Dear Carrboro: Confessions of a wanna-be voter

by Jock Lauterer
Carrboro Commons Adviser

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Carrboro votes: Linda B. Smith of Carrboro casts her ballot in early voting Tuesday morning. Smith says she prides herself on being a long-time regular voter in Carrboro.
Carrboro Commons photo

It’s a good thing I really really wanted to vote this morning.

Assuming that where I voted in the last election would be the same, I trekked over to North Chatham School, a good 10 miles from our home just over the county line from Orange.

But you know the old saying about the dangers of assuming.

It felt pretty durn stupid, standing there in front of the polling clerk at North Chatham School, and getting told sternly, “You’re in the wrong place.” And then he directed me to Perry Harrison Elementary School.

Where in the world is that? Turns out, it’s waaaaaaaaaay down Jones Ferry Road, west beyond Frosty’s store and practically down in Bynum.

The long drive allowed me time to reflect on the importance of good local in-depth reporting when it comes to voter education. How had I missed this vital information?

Turns out It was a perfect storm of voter ignorance:

a. The Chapel Hill News has stopped delivering in my neighborhood.

b. I can’t get delivery of the Durham paper, though Lord knows I’ve tried.

c. Kirk Ross, when he was managing editor of the Indy, made sure Northern Chatham had a terrific voter’s guide in the last election. But Kirk is now editor of the Carrboro Citizen.

d. And the Citizen covers just Carrboro, and didn’t publish a voter’s guide for Northern Chatham.

e. Plus, I didn’t look for a Chatham News and Record which I bet DID publish that info. It’s just that the Siler City/Pittsboro paper is hard to find in the far upper reaches of North Chatham.

When I finally did get to vote, I felt a little cheated; the only thing on the ballot was the real estate transfer tax proposal. Then I phoned my wife to tell her about my saga and give here the information about where she needed to vote, and I happened to mention that I voted FOR the transfer tax.

“I’m voting against it,” she said.

Oh great. We’re canceling out each other’s vote.

Well, there you go. Democracy in action.

Brother, I earned that little “I VOTED” flag sticker. Wore it all day like a badge of honor.

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