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Mecklenburg County commissioner challenges same-sex benefits

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James continues to question the legality of county continuing to offer benefits to employees' domestic partners, the CharO reports

The state's new constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage made those benefits illegal, James said in an email to his colleagues.  North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment in May.

James has requested a legal opinion, but it appears he's not getting it anytime soon.

State board certifies election results, as voter fraud investigations continue

The N.C. State Board of Elections certified the results from the May 2012 primary election, a move that enacts the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in the state.

Five statewide races will officially go to a runoff July 17: Democratic labor commissioner and Republican races for secretary of state, state superintendent, insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor. Two state legislative races were not certified because of pending protests or recounts.

Gary Bartlett, the state elections chief, said two investigation into voter fraud are ongoing.

Weekend Roundup: Fracking in North Carolina could carry extra risks

North Carolina’s flirtation with fracking is increasingly looking like the real thing, with Republican lawmakers poised to pass sweeping legislation this summer that would lead to drilling for natural gas.The state may have just a fraction of the enormous natural gas reserves found in Texas and Pennsylvania. But fracking here will likely entail greater risks to drinking water supplies and may require special measures not used in other states. Full story here.

More political headlines from the weekend:

--Columnist Rob Christensen: If you turned on your TV last week, you could have seen political ads touting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, or tearing down Walter Dalton or Pat McCory. In recent days, Romney toured a Charlotte factory floor, and first lady Michelle Obama gave a commencement speech at a Greensboro college campus. The South Carolina GOP pledged to send in 1,000 volunteers into the state. All sides were hiring political operatives and opening offices. In a battleground state, politics is a growth business.

North Carolina = Mississippi

Gov. Bev Perdue told a WITN television reporter Friday the constitutional amendment on marriage makes North Carolina "look like Mississippi." 

This is probably not part of her business recruitment speech. 

Voters on Tuesday approved an amendment 61 percent to 39 percent that will ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. 

A  few weeks ago, Perdue made a video urging people to vote against it. 

Morning Roundup: Mitt Romney visits Charlotte for second time in a month

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is making his second visit to Charlotte in less than a month as he ramps up operations in what's expected to be a battleground state this fall. Get a preview of his visit here.

More political headlines:

--The government rested its case against John Edwards on Thursday by showing a videotape of the one-time Democratic presidential hopeful telling a now infamous lie – that he was not the father of Rielle Hunter’s child. Get a recap from Day 14 here.

--Surprise. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and Republican legislators agree on something. House Republicans said last week they want to cap the state gas tax. Gov. Bev Perdue said Thursday she wants to do the same. The tax rate is expected to fall July 1 from 38.9 cents to about 37.7 cents, because part of the tax is tied to wholesale fuel prices and fluctuates as they do. More on the governor's budget proposal here.

Amendment's passage draws quick rebuke online

Two online petition campaigns about North Carolina's constitutional marriage amendment are drawing thousands of supporters the day after the election.

One of them is demanding the immediate repeal of Amendment One, the name opponents gave the ballot referendum, which passed by 61 percent. (It technically wasn't numbered since there was only one amendment on the ballot.) By noon, it generated about 67,000 signatures from across the nation. The goal is 1 million.

The second effort is titled "Move the National Convention OUT of North Carolina." It asks the Democratic National Convention Committee to drop Charlotte as the site of September's party confab in protest to the amendment's passage. It has about 17,500 signatures at noon Wednesday.

Addendum: Democratic ad man Frank Eaton turned the camera on himself this morning and posts a campaign-commercial like rebuttal to the amendment's passage. Watch here.

North Carolina's marriage vote second lowest total in the South

North Carolina approved an amendment Tuesday to enshrine a ban on gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in the state constitution -- a vote that received international attention.

To put it in perspective, the amendment passed 61 percent to 39 percent -- the second lowest approval rating in the South, more than Virginia's 57 percent and less than Florida's 62 percent.

Nationwide, North Carolina voters gave it a higher percentage approval than eight states but less than 22 others.

Isolated voting problems in Chatham County, voters get wrong ballots

At least three people in Chatham County were given the wrong ballot while trying to vote Tuesday. 

Poll workers in Chatham County accidentally handed out ballots to at least three voters without Amendment 1 on them. For the primary election there are different ballots for voters 17 and under who will turn 18 before the general election in November, those ballots do not include the marriage amendment.

One woman filed a formal complaint by e-mail with Chatham County's Board of Elections, said Dawn Stumpf, director of elections for Chatham County. The wrong ballots were give out right as polls opened at 6:30 a.m. at the Hickory Mountain precinct at Pleasantville United Methodist Church, she said.

Amendment drives voters for the North Carolina polls

A much-debated constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions kept a steady flow of voters streaming into polling places across North Carolina on Tuesday.

The referendum – which polls show is expected to easily pass – helped boost a low-profile primary election and set an early voting record with more than 500,000 votes cast before the polls opened at 6:30 a.m.

Click here for a continually updated election day story talking to voters at the polls.

Two counties say passage of amendment won't affect domestic partner benefits

On the eve of the primary election, Durham and Orange county officials said they don’t think Amendment One, if it passes Tuesday, will end their county benefits for same-sex couples.

“I would like to emphasize, however, that this is based on fresh ground,” Assistant Durham County Attorney Kathy Everett-Perry said Monday. “It hasn’t been litigated, domestic union hasn’t been defined by the courts, but our interpretation is that it should not affect what we are currently doing.”

About 70 people in the state have same-sex benefits through local governments. Read more here.

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