More voters cast a ballot when a state or national race is on the line, but town and school boards have the biggest direct impact on daily life.
Mayors and town boards set local budgets and property tax rates, decide how land is developed, and make policies affecting services, the local economy and more for years to come. School boards decide how to spend money for educating children and set the policies that guide teachers and administrators.
All local municipal races are nonpartisan.
Two elected officials have decided not to seek another term, including Carrboro Alderwoman Bethany Chaney, who will step down when her term expires in December. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education member James Barrett is stepping down in December to campaign for N.C. Superintendent of the Public Instruction.
Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents interested in being mayor or joining a town or school board must file a notice of candidacy with the Orange County Board of Elections by noon Friday, July 19. Durham County residents who live within the Chapel Hill town limits also are eligible to run for office in Chapel Hill.
Candidates must set up a campaign finance committee within 10 days of filing their notice and comply with other campaign rules.
Voters must be age 18 and older, and a resident of the town in which they plan to vote. They can register to vote in the November election at the Elections office through Friday, Oct. 11, or at an Early Voting location using same-day registration. A valid form of identification is required. Orange County’s Early Voting period will run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 1.
Information about Durham County’s Early Voting can be found at tinyurl.com/y6hrxl4e.
Absentee voting by mail also is available. Orange County voters should request a ballot using the required Absentee Ballot Request form. Requests can be submitted in person at the Orange County Board of Elections, 208 S. Cameron St. in Hillsborough; by mail at P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax at 919-644-3318.
Durham County voters who live in the town of Chapel Hill can find absentee voter information and forms at tinyurl.com/y4a3kg22.
Below are those candidates who have filed to run for office so far.
* denotes incumbent
The mayor and four of eight Town Council seats will be on this year’s Chapel Hill ballot.
Mayor (2-year term)
▪ Name: Pam Hemminger*
Address: Boxwood Place, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Chapel Hill mayor, 2015-present; Orange County commissioner, 2008-12; Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, 2004-08
Career: Owner, Windaco Properties LLC
▪ Name: Josh Levenson
Address: Lincoln Lane, Chapel Hill
Town Council (4-year term)
▪ Name: Jessica Anderson* (Mayor Pro Tem)
Address: Eastridge Place, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Town Council member since 2015
Career: Senior policy analyst, SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro
▪ Name: Sue Hunter
Address: Rock Creek Road, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Member, Orange County Planning Board; volunteer on five local campaigns
Career: Research compliance
▪ Name: Tai Huynh
Address: Church Street, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Chapel Hill Housing Advisory Board; Chapel Hill Committee for Civic Engagement; founding member, UNC Institute of Politics; N.C. Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association
Career: UNC senior and Morehead-Cain Scholar, studying computer science, with minors in business administration and anthropology
▪ Name: Nancy Oates*
Address: Windemere Crossing, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Town Council member since 2015; Civil Rights Task Force; Orange County Food Council; Community Design Commission liaison
Career: Freelance writer and editor; former federal probation and parole officer in New York City
▪ Name: Michael Parker*
Address: West Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Town Council member since 2015; former member of the Planning Board, chair of the Transportation Advisory Board, and co-chair of the Central West Steering Committee
Career: Semi-retired health care and life sciences consultant and entrepreneur
▪ Name: Renuka Soll
Address: Old Larkspur Way, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Parks, Greenways and Recreation Commission; board, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence; former PTA president, treasurer and secretary; board member, Duke University Campus Club
Career: Former market research, sales and product manager, Searle Parmaceuticals; former executive education program marketer, INSEAD
The mayor and three of six Board of Aldermen seats will be on this year’s Carrboro ballot.
Mayor (2-year term)
▪ Name: Lydia Lavelle*
Address: Kit Lane, Chapel Hill (Carrboro)
Political experience: Mayor, 2013-present; Board of Aldermen, 2007-2013
Career: Professor, N.C. Central University School of Law
Board of Aldermen (4-year term)
▪ Name: Matthew P. Clements
Address: N.C. 54 Bypass, Carrboro
Political experience: 2018 Libertarian candidate, N.C. House District 56; former member, Libertarian Party of North Carolina Executive Committee
Career: Information technology support specialist, Fitch Creations Inc.; baseball writer, Inside Carolina
▪ Name: Stephen Friedman
Address: Manor Ridge Drive, Carrboro
Political experience: former vice president, Carrboro High School booster club; communications director, F3 Churham
Career: Vice president of marketing, Mutual Drug; supporting entrepreneurs through Launch Chapel Hill and Main Street at American Underground
▪ Name: Susan Romaine
Address: Lake Manor Road, Chapel Hill (Carrboro)
Political experience: Former Hogan Farms Precinct chair; former first vice chair and interim chair, Orange County Democratic Party
▪ Name: Damon Seils* (Mayor pro tem)
Address: West Main Street, Carrboro
Political experience: Alderman since 2013; chair, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization; Greenways Commission; Chapel Hill Public Transit Committee; Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness; former chair, Carrboro Planning Board and Orange County Human Relations Commission
Career: Research communications specialist, Duke University School of Medicine
▪ Name: Sammy Slade*
Address: Dillard Street, Carrboro
Political experience: Board of Aldermen, 2009-present; Orange County Food Council; Orange County Democratic Party; NC WARN
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education
Four of seven Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board seats will be on this year’s ballot.
▪ Name: Rani Dasi*
Address: Balmoral Place, Chapel Hill
Political experience: School board member since 2015, including as vice chair and chair; board member, Public School Foundation and Orange County’s Family Success Alliance; board chair, Walking Classroom; executive board, N.C. Caucus of Black School Board Members; Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA board
Career: Corporate finance and strategy
▪ Name: Andrew Davidson
Address: Westbury Court, Chapel Hill
Political experience: chair, Special Needs Advisory Council; Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, 2013-17; chair, Frank Porter Graham Elementary School Improvement Team, 2011-2012
Career: data architect, IBM
▪ Name: Deon Temne
Address: Tramore Drive, Chapel Hill
▪ Name: Louis Tortora
Address: Pinehurst Drive, Chapel Hill
Political experience: Former board member, Children’s PressLine; co-chair, Phillips Middle School School Improvement Team; TA to Teach campaign
Career: Retired vice president, Linotype sales and marketing; former teacher, Massachusetts and Connecticut schools; owner, Tortora Associates (RAISE Corp.)
The story will be updated as more candidates announce their campaigns.