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Chapel Hill council back UNC voting rights petition

Chapel Hill’s Town Council joined UNC students Monday in support of early voting and student voting rights.

An N.C. House bill would shorten early voting periods, end same-day voter registration and require students to vote in their home county or by absentee ballot. A second, Senate bill would keep parents from claiming students as dependents on their taxes if they register to vote in another county or register their vehicles at a different address.

Shelby Hudspeth, director of state and external affairs for UNC’s Student Body, said the proposed legislation would negatively affect student voting rights and create a tax burden on parents. Similar resolutions have been sent to more than a hundred House and Senate members, news outlets and others, she said.

“UNC students consider the town of Chapel Hill their home. Many of us are active in the community, whether it’s through volunteering, having a job on Franklin Street or spending time on Franklin Street, so we feel that we should be able to participate actively through voting in elections here,” she said.

Before the council voted, Council member Matt Czajkowski pointed out that the town's support probably wouldn’t carry any authority with the state.

“Do you think that the town of Chapel Hill endorsing this will strengthen or weaken your position with (House) Speaker (Thom) Tillis and (Senate) President (Pro Tem Phil) Berger? If it were up to me, for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t start here,” he said.

Every vote counts


There are few places more exciting than the newsroom on election night. But there was even more buzz in the 1960s when the staff of News and Observer had the added task of tabulating votes for the State Board of Elections. David Cooper wrote about it leading up to the May 28, 1960 primary. 
Estimates on the number of votes which will be cast in today's primary election range from half a million to 700,000. After they're in, somebody will have to count 'em.
This business of adding up the votes from Manteo to Murphy -- from small, handmade ballot boxes to expensive, modern voting machines -- is no easy task.
The tabulating job will require the services of close to 10,000 people, says Raymond Maxwell, secretary of the state Board of Elections. At the hub of the counting process will be staff members at The News and Observer and a 23-man experienced band of counters recruited from offices around Capitol Hill who will make the unofficial tallies.
Reports will be coming in from 2,094 precincts across the State. Three officials will preside over the voting process at each precinct. Clerks and extra helpers will run up the total election work force.
And you may think your vote is free, but actually the tab for the election will run somewhere between $350,000 and $400,000, Maxwell said.
A statewide bond election last October cost $336,718.10. Counties will bear the main cost of this election, Maxwell says.
There are 521 voting machines in the State (70 in Wake County). The count from precincts having the machines will be in first. Herbert O'Keef, chairman of the Wake Board of Elections, figures the totals will be in about an hour after the 6:30 p.m. ballot-box closing.
Once the polls are closed, the precinct - by - precinct tabulations will start trickling into The News and Observer.
L.D. (Dinty) Moore of the State Budget Bureau heads the tabulating team which will work long into the night adding up the results from the State's 100 counties. Moore has been figuring election results at The N&O since 1936.
He got a good initiation into the painstaking work. Hoey and McDonald fought it out for governor in the second primary that year and "By golly, we didn't get through until daylight and then we went across the street and ate breakfast," Moore recalls.
His team, composed of State government employees skilled in the handling of an adding machine, is geared to give an almost instant up-to-the-minute tally of the results.
The Associated Press has a host of teletype machines and workers to spread the vote count across the State after figures are initially phoned in to the staff of The News and Observer.
"We're the court of last resort," Moore says. "When they get to us, we just add 'em up."
"It gets rather cumbersome about 12 o'clock when the figures are coming in so fast."
Moore took over as chief of the tabulating team in 1948. "I enjoy it," he says with an election-night gleam in his eye. "All the boys do."
Sam Ragan, executive editor of The News and Observer, recalls election nights when getting the vote from a particular precinct was not only important but difficult.
During one very close race, an correspondent down East was dispatched in a rowboat to get the tally from an isolated area.
"Another night we sent on of our reporters out in a car to get the precinct totals," Ragan said. "The car got stuck on a back road and he had to walk two miles to get the results."
Ragan said the first precinct and the first county to report their totals are given cash prizes. 
Seventy people in all will be working at The News and Observer into the night in connection with the election, he said.
The tallies will start rolling into the State Board of Election office next Wednesday or Thursday and the board will make the official count on June 7.
"Then we'll have less than three weeks to get ready for the second primary," Raymond Maxwell said. Ballots must be printed  again and sent out in readiness for the June 25 vote. -- The News & Observer 5/28/1960

More candidates file in Orange County

Candidates continue to file for state and local races in Orange County this week.

Current Chapel Hill Town Council member Penny Rich filed to run for county commissioner Dist. 1 seat, challenging incumbent Pam Hemminger.

State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird filed to run for reelection.

Republican W. Lewis Hannah Jr. filed to run against Commissioner Valerie Foushee  and Republican Rod Chaney for the N.C House of Representatives Dist. 50 seat.

Republican Mary Carter filed to run against Commissioner Chairwoman Bernadette Pelissier for the at-large county commissioner seat.

Current Board of Education member Tony McKnight joined incumbent Stephen Halklotis and Lawrence Sanders to run for the Orange County Board of Education.

Tar Heel worked for the right to vote

When the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote in 1920, it was without the help of North Carolina legislators.

The women's suffrage amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 states when 63 of the 120 North Carolina House members signed a telegram sent to the Tennessee legislature urging them to vote NO.

 We, the undersigned members of the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of North Carolina, constituting a majority of said body, send greetings to the General Assembly of Tennessee, and assure you that we will not ratify the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, interfering with the sovereignty of Tennessee and other States of the Union. We most respectfully request that this measure be not forced upon the people of North Carolina.
Two days later, Tennessee did ratify the amendment, and women's right to vote became law. The North Carolina House went on to reject the amendment, but the Senate tabled their vote. And there it sat for the next fifty years.

