§ 163-165.9. Voting systems: powers and duties of county board of elections.
(a) Before approving the adoption and acquisition of any voting system by the board of county commissioners, the county board of elections shall do all of the following:
(1) Recommend to the board of county commissioners which type of voting system should be acquired by the county.
(2) Witness a demonstration, in that county or at a site designated by the State Board, of the type of voting system to be recommended and also witness a demonstration of at least one other type of voting system certified by the State Board.
(3) Test the voting system in at least one of the following ways:
a. During an election, in at least one precinct in the county where the voting system would be used if adopted.
b. During a simulated election, in accordance with standards established by the State Board.
(b) After the acquisition of any voting system, the county board of elections shall comply with any requirements of the State Board of Elections regarding training and support of the voting system by completing all of the following:
(1) The county board of elections shall comply with all specifications of its voting system vendor for ballot printers. The county board of elections is authorized to contract with noncertified ballot printing vendors, so long as the noncertified ballot printing vendor meets all specifications and all quality assurance requirements as set by the State Board of Elections.
(2) The county board of elections shall annually maintain software license and maintenance agreements necessary to maintain the warranty of its voting system. A county board of elections may employ qualified personnel to maintain a voting system in lieu of entering into maintenance agreements necessary to maintain the warranty of its voting system. State Board of Elections is not required to provide routine maintenance to any county board of elections that does not maintain the warranty of its voting system. If the State Board of Elections provides any maintenance to a county that has not maintained the warranty of its voting system, the county shall reimburse the State for the cost. The State Board of Elections shall report annually by January 15 to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, to the Fiscal Research Division, to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government, and to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on implementation of this subdivision. If requested by the county board of elections, the State Board may enter into contracts on behalf of that county under this subdivision, but such contracts must also be approved by the county board of elections. Any contract entered into under this subdivision shall be paid from non-State funds. Neither a county nor the State Board of Elections shall enter into any contract with any vendor for software license and maintenance agreements unless the vendor agrees to (i) operate a training program for qualification of county personnel under this subsection with training offered within the State of North Carolina and (ii) not dishonor warranties merely because the county is employing qualified personnel to maintain the voting system as long as the county:
a. Pays the costs of the annual software licensing agreement for that county.
b. Ensures that equipment (i) remains in full compliance with State certification requirements and (ii) remains in stock and supply available to the county for up to five years after the vendor discontinues distribution or sale of the equipment.
c. Maintains a tracking record to record and timely report all hardware issues and all repairs and provides those records for review by the vendor and by the State Board of Elections.
d. Provides that only parts provided by the vendor would be used to repair the vendor's equipment, contingent on (i) the county being able to purchase necessary parts in a timely manner from the vendor and (ii) the vendor providing the equipment at least at the lowest price at which it sells the equipment to any other customer in the United States.
e. Accepts financial responsibility for expenses related to voting equipment failure during an election if the failure is caused solely by work of the county technician.
(3) The county board of elections shall not replace any voting system, or any portion thereof, without approval of the State Board of Elections.
(4) The county board of elections may have its voting system repaired pursuant to its maintenance agreement but shall notify the State Board of Elections at the time of every repair, according to guidelines that shall be provided by the State Board of Elections. (2001-460, s. 3; 2005-323, s. 4; 2007-391, s. 25; 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2009-541, s. 20; 2011-145, s. 26.3(a); 2012-142, s. 23.3(a); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b); 2019-239, s. 4(a); 2021-180, s. 37.6(b).)