10:25: Even though the early vote wasn’t counted until after the polls closed, election workers in North Carolina once again did an admirable job counting and reporting votes quickly. Thanks for following along, and for participating in this year’s primary. On to the general election!

10:18: 32 of 36 precincts in Durham are reporting, and Sophia Chitlik is leading Mike Woodard 58-43 percent. This is a blowout election, and a warning to other politicians who don’t keep up with changes in their district.

10:10: Shriner and Hauser over-performed on Election Day, winning enough votes to put them in second and third place, behind Doyle. But Padilla and Moore had built up an impressive lead in early voting, which meant that they, along with Doyle, led all night.

9:58: All precincts have reported, and Carrie Doyle, Wendy Padilla, and Jennifer Moore have been elected to the Orange County Schools Board of Education. Moore, the third place candidate, defeated Bonnie Hauser by 461 votes. (Note: these are preliminary results, and will be certified in a few weeks.)

9:47: Half of the precincts in Durham have reported, and Sophia Chitlik still leads Mike Woodard 58-43.

9:37: With 16 of 17 precincts reporting, Carrie Doyle, Wendy Padilla, and Jennifer Moore retain their lead over Hauser, Shriner, and Johnson. Moore, in third place, leads Hauser 6,265 to 5,719 votes, which likely secures Moore the third sport on the Orange County Schools school board.

9:18: There are just four precincts left to report, and Doyle, Padilla, Moore still lead Hauser, Shriner, and Johnson by a substantial margin. It would take an overwhelming performance in the remaining precincts for Hauser to overtake Moore for the third slot on the school board.

9:07: With 50 percent of precincts reporting in Orange County, the “no preference” support in the Democratic presidential primary is up to 14 percent. In the Orange County Schools race, Doyle, Padilla, and Moore are still ahead of Hauser, Shriner, and Johnson, though there are a number of precincts left to report.

9:03: WCHL just called the BOCC district 2 race for Portie-Ascott.

8:57: Of note, just under 8 percent of Orange County Democratic voters in the 2012 primary (the most comparable recent primary with an unchallenged incumbent Democratic president) selected “no preference,” and nearly 21 percent statewide selected no preference.

8:30: About 10 percent of voters in the Democratic primary in Orange County selected “no preference” instead of casting a vote for Joe Biden, the only other choice on the ballot. Meanwhile Orange County Republicans are narrowly supporting Donald Trump over Nikki Haley, 50-45.

8:19: While all of these numbers are early, we find it interesting that Jeff Jackson leads Satana Deberry 66-28 in the race for attorney general in Orange County. Jackson’s lead statewide—51 to 38—is smaller. In Durham, where she is currently serving as the District Attorney, Deberry is ahead of Jackson 60-37.

8:14: Sophia Chitlik is leading Mike Woodard in the early vote 58-42 percent. While we don’t know if this result will hold, it will be a real shakeup in local politics if Chitlik wins. Woodward has been a state senator for almost twice as long as Chitlik has been an NC resident.

8:11: Phyllis Portie-Ascott has an even larger lead in the race for District 2 on the Orange County BOCC. She has more than 3,000 votes, while her closest competitor, Horace Johnson, Jr., has just 650.

8:09: The early vote appears to be in for Orange County, and Carrie DoyleWendy Padilla, and Jennifer Moore appear to have a commanding lead in the Orange County Schools race, with candidate garnishing more than 3,000 votes, compared to 2,350 votes for the Bonnie Hauser, who leads her slate of candidates.

8:00: Thirty minutes after the polls have closed, and just a trickle of votes in from Orange County. WCHL, which would normally cover the elections, is instead covering the UNC basketball game.

7:30: Now the polls have closed. If this were any other recent election night, we’d be getting the results from the early vote—which often align with the ultimate outcome—in a few minutes. But this year, things will be different, thanks to a new state law that requires election officials to wait until Tuesday night to begin counting the early vote.

7:27: Welcome to our election night blog blog!

This will be a much quieter election night than in recent years (the 2023 municipal election, the 2022 primary), and it’s even quieter than it should have been. Unfortunately, all but one of the races—a battle for a district 2 seat between the incumbent Phyllis Portie-Ascott and two challenges—for a seat on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will be uncontested. This is doubly disappointing because we’ve seen in recent months how much the BOCC matters, as it is the body that makes decisions about many important issues, from school funding to how we use land in our county. Without competitive elections, county commissioners have to rely on the feedback they received from a vanishingly small group of advocates,  many of whom represent no one other than themselves and perhaps a few of their neighbors. We hope to see more competitive elections in the BOCC in the future. 

On the other hand, the race for the Orange County Schools Board of Education is competitive, and gives voters a real choice about what they want the future of the county schools to be. 

We have been impressed by the ability of progressive to rally behind three candidates—for three spots—even though there are four in the race that would have been fine school board members. We will be watching to see how much daylight there is between longtime politico Bonnie Hauser, and the two more conservative candidates she has decided to run alongside. While the Orange County Schools district is more conservative than the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School District, we don’t think the gap is as large as it has appeared to be in this election. 

Over in Durham, we will be following Sophia Chitlik’s challenge to Mike Woodard. In November, Woodward sound lost his bid to be the next Mayor of Durham, and we worry that he has not adapted as nimbly to the issues facing Durham county today—spiraling housing costs and the continued underfunding of transit infrastructure. Our elected officials need to realize that suburban sprawl is no longer sustainable—economically, environmentally, or politically— and regardless of the outcome of this race we hope that future leaders understand the need to change how we build housing and get around. 

Many of the state-level races in the Democratic party are highly contested, but we’ve been hard pressed to distinguish the candidates on the issues. We hope whoever wins tonight quickly earns the support of those who ran against them, and that the Democrats focus on defeating Mark Robinson, who will likely win the Republican primary for governor tonight,  and his running mates.

Finally, neither party’s presidential primary is consequential this year. We will be watching to see whether Nikki Haley continues to garner a nontrivial share of the vote at the state level, and how much support Biden receives locally.

6:30: Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! A live blog blog is coming your way around 8 tonight. Stay tuned.

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.