Article 16.

Election Officers.

Part 1. State Board Powers and Duties.

163A-740. Meetings of State Board; quorum; minutes.

(a) Place of Meeting. - Except as provided in subsection (b), below, the State Board shall meet in its offices in the City of Raleigh, or at another place in Raleigh to be designated by the chairman. However, subject to the limitation imposed by subsection (b), below, upon the prior written request of a majority of its members, the State Board shall meet at any other place in the State designated by a majority of its members.

(b) Meetings to Investigate Alleged Violations of This Chapter. - When called upon to investigate or hear sworn alleged violations of this Chapter, the State Board shall meet and hear the matter in the county in which the violations are alleged to have occurred.

(c) Minutes. - The State Board shall keep minutes recording all proceedings and findings at each of its meetings. The minutes shall be recorded in a book which shall be kept in the office of the State Board in Raleigh. (1901, c. 89, s. 7; Rev., ss. 2760, 4301, 4302; C.S., ss. 5922, 5923; 1933, c. 165, s. 1; 1945, c. 982; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 3; c. 1223, s. 1; 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 5(b); 2017-6, ss. 2, 3, 7(b).)

 

163A-741. Powers and duties of State Board.

(a) The State Board shall have general supervision over the primaries and elections in the State, and it shall have authority to make such reasonable rules and regulations with respect to the conduct of primaries and elections as it may deem advisable so long as they do not conflict with any provisions of this Subchapter.

(b) From time to time, the State Board shall publish and furnish to the county boards of elections and other election officials a sufficient number of indexed copies of all election laws and State Board rules and regulations then in force. It shall also publish, issue, and distribute to the electorate such materials explanatory of primary and election laws and procedures as the State Board shall deem necessary.

(c) The State Board shall appoint, in the manner provided by law, all members of the county boards of elections and advise them as to the proper methods of conducting primaries and elections. The State Board shall require such reports from the county boards and election officers as are provided by law, or as are deemed necessary by the State Board, and shall compel observance of the requirements of the election laws by county boards of elections and other election officers. In performing these duties, the State Board shall have the right to hear and act on complaints arising by petition or otherwise, on the failure or neglect of a county board of elections to comply with any part of the election laws imposing duties upon such a board. The State Board shall have power to remove from office any member of a county board of elections for incompetency, neglect or failure to perform duties, fraud, or for any other satisfactory cause. Before exercising this power, the State Board shall notify the county board member affected and give that member an opportunity to be heard. When any county board member shall be removed by the State Board, the vacancy occurring shall be filled by the State Board.

(d) The State Board shall investigate when necessary or advisable, the administration of election laws, frauds and irregularities in elections in any county and municipality and special district, and shall report violations of the election laws to the Attorney General or district attorney or prosecutor of the district for further investigation and prosecution.

(e) The State Board shall determine, in the manner provided by law, the form and content of ballots, instruction sheets, pollbooks, tally sheets, abstract and return forms, certificates of election, and other forms to be used in primaries and elections. The State Board shall furnish to the county boards of elections the registration application forms required pursuant to G.S. 163A-862. The State Board shall direct the county boards of elections to purchase a sufficient quantity of all forms attendant to the registration and elections process. In addition, the State Board shall provide a source of supply from which the county boards of elections may purchase the quantity of pollbooks needed for the execution of its responsibilities. In the preparation of ballots, pollbooks, abstract and return forms, and all other forms, the State Board may call to its aid the Attorney General of the State, and it shall be the duty of the Attorney General to advise and aid in the preparation of these books, ballots and forms.

(f) The State Board shall prepare, print, distribute to the county boards of elections all ballots for use in any primary or election held in the State which the law provides shall be printed and furnished by the State to the counties. The State Board shall instruct the county boards of elections as to the printing of county and local ballots.

(g) The State Board shall certify to the appropriate county boards of elections the names of candidates for district offices who have filed notice of candidacy with the State Board and whose names are required to be printed on county ballots.

(h) It shall be the duty of the State Board to tabulate the primary and election returns, to declare the results, and to prepare abstracts of the votes cast in each county in the State for offices which, according to law, shall be tabulated by the State Board.

(i) The State Board shall make recommendations to the Governor and legislature relative to the conduct and administration of the primaries and elections in the State as it may deem advisable.

(j) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other section of this Subchapter, the State Board is empowered to have access to any ballot boxes and their contents, any voting machines and their contents, any registration records, pollbooks, voter authorization cards or voter lists, any lists of absentee voters, any lists of presidential registrants under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended, and any other voting equipment or similar records, books or lists in any precinct, county, municipality or electoral district over whose elections it has jurisdiction or for whose elections it has responsibility.

(j1) Notwithstanding G.S. 153A-98 or any other provision of law, all officers, employees, and agents of a county board of elections are required to give to the State Board, upon request, all information, documents, and data within their possession, or ascertainable from their records, including any internal investigation or personnel documentation and are required to make available, upon request pursuant to an investigation under subsection (d) of this section, any county board employee for interview and to produce any equipment, hardware, or software for inspection. These requirements are mandatory and shall be timely complied with as specified in a request made by any four members of the State Board.

(k) Notwithstanding the provisions contained in Article 21 of this Chapter the State Board shall be authorized, by resolution adopted prior to the printing of the primary ballots, to reduce the time by which absentee ballots are required to be printed and distributed for the primary election from 50 days to 45 days. This authority shall not be authorized for absentee ballots to be voted in the general election, except if the law requires ballots to be available for mailing 60 days before the general election, and they are not ready by that date, the State Board shall allow the counties to mail them out as soon as they are available.

(l) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in order to obtain judicial review of any decision of the State Board rendered in the performance of its duties or in the exercise of its powers under this Subchapter, the person seeking review must file his petition in the Superior Court of Wake County.

(m) The State Board shall provide specific training to county boards of elections regarding rules for registering students.

(n) The State Board shall promulgate minimum requirements for the number of pollbooks, voting machines and curbside ballots to be available at each precinct, such that more of such will be available at general elections and a sufficient number will be available to allow voting without excessive delay. The State Board shall provide for a training and screening program for chief judges and judges. The State Board shall provide additional testing of voting machines to ensure that they operate properly even with complicated ballots.

(o) The State Board shall require counties with voting systems to have sufficient personnel available on election day with technical expertise to make repairs in such equipment, to investigate election day problems, and assist in curbside voting.

(p) The State Board may assign responsibility for enumerated administrative matters to the Executive Director by resolution, if that resolution provides a process for the State Board to review any administrative decision made by the Executive Director.

(q) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to the State Board to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting State legislative or congressional districts other than a plan imposed by a court under G.S. 120-2.4 or a plan enacted by the General Assembly.

(r) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to the State Board to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting districts for a unit of local government other than a plan imposed by a court, a plan enacted by the General Assembly, or a plan adopted by the appropriate unit of local government under statutory or local act authority. (1901, c. 89, ss. 7, 11; Rev., ss. 4302, 4305; 1913, c. 138; C.S., ss. 5923, 5926; 1921, c. 181, s. 1; 1923, c. 196; 1933, c. 165, ss. 1, 2; 1945, c. 982; 1953, c. 410, s. 2; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 47, s. 2; c. 793, s. 2; 1975, c. 19, s. 65; 1977, c. 661, s. 6; 1979, c. 411, s. 1; 1981, c. 556; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 986, ss. 2, 3; 1987, c. 485, ss. 2, 5; c. 509, s. 9; c. 642, s. 3; 1989, c. 635, s. 5; 1991, c. 727, ss. 5.2, 7; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 12; 1995, c. 509, s. 114; 1999-424, s. 7(a); 2001-398, s. 4; 2009-537, s. 10; 2009-541, s. 1; 2011-31, s. 15; 2011-182, s. 3; 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 20(b); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-13, s. 3.2(a).)

 

163A-742. Power of State Board to promulgate temporary rules and regulations.

