The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Carrboro Board of Aldermen election draws 1 candidate

Damon Seils, a member of the Carrboro Planning Department, declared that he will be running for a seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen
Buy Photos Damon Seils, a member of the Carrboro Planning Department, declared that he will be running for a seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen

The filing period for the vacant seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen is now closed, and Damon Seils will be the lone contender in an election costing the town more than $10,000.

Some local officials said it came as a surprise that Seils was the only candidate interested in running for the alderman position, vacated by former Alderman Dan Coleman in December.

“We were hoping for more candidates, but if not, then it will be Seils and the write-in option,” said Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, Friday before the filing period ended.

Reams said early voting will begin Feb. 28 at the Board of Elections building in Hillsborough, and election day will be March 19.

To pay for the election, Carrboro will draw from a special fund.

“We have contingency funds built into the budget for emergency purposes,” said Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton.

In Chapel Hill, vacant seats on the Town Council can be filled via a special appointment by the council.

But Carrboro has a policy that requires special elections to fill Alderman seats, and Chilton said the policy won’t be changing even though there is only one candidate.

“In order to change the procedure, we would need permission of the state legislature, and that would take months,” he said.

Seils is no stranger to local government, and he said he’s looking forward to joining the board.
He has served as first vice-chairman of the Carrboro Planning Board, and he said he would like to bring that experience to the alderman position.

“If the town has smarter planning, it will help us navigate controversial building projects,” Seils said.

He said he wants to increase student interest in Carrboro politics and improve public transportation options.

Despite being the only candidate for the election, Seils says he is still pursuing a typical campaign strategy.

“We’ve been campaigning door-to-door for the past two weeks and we’re focusing on getting people out to vote,” he said.

But Seils said there are still potential drawbacks to the uncontested election.

“One effect is that it might have a lower voter turnout,” he said.

Reams said voter turnout is typically around 5 percent for municipal elections.

Chilton said he has high hopes for Seils’ likely future on the board.

“I think of Damon as a workhorse; he’ll show up and do the work,” he said.

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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