, who opposed the change, is the only incumbent council member on the Nov. 7 ballot.
That leaves voters to elect at least three new members this year, replacing Anderson and Council members Michael Parker and Tai Huynh.
Carrboro voters will elect at least two new council members to replace outgoing members Susan Romaine and Sammy Slade. Council member Eliazar Posada is running alongside four newcomers. Council member Barbara Foushee is running unopposed to replace outgoing Mayor Damon Seils. The new council could fill Foushee’s vacant council seat next year.
Hillsborough Mayor Jennifer Weaver also is not running again, and current Town Board member Mark Bell is unopposed in the race to replace her. Incumbent board members Matt Hughes and Evelyn Lloyd are running against two challengers to fill three seats.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board race, after initially attracting 19 candidates because of a rumor that the conservative Moms for Liberty group might put candidates in the race, has since been narrowed to 14 people. The other five withdrew from the race before the Nov. 7 ballots were printed, Orange County elections Director Rachel Raper said.
Incumbent Chair Rani Dasi and board members Deon Temne and Aston Powell will compete with 11 challengers to fill four seats. Board member Jillian La Serna did not file for re-election.
These are the candidates
▪ Chapel Hill mayor: Jess Anderson, Adam Searing
▪ Chapel Hill Town Council: David Adams, Breckany Eckhardt, Jeffrey Hoagland, Melissa McCullough, Jonathan (Jon) Mitchell, Theodore Nollert, Amy Ryan (incumbent), Elizabeth Sharpe, Renuka Soll, Erik Valera
▪ Carrboro mayor: Barbara Foushee
▪ Carrboro Town Council: Catherine Fray, Jason Merrill, April Mills, Eliazar Posada (incumbent), Stephanie Wade
▪ Hillsborough mayor: Mark Bell
▪ Hillsborough Board of Commissioners: Meaghun Darab, Matt Hughes (incumbent), Evelyn Lloyd (incumbent), Victoria Joy Masika
▪ Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education: Meredith Ballew, Rani Dasi (incumbent), Vickie Feaster Fornville, Barbara Fedders, Jane Gabin, Solomon Gibson III, Mariela Hernandez, Honoria Middough, Renee Peet, Ashton Powell (incumbent), Michelle Rissling, Taylor Tally, Deon Temne (incumbent), Allison Willis
▪ Meet the candidates: newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/voter-guide/article276897353.html
Carrboro mayor and council: Thursday, Sept. 21, 6-7:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Park amphitheater, Hillsborough Road, Carrboro. Sponsored by NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Community Empowerment Fund, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service and Empowerment Inc. More info: facebook.com/events/239143512443007
Chapel Hill mayor and council: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Hanes Hall Room 0121 on UNC’s campus. Sponsored by UNC Young Democrats. More info: facebook.com/events/830927295330298
Chapel Hill mayor and council: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2-5 p.m., McDougle Middle School, Carrboro. Sponsored by the Chinese School of Chapel Hill. More info: facebook.com/events/247024614486587
All local races: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 8-10 a.m., Carolina Inn, 211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill. Sponsored by the Carolina Chamber and the Carrboro Business Alliance. Tickets cost $35 for members, $50 for non-members. More info: tinyurl.com/xpzbppfp.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board: Monday, Oct. 16, 7-9 p.m., Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill. Sponsored by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools PTA Council, Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Branch Education Committee, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators and League of Women Voters. Submit questions through Sept. 25 at tinyurl.com/3kwbr7s8.
Chapel Hill mayor and council: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 3-4:30 p.m., 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Carol Woods Retirement Community.
Host your own event: The town of Chapel Hill offers space for public forums at Town Hall or the Chapel Hill Library. More info: tinyurl.com/3x55kf8c.
Who can vote
▪ To vote you must be at least 18 years old on Nov. 7. You also must be a U.S. citizen, and a resident of Orange or Durham counties and the state of North Carolina for at least 30 days before the election.
▪ You cannot be registered or voting in any other county or state.
▪ Convicted felons must complete active sentences, including probation, parole or post-release supervision before registering to vote.
▪ If you move within the same county, let the Board of Elections know in writing about your new address. You may have to vote at a new precinct location on Election Day.
Voter ID required
This is the first year that all voters have to show a valid photo ID when they check in to vote. Voters without a valid ID will be able to fill out an ID exception form and vote with a provisional ballot, but will have to bring a valid photo ID to the local Elections office after the election.
Acceptable forms of identification include:
▪ A North Carolina driver’s license or state identification card
▪ A driver’s license or identification card from another state or territory (only for voters who registered 90 days before the election)
▪ A U.S. passport or passport card
▪ A North Carolina voter photo ID card from the Elections office
▪ An ID card issued by a college or university, state or local government, or charter school
Here’s how to get a free voter ID card: newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article277893428.html.
Register to vote
Voters can register through 5 p.m. Oct. 13 to vote in this year’s elections, or register during early voting. Voters casting a ballot on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 7 — will only be allowed to vote in the precinct in which they are registered.
Registration forms are available online and at the local Board of Elections office. Only original signatures are accepted.
▪ Orange County residents can drop off their registration form in person or mail it to P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
▪ Durham County residents can drop off their registration form in person at the Durham County Board of Elections, 201 N. Roxboro St., Durham, NC 27701. Durham County forms also can be mailed to Durham County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 868, Durham, NC 27702.
▪ Same-Day registration: Voters can fill out an application and vote on the same day at any Early Voting site. Proof of the voter’s name and address is required and can include an N.C. driver’s license or government-issued photo ID; a current utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, government check or government document; a valid student photo ID or document from a college or university that includes a student’s name and on-campus address.
Early voting starts Oct. 19 and runs through Nov. 4. Voters can cast a ballot at any Early Voting site. Here are the locations and hours:
▪ Locations: Orange Works at Hillsborough Commons: 113 Mayo St., Hillsborough
▪ Hours: Oct. 19-20, Oct. 23-27, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 28, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Oct. 29, noon to 4 p.m.; Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 31, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
▪ Locations: Carrboro Town Hall Complex, 108 Bim St., Carrboro; Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill Library, 100 Library Drive, Chapel Hill
▪ Hours: Oct. 26-27, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 28, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Oct. 29, noon to 4 p.m.; Oct. 30, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Nov. 1-3, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
▪ Locations: North Regional Library, 221 Milton Road; East Regional Library, 211 Lick Creek Lane; Durham County Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.; South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Ave.; NCCU Turner Law Building, 640 Nelson St.
▪ Hours: Oct. 19-Nov. 4 weekday hours, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, noon to 4 p.m.; Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Registered voters who cannot cast a ballot in person during Early Voting or at their local precinct on Election Day can request an absentee, or mail-in, ballot.
The deadline for most voters to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 31. However, active members of the military, their spouse and dependents, and U.S. citizens who are overseas have until 5 p.m. Nov. 6 to request an absentee ballot.
Request a ballot online or submit a request via mail at PO Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278, or in person at the Orange County elections office, 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough.
Ballots can be dropped off at any Early Voting site or submitted to the local Board of Elections office. The deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 7.