In the event any portion of this Subchapter or any State election law or form of election of any county board of commissioners, local board of education, or city officer is held unconstitutional or invalid by a State or federal court or is unenforceable because of objection interposed by the United States Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and such ruling adversely affects the conduct and holding of any pending primary or election, the State Board shall have authority to make reasonable interim rules and regulations with respect to the pending primary or election as it deems advisable so long as they do not conflict with any provisions of this Subchapter and such rules and regulations shall become null and void 60 days after the convening of the next regular session of the General Assembly. The State Board shall also be authorized, upon recommendation of the Attorney General, to enter into agreement with the courts in lieu of protracted litigation until such time as the General Assembly convenes. (1981, c. 741; 1982, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 3, s. 19.1; c. 1265, ss. 1, 2; 1985, c. 563, s. 15; 1986, Ex. Sess., c. 3, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-743. State Board littering notification.

At the time an individual files with the State Board a notice of candidacy pursuant to G.S. 163A-972, 163A-973, 163A-974, 163A-975, 163A-976, 163A-977, and 163A-978, 163A-985, 163A-1615, or 163A-1620, is certified to the State Board by a political party executive committee to fill a nomination vacancy pursuant to G.S. 163A-987, is certified to the State Board by a new political party as that party's nominee pursuant to G.S. 163A-953, qualifies with the State Board as an unaffiliated or write-in candidate pursuant to Part 2 of Article 19 of this Chapter, or formally initiates a candidacy with the State Board pursuant to any statute or local act, the State Board shall notify the candidate of the provisions concerning campaign signs in G.S. 136-32 and G.S. 14-156, and the rules adopted by the Department of Transportation pursuant to G.S. 136-18. (2001-512, s. 7; 2017-3, s. 3; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-744. Power of State Board to maintain order.

The State Board shall possess full power and authority to maintain order, and to enforce obedience to its lawful commands during its sessions, and shall be constituted an inferior court for that purpose. If any person shall refuse to obey the lawful commands of the State Board or its chairman, or by disorderly conduct in its hearing or presence shall interrupt or disturb its proceedings, it may, by an order in writing, signed by its chairman, and attested by its secretary, commit the person so offending to the common jail of the county for a period not exceeding 30 days. Such order shall be executed by any sheriff to whom the same shall be delivered, or if a sheriff shall not be present, or shall refuse to act, by any other person who shall be deputed by the State Board in writing, and the keeper of the jail shall receive the person so committed and safely keep him for such time as shall be mentioned in the commitment: Provided, that any person committed under the provisions of this section shall have the right to post a two hundred dollar ($200.00) bond with the clerk of the superior court and appeal to the superior court for a trial on the merits of his commitment. (1901, c. 89, s. 72; Rev., s. 4376; C.S., s. 5977; 1955, c. 871, s. 4; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1995, c. 379, s. 14(e); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-745. Authority of State Board to assist in litigation.

The State Board shall possess authority to assist any county board of elections in any matter in which litigation is contemplated or has been initiated, provided, the county board of elections in such county petitions, by majority resolution, for such assistance from the State Board and, provided further, that the State Board determines, in its sole discretion by majority vote, to assist in any such matter. It is further stipulated that the State Board shall not be authorized under this provision to enter into any litigation in assistance to counties, except in those instances where the uniform administration of this Subchapter has been, or would be threatened.

The Attorney General shall provide the State Board with legal assistance in execution of its authority under this section or, in the Attorney General's discretion, recommend that private counsel be employed.

If the Attorney General recommends employment of private counsel, the State Board may employ counsel with the approval of the Governor. (1969, c. 408, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 6; 1983, c. 324, s. 2; 2011-31, s. 16; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-746: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-747: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-748: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-749: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-750. Emergency powers.

(a) The Executive Director, as chief State elections official, may exercise emergency powers to conduct an election in a district where the normal schedule for the election is disrupted by any of the following:

(1) A natural disaster.

(2) Extremely inclement weather.

(3) An armed conflict involving Armed Forces of the United States, or mobilization of those forces, including North Carolina National Guard and reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States.

In exercising those emergency powers, the Executive Director shall avoid unnecessary conflict with the provisions of this Subchapter. The Executive Director shall adopt rules describing the emergency powers and the situations in which the emergency powers will be exercised.

(b) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to the State Board to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting State legislative or congressional districts other than a plan imposed by a court under G.S. 120-2.4 or a plan enacted by the General Assembly.

(c) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to the State Board to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting districts for a unit of local government other than a plan imposed by a court, a plan enacted by the General Assembly, or a plan adopted by the appropriate unit of local government under statutory or local act authority. (1999-455, s. 23; 2001-319, s. 11; 2011-183, s. 110; 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 20(d); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-751: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-752: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-753: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-754: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-755: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-756: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-757: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-758: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-759: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-760: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-761: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-762: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-763: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-764: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-765: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. County Boards of Elections.

163A-766. County boards of elections; appointments; terms of office; qualifications; vacancies; oath of office; instructional meetings.

(a) In every county of the State there shall be a county board of elections, to consist of four persons of good moral character who are registered voters in the county in which they are to act. Two of the members of the county board of elections shall be of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates, and two shall be of the political party with the second highest number of registered affiliates, as reflected by the latest registration statistics published by the State Board. In 2017, members of county boards of elections shall be appointed by the State Board on the second Tuesday in July. In 2019, members of county boards of elections shall be appointed by the State Board on the last Tuesday in June and every two years thereafter, and their terms of office shall continue for two years from the specified date of appointment and until their successors are appointed and qualified.

(b) No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of a county board of elections who holds any elective office under the government of the United States, or of the State of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof.

No person who holds any office in a state, congressional district, county or precinct political party or organization, or who is a campaign manager or treasurer of any candidate or political party in a primary or election, shall be eligible to serve as a member of a county board of elections, provided however that the position of delegate to a political party convention shall not be considered an office for the purpose of this section.

(c) No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of a county board of elections who is a candidate for nomination or election.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of a county board of elections who is the wife, husband, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew of any candidate for nomination or election. Upon any member of the board of elections becoming ineligible, that member's seat shall be declared vacant. This paragraph only applies if the county board of elections is conducting the election for which the relative is a candidate.

(d) The State chair of each political party shall have the right to recommend to the State Board three registered voters in each county for appointment to the board of elections for that county. If such recommendations are received by the State Board 15 or more days before the last Tuesday in June 2017, and each two years thereafter, it shall be the duty of the State Board to appoint the county boards from the names thus recommended.

Whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of a county board of elections for any cause the State chair of the political party of the vacating member shall have the right to recommend two registered voters of the affected county for such office, and it shall be the duty of the State Board to fill the vacancy from the names thus recommended.

At the meeting of the county board of elections required by G.S. 163A-767 to be held on Tuesday following the third Monday in July in the year of their appointment the members shall take the following oath of office:

"I, ____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States; and that I will well and truly execute the duties of the office of member of the ____ County Board of Elections to the best of my knowledge and ability, according to law; so help me God."

At the first meeting in July annually, the county boards shall organize by electing one of its members chair and one of its members vice-chair, each to serve a one-year term as such. In the odd-numbered year, the chair shall be a member of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates, as reflected by the latest registration statistics published by the State Board, and the vice-chair a member of the political party with the second highest number of registered affiliates. In the even-numbered year, the chair shall be a member of the political party with the second highest number of registered affiliates, as reflected by the latest registration statistics published by the State Board, and the vice-chair a member of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates.

Each member of the county board of elections shall attend each instructional meeting held pursuant to G.S. 163A-822, unless excused for good cause by the chair of the board, and shall be paid the sum of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day for attending each of those meetings. (1901, c. 89, ss. 6, 11; Rev., ss. 4303, 4304, 4305; 1913, c. 138; C.S., ss. 5924, 5925, 5926; 1921, c. 181, s. 1; 1923, c. 111, s. 1; c. 196; 1933, c. 165, s. 2; 1941, c. 305, s. 1; 1945, c. 758, ss. 1, 2; 1949, c. 672, s. 1; 1953, c. 410, ss. 1, 2; c. 1191, s. 2; 1955, c. 871, s. 1; 1957, c. 182, s. 1; 1959, c. 1203, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1969, c. 208, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 7; c. 1094; c. 1344, s. 4; 1975, c. 19, s. 66; c. 159, s. 1; 1981, c. 954, s. 1; 1983, c. 617, ss. 1, 2; 1985, c. 472, s. 4; 1997-211, s. 1; 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 5(h); 2017-6, ss. 2, 3, 7(h).)