Goldsboro's Gertrude Weil had been in the forefront of the suffragette movement and was undeterred by the struggle.

Her father had arrived in Goldsboro from Germany shortly after the Civil War. She was born in 1879 in the West Chestnut Street house her father had built and where she would live her entire life.

Gertrude Weil in 1896.Her parents infused her with a sense of social responsibility  that was strengthened by her education at Horace Mann, an exclusive prep school in New York City, and Smith College in Northampton, Mass. In 1901, Miss Weil became the first North Carolina graduate of Smith.

In college, Miss Weil read John Stewart Mill, Henry George, Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels.

Her philosophy blended a critique of capitalism with the Progressivism of muckraking journalists and labor leaders.


In 1914, she played a vital role in establishing the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League and was president of the organization from 1919 to 1920. She later founded the North Carolina League of Women Voters and went on to fight for a study of the harsh labor conditions in North Carolina factories. Her efforts continued through bloody strikes at factories in Marion and Gastonia in 1928.


"I have never understood," she said, "why we have to work so hard for things that seem so obvious. Why should you have to get up and make speeches to treat people right?"

She believed that racism and poverty had deep roots. It was the job of an activist not only to help solve individual injustices, but to attack the roots of social ills. -- The News & Observer 3/16/1984

In 1965, N&O writer Betsy Marsh interviewed Miss Weil about the many awards and honors she had received and found her characteristically modest.

Back in the early years of the 1900s Miss Weil became active in efforts to get the vote for women. She has been credited with initiating the suffrage movement in North Carolina, but she insists she was only a small part of it.

"Please make it clear that I didn't start all the organizations I've been credited with," she said.

"The North Carolina Suffrage League was organized in 1916 or thereabout by Mrs. Archibald Henderson in Chapel Hill," she recalls.

Miss Gertrude worked at it with such enthusiasm that she was elected president of the state organization -- serving in 1920, the year that the North Carolina General Assembly considered -- and failed to ratify -- the woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution.

When the legislature met in special session that year, Miss Weil and her suffragettes went to Raleigh to plead their cause. "I guess I never was a politician," she confides. "I never could tell after I talked with a lawmaker whether he was for us or against us." Apparently they were against them.

The legislature failed to ratify the amendment, and the opportunity for North Carolina to make suffrage for women the law of the land slipped by. "Only one more state was needed to make it law," said Miss Weil. "The honor went to Tennessee." -- The News & Observer 3/14/1965

North Carolina finally did ratify the amendment on May 6, 1971, just 24 days  before Miss Weil's death at age 91. 

See more photos and writings of Gertrude Weil at the Jewish Women's Archive.

Update on 'local' election legislation

Rep. Justin Burr's attempt to change the make up of the Stanly County Board of Elections did not survive the legislative session.

Burr, an Albemarle Republican, stripped a statewide elections bill that had passed the Senate and replaced it with a local bill that directs how appointments would be made for Stanly County boards. It would have required two of the three members of the county elections board be chosen based on which party had the highest percentage of registered voters in the county. Current law requires they be chosen based upon the political party that controls the governor's office.

The legislation would have made Stanly County's board majority Republican while a Democratic governor runs state government.

But after Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, cried foul, saying the bill opens a "Pandora's Box" for other county boards to follow suit, Burr's bill got rejected by the Senate.

The compromise legislation that emerged Saturday morning jettisoned any language pertaining to the Stanly County election board. It has now passed both chambers, and is now law. Since it is a local bill, it is not subject to a governor's veto.


Capital Area organization seeks bowlers to step into leadership roles

Recreational sports are more than fun and games.

A crucial part of any recreational sports organization is good
leadership, especially from those who step up to help lead their fellow
competitors and make leagues run smoothly.

The Capital Area USBC Association
is seeking bowlers to step up to serve on its board of directors or to
run for positions with the Capital Area USBC Youth Committee,
association representative Marion Boissiere said.

Full field run down

The filing period is over. See who's running.

Some notes on elections

Durham County Board of Elections Director Mike Ashe wore a U.S. flag necktie to work Monday.
"We're open for business," he said. "We're doing great. We've got plenty of precinct officials, plenty of ballots ... and enough money to do our job."

That job, by the way, does not include enforcing rules on campaign signs. That comes under the city-county planning department, which decrees that they can't go out or up until 45 days before the election.

That would be late August this time around. Here are some more election rules, as Ashe explained them to Bull's Eye this morning:

  • On the ballot, candidates are listed in alphabetical order. In general elections, it's regular old ABCD etc. In primaries, though, the starting point moves through the alphabet from one election to the next. This year, the order is CDEF ... XYZAB such that a candidate named "Charlie" would be listed ahead of "Abel" and "Baker."
  • Under elections law, every candidate must have an organization to receive and spend money, and file an organizational report with the Board of Elections. Organizations may be created ahead of filing — most office-holders keep them active between elections — but have to be created and reported within 10 days of filing.
  • The first financial reports from 2009 candidates are due Sept. 1; reports are posted at the county Board of Elections Web site.
  • To file the required financial reports, a candidate or campaign treasurer has to take a 45-minute training course, which can be done online or at the state elections office in Raleigh.
  • Before 2006, candidates were free to spend leftover campaign funds any way they liked — say, on fishing boats or new houses. Now, the law spells out what's a legitimate use and what's not.


Protests continue in Iran

Tags: elections | iran | News | photos

See photos of the continuing protests in Iran following presidential elections.

Violence follows Iranian elections

See photos from street violence and protests following the controversial results of elections in Iran.

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