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Three Council Of State Races Remain Undecided
Problems At Voting Sites Partly To Blame

WRAL-TV    November 4, 2004
RALEIGH, N.C. Election Day has come and gone, but three statewide races still do not have a clear winner. Whether it is human error or machine error, mistakes are being caught. Plus, the provisional ballots are being counted and added in.

 Republican Bill Fletcher was leading in the state Superintendent race on election night. However, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, he is trailing Democrat June Atkinson and the numbers keep changing.

"We're trying to find out facts and we're just rolling with the punches right now," Fletcher said.

"I'm depending on the Democratic Party to stay on top of any discrepanies in the different counties, and at the end of the day, I'm depending on the professional people at the Board of Elections to make the right decision," Atkinson said.

The leader in the Agriculture Commissioner race is going back and forth. The race for State Auditor is still too close to call.

"As of this moment, we believe that we know the explanation for each of these changes. Some of them were reporting errors," said Johnnie McLean, of the State Board of Elections.

In Yadkin County, about 1,000 ballots were accidentally counted twice. The problem was later corrected. In Guilford County, early voting machines had capacity problems, which affected anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 ballots. That problem was also corrected.

In Carteret County, an early voting machine may have lost 4,530 ballots. The manufacturer is working on the problem. In Mecklenburg County, early voting machines counted some totals twice affecting as many as 4,000 ballots. That problem has not yet been corrected.

"There are always glitches," McLean said.

The State Board of Elections said the glitches are more noticeable this year because high-profile races are close and people are watching.

"The one thing to remember that I think is important to remember is that simply because an election result is close doesn't mean there's a problem," McLean said.

Democrat and Republican observers are expected in every county next week when the votes are certified and made official. There are as many as 73,000 provisional ballots that are being counted up.

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