 

163A-767. Meetings of county boards of elections; quorum; majority; minutes.

In each county of the State the members of the county board of elections shall meet at the courthouse or board office at noon on the Tuesday following the third Monday in July in the year of their appointment by the State Board and, after taking the oath of office provided in G.S. 163A-766, they shall organize by electing one member chair and another member secretary of the county board of elections. On the Tuesday following the third Monday in August of the year in which they are appointed the county board of elections shall meet and appoint precinct chief judges and judges of elections. The board may hold other meetings at such times as the chair of the board, or any three members thereof, may direct, for the performance of duties prescribed by law. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of board business. Except where required by law to act unanimously, a majority vote for action of the board shall require three of the four members. The chair shall notify,

or cause to be notified, all members regarding every meeting to be held by the board.

The county board of elections shall keep minutes recording all proceedings and findings at each of its meetings. The minutes shall be recorded in a book which shall be kept in the board office and it shall be the responsibility of the secretary, elected by the board, to keep the required minute book current and accurate. The secretary of the board may designate the director of elections to record and maintain the minutes under his or her supervision. (1901, c. 89, s. 11; Rev., ss. 4304, 4306; C.S., ss. 5925, 5927; 1921, c. 181, s. 2; 1923, c. 111, s. 1; 1927, c. 260, s. 1; 1933, c. 165, s. 2; 1941, c. 305, s. 1; 1945, c. 758, s. 2; 1953, c. 410, s. 1; c. 1191, s. 2; 1957, c. 182, s. 1; 1959, c. 1203, s. 1; 1966, Ex. Sess., c. 5, s. 2; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1969, c. 208, s. 2; 1975, c. 159, s. 2; 1977, c. 626; 1983, c. 617, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 13; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 5(i); 2017-6, ss. 2, 3, 7(i).)

 

163A-768. Compensation of members of county boards of elections.

In full compensation of their services, members of the county board of elections (including the chairman) shall be paid by the county twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per meeting for the time they are actually engaged in the discharge of their duties, together with reimbursement of expenditures necessary and incidental to the discharge of their duties; provided that members are not entitled to be compensated for more than one meeting held in any one 24-hour period. In its discretion, the board of county commissioners of any county may pay the chairman and members of the county board of elections compensation in addition to the per meeting and expense allowance provided in this paragraph.

In all counties the board of elections shall pay its clerk, assistant clerks, and other employees such compensation as it shall fix within budget appropriations. Counties which adopt full-time and permanent registration shall have authority to pay directors of elections whatever compensation they may fix within budget appropriations. (1901, c. 89, s. 11; Rev., s. 4303; C.S., s. 5925; 1923, c. 111, s. 1; 1933, c. 165, s. 2; 1941, c. 305, s. 1; 1945, c. 758, s. 2; 1953, c. 410, s. 1; c. 843; c. 1191, s. 2; 1955, c. 800; 1957, c. 182, s. 1; 1959, c. 1203, s. 1; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1971, c. 1166, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 8; c. 1344, s. 5; 1977, c. 626, s. 1; 1991, c. 338, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 14; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-769. Powers and duties of county boards of elections.

The county boards of elections within their respective jurisdictions shall exercise all powers granted to such boards in this Subchapter, and they shall perform all the duties imposed upon them by law, which shall include the following:

(1) To make and issue such rules, regulations, and instructions, not inconsistent with law, with directives promulgated under the provisions of G.S. 163A-1073, or with the rules, orders, and directives established by the State Board, as it may deem necessary for the guidance of election officers and voters.

(2) To appoint all chief judges, judges, assistants, and other officers of elections, and designate the precinct in which each shall serve; and, after notice and hearing, to remove any chief judge, judge of elections, assistant, or other officer of election appointed by it for incompetency, failure to discharge the duties of office, failure to qualify within the time prescribed by law, fraud, or for any other satisfactory cause. In exercising the powers and duties of this subdivision, the board may act only when a majority of its members are present at any meeting at which such powers or duties are exercised.

(3) To investigate irregularities, nonperformance of duties, and violations of laws by election officers and other persons, and to report violations to the State Board. In exercising the powers and duties of this subdivision, the board may act only when a majority of its members are present at any meeting at which such powers or duties are exercised. Provided that in any hearing on an irregularity no board of elections shall consider as evidence the testimony of a voter who cast a ballot, which ballot that voter was not eligible to cast, as to how that voter voted on that ballot.

(4) As provided in G.S. 163A-1045, to establish, define, provide, rearrange, discontinue, and combine election precincts as it may deem expedient, and to fix and provide for places of registration and for holding primaries and elections.

(5) To review, examine, and certify the sufficiency and validity of petitions and nomination papers.

(6) To advertise and contract for the printing of ballots and other supplies used in registration and elections; and to provide for the delivery of ballots, pollbooks, and other required papers and materials to the voting places.

(7) To provide for the purchase, preservation, and maintenance of voting booths, ballot boxes, registration and pollbooks, maps, flags, cards of instruction, and other forms, papers, and equipment used in registration, nominations, and elections; and to cause the voting places to be suitably provided with voting booths and other supplies required by law.

(8) To provide for the issuance of all notices, advertisements, and publications concerning elections required by law. If the election is on a State bond issue, an amendment to the Constitution, or approval of an act submitted to the voters of the State, the State Board shall reimburse the county boards of elections for their reasonable additional costs in placing such notices, advertisements, and publications. In addition, the county board of elections shall give notice at least 20 days prior to the date on which the registration books or records are closed that there will be a primary, general or special election, the date on which it will be held, and the hours the voting places will be open for voting in that election. The notice also shall describe the nature and type of election, and the issues, if any, to be submitted to the voters at that election. Notice shall be given by advertisement at least once weekly during the 20-day period in a newspaper having general circulation in the county and by posting a copy of the notice at the courthouse door. Notice may additionally be made on a radio or television station or both, but such notice shall be in addition to the newspaper and other required notice. This subdivision shall not apply in the case of bond elections called under the provisions of Chapter 159 [of the General Statutes].

(9) To receive the returns of primaries and elections, canvass the returns, make abstracts thereof, transmit such abstracts to the proper authorities, and to issue certificates of election to county officers and members of the General Assembly except those elected in districts composed of more than one county.

(10) To appoint and remove the board's clerk, assistant clerks, and other employees; and to appoint and remove precinct transfer assistants as provided in G.S. 163A-878(g).

(11) To prepare and submit to the proper appropriating officers a budget estimating the cost of elections for the ensuing fiscal year.

(12) To perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this Subchapter, by directives promulgated pursuant to G.S. 163A-1073, or by the rules, orders, and directives of the State Board.

(13) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other section of this Subchapter, to have access to any ballot boxes and their contents, any voting machines and their contents, any registration records, pollbooks, voter authorization cards or voter lists, any lists of absentee voters, any lists of presidential registrants under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended, and any other voting equipment or similar records, books or lists in any precinct or municipality over whose elections it has jurisdiction or for whose elections it has responsibility.

(14) To make forms available for near relatives or personal representatives of a deceased voter's estate to provide signed statements of the status of a deceased voter to return to the board of elections of the county in which the deceased voter was registered. Forms may be provided, upon request, to any of the following: near relatives, personal representatives of a deceased voter's estate, funeral directors, or funeral service licensees.

(15) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to county boards of elections to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting State legislative or congressional districts other than a plan imposed by a court under G.S. 120-2.4 or a plan enacted by the General Assembly.

