Local News

State Superintendent Battle Turns To Frustration For Candidates

Posted December 23, 2004

— Some voters and candidates are tired of hearing about the November election. The ballots have been counted and certified, but two races remain undecided.

For June Atkinson, excitement over being sworn in as the next state school superintendent has been replaced by frustration.

"It's very disappointing," she said.

Atkinson's excitement faded when the state Supreme Court agreed to hear Bill Fletcher's argument that 10,000 provisional ballots should be thrown out.

"This is going to be a real test for the Supreme Court here to show that even though it has a Republican majority, it will not issue a partisan ruling, but one based on law," Guillory said.

While the state Supreme Court considers the state superintendent's race, the state agriculture commissioner's race is in the hands of the state Board of Elections.

"The fact that the Supreme Court has taken the case at least suggests that there's a point of law that needs to be examined here," he said.

Guillory said advances in the election system are bound to bring questions. He said the challenge for the court will be to remain unbiased.

"This is going to be a real test for the Supreme Court here to show that even though it has a Republican majority. It will not issue a partisan ruling, but one based on law," Guillory said.

While the state Supreme Court considers the state superintendent's race, the state Agriculture Commissioner's race is in the hands of the state Board of Elections.

The board plans to meet next Wednesday to decide how to handle more than 4,400 lost votes in Carteret County due to a voting machine malfunction. Incumbent Britt Cobb wants a new statewide election. He trails Republican Steve Troxler by fewer than 2,300 votes.

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