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Local Elections Not Immune From Rocky Roads

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RALEIGH — Florida's alleged election problems are in the headlines, but every county has voting irregularities. The local boards of election are saddled with the work of figuring out how their residents voted.

North Carolina has two close statewide races. The deciding factor could be provisional ballots, and there are tens of thousands of them that still have not been counted.

The weekend may be about to begin for most people, but the people counting ballots at the Wake County Board of Elections will work right through it. They have been counting ballots nearly nonstop since the polls closed Tuesday night.

They say they are completely overwhelmed as they examine thousands of mismarked ballots. They must also verify 20,000 provisional ballots from people who voted at precincts where they were not on the books.

The Board of Elections says it tried its best to prevent this provisional ballot backlog, but there was not much it could do.

"We got an enormous number -- about 40,000 of new registrations in the last week before the election," says Doug Holbrook, a member of the Wake County Board of Elections.

Labor commissioner candidate Doug Berger even stopped by to see how the tally was going. He was down 4,000 votes in a statewide race, and Wake County could make the difference.

Everyone at the elections office knows it could be worse.

"All of us are just grateful that we're election officials in North Carolina and not Florida," Holbrook says.

There are about 40,000 provisional ballots in the state. All ballots should be counted and given to the State Board of Elections by Wednesday.