(16) Nothing in this Subchapter shall grant authority to county boards of elections to alter, amend, correct, impose, or substitute any plan apportioning or redistricting districts for a unit of local government other than a plan imposed by a court, a plan enacted by the General Assembly, or a plan adopted by the appropriate unit of local government under statutory or local act authority. (1901, c. 89, s. 11; Rev., s. 4306; C.S., s. 5927; 1921, c. 181, s. 2; 1927, c. 260, s. 1; 1933, c. 165, s. 2; 1966, Ex. Sess., c. 5, s. 2; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, ss. 9-11; 1983, c. 392, s. 1; 1989, c. 93, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 15; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 694, s. 1; 1997-510, s. 1; 1999-424, s. 7(b); 2009-541, s. 2; 2013-381, s. 39.1(a); 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 20(c); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-770. Power of chairman to administer oaths.

The chairman of the county board of elections is authorized to administer to election officials specified in Parts 2 and 4 of this Article and Part 1 of Article 21 the required oath, and may also administer the required oath to witnesses appearing before the county board at a duly called public hearing. (1981, c. 154; 2007-391, s. 5; 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-771. Chairman and county board to examine voting machines.

Prior to each primary and general election the chairman and members of the county board of elections, in counties where voting machines are used, shall test vote, in a reasonable number of combinations, no less than ten percent (10%) of all voting machines programmed for each primary or election, such machines to be selected at random by the board after programming has been completed, and further, the board shall record the serial numbers of the machines test voted in the official minutes of the board. In the alternative, the board may cause the test voting required herein to be performed by persons qualified to program and test voting equipment. (1981, c. 303; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-772. County board of elections littering notification.

At the time an individual files with a county board of elections a notice of candidacy pursuant to G.S. 163A-972, 163A-973, 163A-974, 163A-975, 163A-976, 163A-977, and 163A-978, 163A-985, 163A-1615, or 163A-1620, is certified to a county board of elections by a political party executive committee to fill a nomination vacancy pursuant to G.S. 163A-987, qualifies with a county board of elections as an unaffiliated or write-in candidate pursuant to Part 2 of Article 19 of this Chapter, or formally initiates with a county board of elections a candidacy pursuant to any statute or local act, the county board of elections shall notify the candidate of the provisions concerning campaign signs in G.S. 136-32 and G.S. 14-156 and the rules adopted by the Department of Transportation pursuant to G.S. 136-18. (2001-512, s. 8; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-773. Power of county board of elections to maintain order.

Each county board of elections shall possess full power to maintain order, and to enforce obedience to its lawful commands during its sessions, and shall be constituted an inferior court for that purpose. If any person shall refuse to obey the lawful commands of any county board of elections, or by disorderly conduct in its hearing or presence shall interrupt or disturb its proceedings, it may, by an order in writing, signed by its chairman, and attested by its secretary, commit the person so offending to the common jail of the county for a period not exceeding 30 days. Such order shall be executed by any sheriff to whom the same shall be delivered, or if a sheriff shall not be present, or shall refuse to act, by any other person who shall be deputed by the county board of elections in writing, and the keeper of the jail shall receive the person so committed and safely keep him for such time as shall be mentioned in the commitment: Provided, that any person committed under the provisions of this section shall have the right to post a two hundred dollar ($200.00) bond with the clerk of the superior court and appeal to the superior court for a trial on the merits of his commitment. (1901, c. 89, s. 72; Rev., s. 4376; C.S., s. 5977; 1955, c. 871, s. 4; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 2004-203, s. 57; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-774. Director of elections to county board of elections; appointment; compensation; duties; dismissal.

(a) In the event a vacancy occurs in the office of county director of elections in any of the county boards of elections in this State, the county board of elections shall submit the name of the person it recommends to fill the vacancy, in accordance with provisions specified in this section, to the Executive Director of the State Board who shall issue a letter of appointment. A person shall not serve as a director of elections if he:

(1) Holds any elective public office;

(2) Is a candidate for any office in a primary or election;

(3) Holds any office in a political party or committee thereof;

(4) Is a campaign chairman or finance chairman for any candidate for public office or serves on any campaign committee for any candidate;

(5) Has been convicted of a felony in any court unless his rights of citizenship have been restored pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 13 of the General Statutes of North Carolina;

(6) Has been removed at any time by the State Board following a public hearing; or

(7) Is a member or a spouse, child, spouse of child, parent, sister, or brother of a member of the county board of elections by whom he would be employed.

(b) Appointment, Duties; Termination. - Upon receipt of a nomination from the county board of elections stating that the nominee for director of elections is submitted for appointment upon majority selection by the county board of elections the Executive Director shall issue a letter of appointment of such nominee to the chairman of the county board of elections within 10 days after receipt of the nomination, unless good cause exists to decline the appointment. The Executive Director may delay the issuance of appointment for a reasonable time if necessary to obtain a criminal history records check sought under G.S. 143B-968. The Executive Director shall apply the standards provided in G.S. 163A-7 in determining whether a nominee with a criminal history shall be selected. If the Executive Director determines a nominee shall not be selected and does not issue a letter of appointment, the decision of the Executive Director of the State Board shall be final unless the decision is, within 10 days from the official date on which it was made, deferred by the State Board. If the State Board defers the decision, then the State Board shall make a final decision on appointment of the director of elections and may direct the Executive Director to issue a letter of appointment. If an Executive Director issues a letter of appointment, the county board of elections shall enter in its official minutes the specified duties, responsibilities and designated authority assigned to the director by the county board of elections. The specified duties and responsibilities shall include adherence to the duties delegated to the county board of elections pursuant to G.S. 163A-769. A copy of the specified duties, responsibilities and designated authority assigned to the director shall be filed with the State Board. In the event the Executive Director is recused due to an actual or apparent conflict of interest from rendering a decision under this section, the chair and vice-chair of the State Board shall designate a member of staff to fulfill those duties.

(c) Compensation of Directors of Elections. - Compensation paid to directors of elections in all counties maintaining full-time registration (five days per week) shall be in the form of a salary in an amount recommended by the county board of elections and approved by the Board of County Commissioners and shall be commensurate with the salary paid to directors in counties similarly situated and similar in population and number of registered voters.

The Board of County Commissioners in each county, whether or not the county maintains full-time or modified full-time registration, shall compensate the director of elections at a minimum rate of twelve dollars ($12.00) per hour for hours worked in attendance to his or her duties as prescribed by law, including rules and regulations adopted by the State Board. In addition, the county shall pay to the director an hourly wage of at least twelve dollars ($12.00) per hour for all hours worked in excess of those prescribed in rules and regulations adopted by the State Board, when such additional hours have been approved by the county board of elections and such approval has been recorded in the official minutes of the county board of elections.

In addition to the compensation provided for herein, the director of elections to the county board of elections shall be granted the same vacation leave, sick leave, and petty leave as granted to all other county employees. It shall also be the responsibility of the Board of County Commissioners to appropriate sufficient funds to compensate a replacement for the director of elections when authorized leave is taken.

(d) Duties. - The director of elections may be empowered by the county board of elections to perform such administrative duties as might be assigned by the board and the chairman. In addition, the director of elections may be authorized by the chairman to execute the responsibilities devolving upon the chairman provided such authorization by any chairman shall in no way transfer the responsibility for compliance with the law. The chairman shall remain liable for proper execution of all matters specifically assigned to him by law.

The county board of elections shall have authority, by resolution adopted by majority vote, to delegate to its director of elections so much of the administrative detail of the election functions, duties, and work of the board, its officers and members, as is now, or may hereafter be vested in the board or its members as the county board of elections may see fit: Provided, that the board shall not delegate to a director of elections any of its quasi-judicial or policy-making duties and authority. Such a resolution shall require adherence to the duties delegated to the county board of elections pursuant to G.S. 163A-769. Within the limitations imposed upon the director of elections by the resolution of the county board of elections the acts of a properly appointed director of elections shall be deemed to be the acts of the county board of elections, its officers and members.

(e) Training and Certification. - The State Board shall conduct a training program consisting of four weeks for each new county director of elections. The director shall complete that program. Each director appointed after May 1995 shall successfully complete a certification program as provided in G.S. 163A-889(b) within three years after appointment or by January 1, 2003, whichever occurs later. (1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1971, c. 1166, s. 2; 1973, c. 859, s. 1; 1975, c. 211, ss. 1, 2; c. 713; 1977, c. 265, s. 21; c. 626, s. 1; c. 1129, s. 1; 1981, cc. 84, 221; 1983, c. 697; 1985, c. 763; 1991, c. 338, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 16; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 1999-426, s. 7(a); 2001-319, ss. 1(a), 1(b), 11; 2004-203, s. 58; 2009-541, ss. 3, 4(a); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-13, s. 1(e).)

