GOVERNMENT; ELECTIONS 2023
by Michelle Cassell
The old adage “every vote counts” was in full view in the Chapel Hill Town Council election. Elizabeth Sharp defeated Renuka Soll by a mere 6 votes, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.
The final election results were withheld until all provisional ballots could be counted. Provisional ballots in North Carolina are governed by the rules laid out by the State Board of Elections. A voter receives a provisional ballot when questions arise about three issues:
The voter’s qualification to vote
The voter’s eligibility to vote in a given election
The voter’s eligibility to vote a specific ballot style.
Election officials hold provisional ballots aside as they conduct research about the voter’s eligibility. Based on the research, the county board of elections members make final determinations about voter eligibility. Election results are not finalized until all eligible provisional ballots are counted.
On election eve, Renuka Soll and Elizabeth Sharp had only 14 votes separating them. When TLR reached out to Soll, she said she “has lost” and expects that to hold when absentee ballots are tallied. Her prediction has come true.
Four seats were available in the race for Chapel Hill Town Council. Melissa McCullough, Amy Ryan, and Theodore Nollert will occupy three of the seats. As discussed above, Elizabeth Sharp will occupy the fourth seat. Both Soll and Sharp campaigned with Adam Searing who ran for mayor.
“I will remain on the Council to finish the last two years of my term. I congratulate Jess Anderson on her win for mayor, along with Amy Ryan, Melissa McCullough and Theodore Nollert on their wins of council seats,” Searing said.
Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news.