Some morning NC news blend

* They are still sorting out the voting system mess in NC. (Herald-Sun):

Two statewide races — for agriculture commissioner and the superintendent of public instruction — remained unresolved, with narrow margins separating the major-party candidates and provisional ballots still being tallied until late Thursday in the county that is home to Charlotte, the state’s biggest city.

The most noteworthy problem has been the permanent loss of 4,532 early ballots in coastal Carteret County. A machine used to store electronic ballots ran out of storage space and county officials mistakenly continued to try to save ballots to it.

The manufacturer, UniLect Corp. of California, erroneously told elections officials that the early voting unit’s storage capacity was 10,500 votes.

Instead, only 3,005 ballots out of 7,537 were saved. State elections officials have said that the glitch could result in a new statewide election for races that end with a margin smaller than the 4,532 votes that were lost.

Keith Jennings, director of the Atlanta-based Count Every Vote 2004, a nonprofit election watchdog group, called the Carteret County incident one of the worst he’s heard of nationally in this year’s election.

…In Mecklenburg County, the count dragged on because of a flood of provisional votes cast by voters who could not be found in registration books on Election Day.

* Gov. Easley Allows Execution to Proceed:

“A man whose death sentence for impulsively killing a woman during a 1992 robbery was opposed even by some capital punishment supporters was executed by injection early Friday.

Frank Chandler, 32, was put to death at Central Prison for killing 90-year-old Doris Poore, who surprised him when he broke into her house on a misguided search for drugs. ”

…The jury agreed with prosecutors that he killed Poore with the aggravating factor of seeking financial gain, which made him eligible for the death penalty.

But State Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, a death penalty supporter, argued that Chandler shouldn’t be executed since he didn’t kill Poore for money.

Orr, who stepped down from the court in July, had urged Gov. Mike Easley to stop the execution, but Easley rejected a request for clemency about six hours before the execution.

* Bad, but explainable news here: Durham has state’s highest Hispanic teen pregnancy rate. There are many factors here, but the basic reason is that the explosive growth of the Mexican population here was far outpaced the city’s ability to hire Spanish-speaking personnel in a variety of municipal departments; local social service organizations are also dealing with this problem. [For the non-Southerners reading — fortunately, there is not an issue of the bible-beaters fighting the providing of such services here].

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