 

163A-775. Termination of county director of elections; suspension.

(a) The county board of elections may, by petition signed by a majority of the board, recommend to the Executive Director of the State Board the termination of the employment of the county board's director of elections. The petition shall clearly state the reasons for termination. Upon receipt of the petition, the Executive Director shall forward a copy of the petition by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the county director of elections involved. The county director of elections may reply to the petition within 15 days of receipt thereof. Within 20 days of receipt of the county director of elections' reply or the expiration of the time period allowed for the filing of the reply, the State Executive Director shall render a decision as to the termination or retention of the county director of elections. The decision of the Executive Director of the State Board shall be final unless the decision is, within 20 days from the official date on which it was made, deferred by the State Board. If the State Board defers the decision, then the State Board shall make a final decision on the termination after giving the county director of elections an opportunity to be heard and to present witnesses and information to the State Board, and then notify the Executive Director of its decision in writing. Any one or more members of the State Board designated by the remaining members of the State Board may conduct the hearing and make a final determination on the termination. For the purposes of this section, the member(s) designated by the remaining members of the State Board shall possess the same authority conferred upon the chairman pursuant to G.S. 163A-4. If the decision, rendered after the hearing, results in concurrence with the decision entered by the Executive Director, the decision becomes final. If the decision rendered after the hearing is contrary to that entered by the Executive Director, then the Executive Director shall, within 15 days from the written notification, enter an amended decision consistent with the results of the decision by the State Board or its designated member(s).

(b) Upon majority vote on the recommendation of the Executive Director, the State Board may initiate proceedings for the termination of a county director of elections for just cause. If the State Board votes to initiate proceedings for termination, the State Board shall state the reasons for the termination in writing and send a copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the county director of elections. The director has 15 days to reply in writing to the notice. The State Board shall also notify the chair of the county board of elections and the chair of the county board of commissioners that the State Board has initiated termination proceedings. The State Board shall make a final decision on the termination after giving the county director of elections an opportunity to be heard, present witnesses, and provide information to the State Board. Any one or more members of the State Board designated by the remaining members of the State Board may conduct the hearing and make a final decision. For the purposes of this section, the member(s) designated by the remaining members of the State Board shall possess the same authority conferred upon the chairman pursuant to G.S. 163A-4.

(c) A county director of elections may be suspended, with pay, without warning for causes relating to personal conduct detrimental to service to the county or to the State Board, pending the giving of written reasons, in order to avoid the undue disruption of work or to protect the safety of persons or property or for other serious reasons. Any suspension may be initiated by the Executive Director but may not be for more than five days. Upon placing a county director of elections on suspension, the Executive Director shall, as soon as possible, reduce to writing the reasons for the suspension and forward copies to the county director of elections, the members of the county board of elections, the chair of the county board of commissioners, and the State Board. If no action for termination has been taken within five days, the county director of elections shall be fully reinstated.

(d) Termination of any county director of elections shall comply with this section.

(e) In the event the Executive Director is recused due to an actual or apparent conflict of interest from rendering a decision under this section, the chair and vice-chair of the State Board shall designate a member of staff to fulfill those duties. (1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1971, c. 1166, s. 2; 1973, c. 859, s. 1; 1975, c. 211, ss. 1, 2; c. 713; 1977, c. 265, s. 21; c. 626, s. 1; c. 1129, s. 1; 1981, cc. 84, 221; 1983, c. 697; 1985, c. 763; 1991, c. 338, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 16; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 1999-426, s. 7(a); 2001-319, ss. 1(a), 1(b), 11; 2004-203, s. 58; 2009-541, ss. 3, 4(a); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-13, s. 3.3.)

 

163A-776. Modified full-time offices.

The State Board shall promulgate rules permitting counties that have fewer than 6,501 registered voters to operate a modified full-time elections office to the extent that the operation of a full-time office is not necessary. Nothing in this section shall preclude any county from keeping an elections office open at hours consistent with the hours observed by other county offices. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 6; 1999-426, s. 8(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-777. Duty of county board of commissioners.

The respective boards of county commissioners shall appropriate reasonable and adequate funds necessary for the legal functions of the county board of elections, including reasonable and just compensation of the director of elections. (1999-424, s. 3(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-778. Criminal history record checks of current and prospective employees of county boards of elections.

(a) As used in this section, the term "current or prospective employee" means a current or prospective permanent or temporary employee of a county board of elections who has or will have access to the statewide computerized voter registration system maintained under G.S. 163A-874 or has a position or function designated by the State Board as provided in G.S. 163A-7(f).

(b) The county board of elections shall require a criminal history record check of all current or prospective employees, which shall be conducted by the Department of Public Safety as provided in G.S. 143B-969. The criminal history report shall be provided to the county board of elections. A county board of elections shall provide the criminal history record of all current or prospective employees required by G.S. 163A-7 to the Executive Director and the State Board. The criminal history report shall be kept confidential as provided in G.S. 143B-969(d) and is not a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(c) If the current or prospective employee's verified criminal history record check reveals one or more convictions, the conviction shall constitute just cause for not selecting the person for employment, or for dismissing the person from current employment. The conviction shall not automatically prohibit employment.

(d) The county board of elections may deny employment to or dismiss from employment a current or prospective employee who refuses to consent to a criminal history record check or to submit fingerprints or to provide other identifying information required by the State or National Repositories of Criminal Histories. Any such refusal shall constitute just cause for the employment denial or the dismissal from employment.

(e) The county board of elections may extend a conditional offer of employment or appointment pending the results of a criminal history record check authorized by this section.

(f) Neither appointment as a precinct official or assistant under Part 4 of Article 16 of this Chapter nor employment at a one-stop early voting location shall require a criminal history record check unless the official, assistant, or employee performs a function designated by the State Board pursuant to G.S. 163A-7(f). (2018-13, s. 1(d).)

 

163A-779: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-780: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-781: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-782: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-783: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-784: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-785: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-786: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-787: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-788: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-789: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-790: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-791: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-792: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-793: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-794: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Political Activities by State Board and County Board of Elections Members and Employees.

163A-795. Applicability of Part.

This Part applies to members and employees of the State Board and of each county board of elections. With regard to prohibitions in this Part concerning candidates, referenda, and committees, the prohibitions do not apply if the candidate or referendum will not be on the ballot in an area within the jurisdiction of the board, or if the political committee or referendum committee is not involved with an election or referendum that will be on the ballot in an area within the jurisdiction of the board. (2000-114, s. 1; 2007-391, s. 14(a); 2011-31, s. 17; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-796. Limitation on political activities.

No individual subject to this Part shall:

(1) Make written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting or opposing the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates for public office.

(2) Make written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting or opposing the passage of one or more clearly identified referendum proposals.

(3) Solicit contributions for a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee.

Individual expressions of opinion, support, or opposition not intended for general public distribution shall not be deemed a violation of this Part. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit participation in a political party convention as a delegate. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a board member or board employee from making a contribution to a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a board member or board employee from advising other government entities as to technical matters related to election administration or revision of electoral district boundaries. (2000-114, s. 1; 2007-391, s. 14(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-797. Violation may be ground for removal.

A violation of this Part may be a ground to remove a State Board member under G.S. 143B-16 or a county board of elections member under G.S. 163A-741(c). A violation of this Part may be a ground for dismissal of an employee of the State Board or of a county board of elections. No criminal penalty shall be imposed for a violation of this Part. (2000-114, s. 1; 2007-391, s. 14(a); 2011-31, s. 18; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-798. Definitions.

The provisions of Article 23 of this Chapter apply to the definition and proof of terms used in this Part. (2000-114, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-799: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-800: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-801: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-802: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-803: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-804: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-805: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-806: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-807: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-808: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-809: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-810: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-811: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-812: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-813: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-814: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 4. Precinct Election Officials.

163A-815. Precinct chief judges and judges of election; appointment; terms of office; qualifications; vacancies; oaths of office.

(a) Appointment of Chief Judge and Judges. - At the meeting required by G.S. 163A-767 to be held on the Tuesday following the third Monday in August of the year in which they are appointed, the county board of elections shall appoint one person to act as chief judge and two other persons to act as judges of election for each precinct in the county. Their terms of office shall continue for two years from the specified date of appointment and until their successors are appointed and qualified, except that if a nonresident of the precinct is appointed as chief judge or judge for a precinct, that person's term of office shall end if the board of elections appoints a qualified resident of the precinct of the same party to replace the nonresident chief judge or judge. It shall be their duty to conduct the primaries and elections within their respective precincts. Persons appointed to these offices must be registered voters and residents of the county in which the precinct is located, of good repute, and able to read and write. Not more than one judge in each precinct shall belong to the same political party as the chief judge.

(b) The term "precinct official" shall mean chief judges and judges appointed pursuant to this section, and all assistants appointed pursuant to G.S. 163A-818, unless the context of a statute clearly indicates a more restrictive meaning.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a precinct official, as that term is defined above, who holds any elective office under the government of the United States, or of the State of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a precinct official who is a candidate for nomination or election.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a precinct official who holds any office in a state, congressional district, county, or precinct political party or political organization, or who is a manager or treasurer for any candidate or political party, provided however that the position of delegate to a political party convention shall not be considered an office for the purpose of this subsection.

(c) The chairman of each political party in the county where possible shall recommend two registered voters in each precinct who are otherwise qualified, are residents of the precinct, have good moral character, and are able to read and write, for appointment as chief judge in the precinct, and he shall also recommend where possible the same number of similarly qualified voters for appointment as judges of election in that precinct. If such recommendations are received by the county board of elections no later than the fifth day preceding the date on which appointments are to be made, it must make precinct appointments from the names of those recommended. Provided that if only one name is submitted by the fifth day preceding the date on which appointments are to be made, by a party for judge of election by the chairman of one of the two political parties in the county having the greatest numbers of registered voters in the State, the county board of elections must appoint that person.

If the recommendations of the party chairs for chief judge or judge in a precinct are insufficient, the county board of elections by unanimous vote of all of its members may name to serve as chief judge or judge in that precinct registered voters in that precinct who were not recommended by the party chairs. If, after diligently seeking to fill the positions with registered voters of the precinct, the county board still has an insufficient number of officials for the precinct, the county board by unanimous vote of all of its members may appoint to the positions registered voters in other precincts in the same county who meet the qualifications other than residence to be precinct officials in the precinct, provided that where possible the county board shall seek and adopt the recommendation of the county chairman of the political party affected. In making its appointments, the county board shall assure, wherever possible, that no precinct has a chief judge and judges all of whom are registered with the same party. In no instance shall the county board appoint nonresidents of the precinct to a majority of the three positions of chief judge and judge in a precinct.

(d) If, at any time other than on the day of a primary or election, a chief judge or judge of election shall be removed from office, or shall die or resign, or if for any other cause there be a vacancy in a precinct election office, the chairman of the county board of elections shall appoint another in his place, promptly notifying him of his appointment. If at all possible, the chairman of the county board of elections shall consult with the county chairman of the political party of the vacating official, and if the chairman of the county political party nominates a qualified voter of that precinct to fill the vacancy, the chairman of the county board of elections shall appoint that person. In filling such a vacancy, the chairman shall appoint a person who belongs to the same political party as that to which the vacating member belonged when appointed. If the chairman of the county board of elections did not appoint a person upon recommendation of the chairman of the party to fill such a vacancy, then the term of office of the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall expire upon the conclusion of the next canvass held by the county board of elections under this Subchapter, and any successor must be a person nominated by the chairman of the party of the vacating officer.

If any person appointed chief judge shall fail to be present at the voting place at the hour of opening the polls on primary or election day, or if a vacancy in that office shall occur on primary or election day for any reason whatever, the precinct judges of election shall appoint another to act as chief judge until such time as the chairman of the county board of elections shall appoint to fill the vacancy. If such appointment by the chairman of the county board of elections is not a person nominated by the county chairman of the political party of the vacating officer, then the term of office of the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall expire upon the conclusion of the next canvass held by the county board of elections under this Subchapter. If a judge of election shall fail to be present at the voting place at the hour of opening the polls on primary or election day, or if a vacancy in that office shall occur on primary or election day for any reason whatever, the chief judge shall appoint another to act as judge until such time as the chairman of the county board of elections shall appoint to fill the vacancy. Persons appointed to fill vacancies shall, whenever possible, be chosen from the same political party as the person whose vacancy is being filled, and all such appointees shall be sworn before acting.

(e) As soon as practicable, following their training as prescribed in G.S. 163A-889, each chief judge and judge of election shall take and subscribe the following oath of office to be administered by an officer authorized to administer oaths and file it with the county board of elections:

"I, ____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States; that I will administer the duties of my office as chief judge of (judge of election in) ____ precinct, ____ County, without fear or favor; that I will not in any manner request or seek to persuade or induce any voter to vote for or against any particular candidate or proposition; and that I will not keep or make any memorandum of anything occurring within a voting booth, unless I am called upon to testify in a judicial proceeding for a violation of the election laws of this State; so help me, God."

Notwithstanding the previous paragraph, a person appointed chief judge by the judges of election under this section, or appointed judge of election by the chief judge under this section may take the oath of office immediately upon appointment.

Before the opening of the polls on the morning of the primary or election, the chief judge shall administer the oath set out in the preceding paragraph to each assistant, and any judge of election not previously sworn, substituting for the words "chief judge of" the words "assistant in" or "judge of election in" whichever is appropriate.

(f) Special Registration Commissioners Abolished; Optional Training. - The office of special registration commissioner is abolished. The State Board and county boards of elections may provide training to persons assisting in voter registration.

(g) Publication of Names of Precinct Officials. - Immediately after appointing chief judges and judges as herein provided, the county board of elections shall publish the names of the persons appointed in some newspaper having general circulation in the county or, in lieu thereof, at the courthouse door, and shall notify each person appointed of his appointment, either by letter or by having a notice served upon him by the sheriff. Notice may additionally be made on a radio or television station or both, but such notice shall be in addition to the newspaper and other required notice. (1901, c. 89, ss. 8, 9, 16; Rev., ss. 4307, 4308, 4309; C.S., ss. 5928, 5929, 5930; 1923, c. 111, s. 2; 1929, c. 164, s. 18; 1933, c. 165, s. 3; 1947, c. 505, s. 2; 1953, c. 843; c. 1191, s. 3; 1955, c. 800; 1957, c. 784, s. 1; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 435; c. 1223, s. 2; 1975, c. 159, ss. 3, 4; c. 711; c. 807, s. 1; 1979, c. 766, s. 1; c. 782; 1981, c. 628, ss. 1, 2; c. 954, ss. 2, 4; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1265, s. 7; 1983, c. 617, s. 5; 1985, c. 387; c. 563, ss. 9, 10; c. 600, s. 7.1; c. 759, ss. 7, 7.1, 8; 1987, c. 80; c. 491, s. 4.1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1028, s. 12; 1989, c. 93, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 3; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 734, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-816. Certain relatives prohibited from serving together.

(a) The following categories of relatives are prohibited from serving as precinct officials of the same precinct: spouse, child, spouse of a child, sister or brother.

(b) No precinct official who is the wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister of any candidate for nomination or election may serve as precinct official during any primary or election in which such candidate participates. The county board of elections shall temporarily disqualify any such official for the specific primary or election involved and shall have authority to appoint a substitute official, from the same political party, to serve only during the primary or election at which such conflict exists. (1975, c. 745; 1979, c. 411, s. 2; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-817. Discharge of precinct official unlawful.

(a) No employer may discharge or demote any employee because the employee has been appointed as a precinct official and is serving as a precinct official on election day or canvass day.

(b) An employee discharged or demoted in violation of this section shall be entitled to be reinstated to that employee's former position. The burden of proof shall be upon the employee.

(c) The statute of limitations for actions under this section shall be one year pursuant to G.S. 1-54.

(d) This section does not apply unless the employee provides the employer with not less than 30 days written notice, before the date the leave is to begin, of the employee's intention to take leave to serve as a precinct official.

(e) As used in this section, "precinct official" has the same meaning as in G.S. 163A-815(a). (2001-169, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-818. Assistants at polls; appointment; term of office; qualifications; oath of office.

(a) Each county board of elections is authorized, in its discretion, to appoint two or more assistants for each precinct to aid the chief judge and judges. Not more than two assistants shall be appointed in precincts having 500 or less registered voters. Assistants shall be qualified voters of the county in which the precinct is located. When the board of elections determines that assistants are needed in a precinct an equal number shall be appointed from different political parties, unless the requirement as to party affiliation cannot be met because of an insufficient number of voters of different political parties within the county.

In the discretion of the county board of elections, a precinct assistant may serve less than the full day prescribed for chief judges and judges in G.S. 163A-823(a).

(b) The chairman of each political party in the county shall have the right to recommend from three to 10 registered voters in each precinct for appointment as precinct assistants in that precinct. If the recommendations are received by it no later than the thirtieth day prior to the primary or election, the board shall make appointments of the precinct assistants for each precinct from the names thus recommended. If the recommendations of the party chairs for precinct assistant in a precinct are insufficient, the county board of elections by unanimous vote of all of its members may name to serve as precinct assistant in that precinct registered voters in that precinct who were not recommended by the party chairs. If, after diligently seeking to fill the positions with registered voters of the precinct, the county board still has an insufficient number of precinct assistants for the precinct, the county board by unanimous vote of all of its members may appoint to the positions registered voters in other precincts in the same county who meet the qualifications other than residence to be precinct officials in the precinct. In making its appointments, the county board shall assure, wherever possible, that no precinct has precinct officials all of whom are registered with the same party. In no instance shall the county board appoint nonresidents of the precinct to a majority of the positions as precinct assistant in a precinct.

(c) In addition, a county board of elections by unanimous vote of all of its members may appoint any registered voter in the county as emergency election-day assistant, as long as that voter is otherwise qualified to be a precinct official. The State Board shall determine for each election the number of emergency election-day assistants each county may have, based on population, expected turnout, and complexity of election duties. The county board by unanimous vote of all of its members may assign emergency election-day assistants on the day of the election to any precinct in the county where the number of precinct officials is insufficient because of an emergency occurring within 48 hours of the opening of the polls that prevents an appointed precinct official from serving. A person appointed to serve as emergency election-day assistant shall be trained and paid like other precinct assistants in accordance with G.S. 163A-822. A county board of elections shall apportion the appointments as emergency election-day assistant among registrants of each political party so as to make possible the staffing of each precinct with officials of more than one party, and the county board shall make assignments so that no precinct has precinct officials all of whom are registered with the same party.

(d) Before entering upon the duties of the office, each assistant shall take the oath prescribed in G.S. 163A-815(a) to be administered by the chief judge of the precinct for which the assistant is appointed. Assistants serve for the particular primary or election for which they are appointed, unless the county board of elections appoints them for a term to expire on the date appointments are to be made pursuant to G.S. 163A-815. (1929, c. 164, s. 35; 1933, c. 165, s. 24; 1953, c. 1191, s. 3; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 95; c. 1359, ss. 1-3; 1975, c. 19, s. 67; 1977, c. 95, ss. 1, 2; 1981, c. 954, s. 3; 1983, c. 617, s. 4; 1985, c. 563, ss. 8, 8.1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 17; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 554, s. 1; c. 734, s. 2; 2011-31, s. 19; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-819. Student election assistants.

A student of at least 17 years of age at the time of any election or primary in which the student works shall be eligible to be appointed as a student election assistant. To be eligible a student must have all the following qualifications:

(1) Be a United States citizen.

(2) Be a resident of the county in which the student is appointed.

(3) Be enrolled in a secondary educational institution, including a home school as defined in G.S. 115C-563(a), with an exemplary academic record as determined by that institution.

(4) Be recommended by the principal or director of the secondary educational institution in which the student is enrolled.

(5) Have the consent of a parent, legal custodian, or guardian.

The county board of elections may appoint student election assistants, following guidelines which shall be issued by the State Board. No more than two student election assistants shall be assigned to any voting place. Every student election assistant shall work under the direct supervision of the election judges. The student election assistants shall attend the same training as a precinct assistant, shall be sworn in the same manner as a precinct assistant, and shall be compensated in the same manner as precinct assistants. The county board of elections shall prescribe the duties of a student election assistant, following guidelines which shall be issued by the State Board. Under no circumstances may students ineligible to register to vote be appointed and act as precinct judges or observers in any election. The date of birth of a student election assistant shall be kept confidential. (2003-278, s. 1; 2004-127, s. 17(e); 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-820. Ballot counters; appointment; qualifications; oath of office.

The county board of elections of any county may authorize the use of precinct ballot counters to aid the chief judges and judges of election in the counting of ballots in any precinct or precincts within the county. The county board of elections shall appoint the ballot counters it authorizes for each precinct or, in its discretion, the board may delegate authority to make such appointments to the precinct chief judge, specifying the number of ballot counters to be appointed for each precinct. A ballot counter must be a resident of the county in which the precinct is located.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter, who holds any elective office under the government of the United States, or of the State of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter, who serves as chairman of a state, congressional district, county, or precinct political party or political organization.

No person who is the wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister of any candidate for nomination or election may serve as ballot counter during any primary or election in which such candidate qualifies.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter who is a candidate for nomination or election.

Upon acceptance of appointment, each ballot counter shall appear before the precinct chief judge at the voting place immediately at the close of the polls on the day of the primary or election and take the following oath to be administered by the chief judge:

"I, ____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States; that I will honestly discharge the duties of ballot counter in ____ precinct, ____ County for primary (or election) held this day, and that I will fairly and honestly tabulate the votes cast in said primary (or election); so help me, God."

The names and addresses of all ballot counters serving in any precinct, whether appointed by the county board of elections or by the chief judge, shall be reported by the chief judge to the county board of elections at the county canvass following the primary or election. (1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1981, c. 954, s. 5; 1985, c. 563, s. 10.1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 18; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 734, s. 3; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-821. Observers; appointment.

(a) The chair of each political party in the county shall have the right to designate two observers to attend each voting place at each primary and election and such observers may, at the option of the designating party chair, be relieved during the day of the primary or election after serving no less than four hours and provided the list required by this section to be filed by each chair contains the names of all persons authorized to represent such chair's political party. The chair of each political party in the county shall have the right to designate 10 additional at-large observers who are residents of that county who may attend any voting place in that county. The list submitted by the chair of the political party may be amended between the one-stop period under G.S. 163A-1300, 163A-1301, 163A-1302, 163A-1303, and 163A-1304 and general election day to substitute one or all at-large observers for election day. Not more than two observers from the same political party shall be permitted in the voting enclosure at any time, except that in addition one of the at-large observers from each party may also be in the voting enclosure. This right shall not extend to the chair of a political party during a primary unless that party is participating in the primary. In any election in which an unaffiliated candidate is named on the ballot, the candidate or the candidate's campaign manager shall have the right to appoint two observers for each voting place consistent with the provisions specified herein. Persons appointed as observers must be registered voters of the county for which appointed and must have good moral character. No person who is a candidate on the ballot in a primary or election may serve as an observer or runner in that primary or election. Observers shall take no oath of office.

(b) Individuals authorized to appoint observers must submit in writing to the chief judge of each precinct a signed list of the observers appointed for that precinct, except that the list of at-large observers authorized in subsection (a) of this section shall be submitted to the county director of elections. Individuals authorized to appoint observers must, prior to 10:00 A.M. on the fifth day prior to any primary or general election, submit in writing to the chair of the county board of elections two signed copies of a list of observers appointed by them, designating the precinct or at-large status for which each observer is appointed. Before the opening of the voting place on the day of a primary or general election, the chair shall deliver one copy of the list to the chief judge for each affected precinct, except that the list of at-large observers shall be provided by the county director of elections to the chief judge. The chair shall retain the other copy. The chair, or the chief judge and judges for each affected precinct, may for good cause reject any appointee and require that another be appointed. The names of any persons appointed in place of those persons rejected shall be furnished in writing to the chief judge of each affected precinct no later than the time for opening the voting place on the day of any primary or general election, either by the chair of the county board of elections or the person making the substitute appointment.

If party chairs appoint observers at one-stop sites under G.S. 163A-1300, 163A-1301, 163A-1302, 163A-1303, and 163A-1304, those party chairs shall provide a list of the observers appointed before 10:00 A.M. on the fifth day before the observer is to observe. At-large observers may serve at any one-stop site.

(c) An observer shall do no electioneering at the voting place, and shall in no manner impede the voting process or interfere or communicate with or observe any voter in casting a ballot, but, subject to these restrictions, the chief judge and judges of elections shall permit the observer to make such observation and take such notes as the observer may desire.

(d) Whether or not the observer attends to the polls for the requisite time provided by this section, each observer shall be entitled to obtain at times specified by the State Board, but not less than three times during election day with the spacing not less than one hour apart, a list of the persons who have voted in the precinct so far in that election day. Counties that use an "authorization to vote document" instead of poll books may comply with the requirement in the previous sentence by permitting each observer to inspect election records so that the observer may create a list of persons who have voted in the precinct so far that election day; each observer shall be entitled to make the inspection at times specified by the State Board, but not less than three times during election day with the spacing not less than one hour apart.

Instead of having an observer receive the voting list, the county party chair may send a runner to do so, even if an observer has not been appointed for that precinct. The runner may be the precinct party chair or any person named by the county party chair. Each county party chair using runners in an election shall provide to the county board of elections before 10:00 A.M. on the fifth day before election day a list of the runners to be used. That party chair must notify the chair of the county board of elections or the board chair's designee of the names of all runners to be used in each precinct before the runner goes to the precinct. The runner may receive a voter list from the precinct on the same schedule as an observer. Whether obtained by observer or runner, each party is entitled to only one voter list at each of the scheduled times. No runner may enter the voting enclosure except when necessary to announce that runner's presence and to receive the list. The runner must leave immediately after being provided with the list. (1929, c. 164, s. 36; 1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; c. 871, s. 7; 1959, c. 616, s. 2; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, ss. 14, 94; 1977, c. 453; 1991, c. 727, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 19; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 688, s. 1; c. 734, s. 4.1; 2005-428, s. 1(a); 2007-391, s. 22; 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2013-381, s. 11.1; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-822. Compensation of precinct officials and assistants.

The precinct chief judge shall be paid the state minimum wage for his services on the day of a primary, special or general election. Judges of election shall each be paid the state minimum wage for their services on the day of a primary, special or general election. Assistants, appointed pursuant to G.S. 163A-818, shall each be paid the state minimum wage for their services on the day of a primary, special or general election. Ballot counters appointed pursuant to G.S. 163A-820 shall be paid a minimum of five dollars ($5.00) for their services on the day of a primary, general or special election. If an election official is being paid an hourly wage or daily fee on an election day and the official is performing additional election duties away from the assigned precinct voting place, the official shall not be entitled to any additional monies for those services, except for reimbursable expenses in performing the services.

If the county board of elections requests the presence of a chief judge or judge at the county canvass, the chief judge shall be paid the sum of twenty dollars ($20.00) per day and judges shall be paid the sum of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day. If the county board of elections requests a precinct official, including chief judge or judge, to personally deliver official ballots or other official materials to the county board of elections, the precinct official shall be paid the sum of twenty dollars ($20.00) per day and judges shall be paid the sum of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per day.

The chairman of the county board of elections, along with the director of elections, shall conduct an instructional meeting prior to each primary and general election which shall be attended by each chief judge and judge of election, unless excused by the chairman, and such precinct election officials shall be paid the sum of fifteen dollars ($15.00) for attending the instructional meetings required by this section.

In its discretion, the board of county commissioners of any county may provide funds with which the county board of elections may pay chief judges, judges, assistants, and ballot counters in addition to the amounts specified in this section. Observers shall be paid no compensation for their services.

A person appointed to serve as chief judge, or judge of election when a previously appointed chief judge or judge fails to appear at the voting place or leaves his post on the day of an election or primary shall be paid the same compensation as the chief judge or judge appointed prior to that date.

For the purpose of this section, the phrase "the State minimum wage," means the amount set by G.S. 95-25.3(a). For the purpose of this section, no other provision of Article 2A of Chapter 95 of the General Statutes shall apply. (1901, c. 89, s. 42; Rev., s. 4311; C.S., s. 5932; 1927, c. 260, s. 2; 1931, c. 254, s. 16; 1933, c. 165, s. 3; 1935, c. 421, s. 1; 1939, c. 264, s. 1; 1941, c. 304, s. 1; 1945, c. 758, s. 3; 1947, c. 505, s. 11; 1951, c. 1009, s. 1; 1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; 1957, c. 182, s. 2; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1969, c. 24; 1971, c. 604; 1973, c. 793, ss. 15, 16, 94; 1977, c. 626, s. 1; 1979, c. 403; 1981, c. 796, ss. 1, 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 20; 1995, c. 243, s. 1; 2001-398, s. 5; 2003-278, s. 3; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-823. Powers and duties of chief judges and judges of election.

(a) The chief judges and judges of election shall conduct the primaries and elections within their respective precincts fairly and impartially, and they shall enforce peace and good order in and about the place of registration and voting. On the day of each primary and general and special election, the precinct chief judge and judges shall remain at the voting place from the time fixed by law for the commencement of their duties there until they have completed all those duties, and they shall not separate nor shall any one of them leave the voting place except for unavoidable necessity.

(b) On the day of an election or primary, the chief judge shall have charge of the registration list for the purpose of passing on the registration of persons who present themselves at the polls to vote.

(c) The chief judge and judges shall hear challenges of the right of registered voters to vote as provided by law.

(d) The chief judge and judges shall count the votes cast in their precincts and make such returns of the same as is provided by law.

(e) The chief judge and judges shall make such an accounting to the chairman of the county board of elections for ballots and for election supplies as is required by law.

(f) The chief judge and judges of election shall act by a majority vote on all matters not assigned specifically by law to the chief judge or to a judge. (1901, c. 89, s. 41; Rev., s. 4312; C.S., s. 5933; 1933, c. 165, s. 3; 1939, c. 263, s. 3 1/2; 1947, c. 505, s. 3; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 17; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 4; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-824. Maintenance of order at place of registration and voting.

The chief judge and judges of election shall enforce peace and good order in and about the place of registration and voting. They shall especially keep open and unobstructed the place at which voters or persons seeking to register or vote have access to the place of registration and voting. They shall prevent and stop improper practices and attempts to obstruct, intimidate, or interfere with any person in registering or voting. They shall protect challenger and witnesses against molestation and violence in the performance of their duties, and they may eject from the place of registration or voting any challenger or witness for violation of any provisions of the election laws. They shall prevent riots, violence, tumult, or disorder.

In the discharge of the duties prescribed in the preceding paragraph of this section, the chief judge and judges may call upon the sheriff, the police, or other peace officers to aid them in enforcing the law. They may order the arrest of any person violating any provision of the election laws, but such arrest shall not prevent the person arrested from registering or voting if he is entitled to do so. The sheriff, police officers, and other officers of the peace shall immediately obey and aid in the enforcement of any lawful order made by the precinct election officials in the enforcement of the election laws. The chief judge and judges of election of any precinct, or any two of such election officials, shall have the authority to deputize any person or persons as police officers to aid in maintaining order at the place of registration or voting. (1901, c. 89, s. 72; Rev., s. 4376; C.S., s. 5977; 1955, c. 871, s. 4; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 21; 2017-6, s. 3.)

 

163A-825: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-826: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-827: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-828: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-829: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-830: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-831: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-832: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-833: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-834: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-835: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-836: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-837: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-838: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

163A-839: Reserved for future codification purposes.