§ 163-165.3. Responsibilities for preparing official ballots.
Overview of Statute
Section stipulates the responsibilities of State Board of Election Officials, including responsibilities of county board officials to produce sample ballots.
(a) State Board Responsibilities.–The State Board of Elections shall certify the official ballots and voter instructions to be used in every election that is subject to this Article. In conducting its certification, the State Board shall adhere to the following:
(1) No later than January 31 of every calendar year, the State Board shall establish a schedule for the certification of all official ballots and instructions during that year. The schedule shall include a time for county boards of elections to submit their official ballots and instructions to the State Board for certification and times for the State Board to complete the certification.
(2) The State Board of Elections shall compose model ballot instructions, which county boards of elections may amend subject to approval by the State Board as part of the certification process. The State Board of Elections may permit a county board of elections to place instructions elsewhere than on the official ballot itself, where placing them on the official ballot would be impractical.
(3) With regard only to multicounty ballot items on the official ballot, the State Board shall certify the accuracy of the content on the official ballot.
(4) With regard to the entire official ballot, the State Board shall certify that the content and arrangement of the official ballot are in substantial compliance with the provisions of this Article and standards adopted by the State Board.
(5) The State Board shall proofread the official ballot of every county, if practical, prior to final production.
(6) The State Board is not required to certify or review every official ballot style in the county but may require county boards to submit and may review a composite official ballot showing races that will appear in every district in the county.
The State Board shall be responsible for oversight of all ballot coding. In order to produce the data necessary for equipment programming, each county shall either contract with a qualified vendor certified by the State Board or be certified by the State Board to produce the data.
(b) County Board Responsibilities.–Each county board of elections shall prepare and produce official ballots for all elections in that county. The county board of elections shall submit the format of each official ballot and set of instructions to the State Board of Elections for review and certification in accordance with the schedule established by the State Board. The county board of elections shall follow the directions of the State Board in placing candidates, referenda, and other material on official ballots and in placing instructions.
(c) Late Changes in Ballots.–The State Board shall promulgate rules for late changes in ballots. The rules shall provide for the reprinting, where practical, of official ballots as a result of replacement candidates to fill vacancies in accordance with G.S. 163-114 or other late changes. If an official ballot is not reprinted, a vote for a candidate who has been replaced in accordance with G.S. 163-114 will count for the replacement candidate.
(d) Special Ballots.–The State Board of Elections, with the approval of a county board of elections, may produce special official ballots, such as those for disabled voters, where production by the State Board would be more practical than production by the county board.
(2001-460, s. 3; 2007-391, s. 24(a); 2008-187, s. 33(a); 2009-541, s. 18(a); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)
1. Definition for Ballot item
“Ballot item” means a single item on a ballot in which the voters are to choose between or among the candidates or proposals listed.
2. Definition for Ballot style
“Ballot style” means the version of a ballot within a jurisdiction that an individual voter is eligible to vote. For example, in a county that uses essentially the same official ballot, a group office such as county commissioner may be divided into districts so that different voters in the same county vote for commissioner in different districts. The different versions of the county’s official ballot containing only those district ballot items one individual voter may vote are the county’s different ballot styles.
3. Definition for Official ballot
“Official ballot” means a ballot that has been certified by the State Board of Elections and produced by or with the approval of the county board of elections. The term does not include a sample ballot or a specimen ballot.
4. Definition for board
The term “board” means the State Board with respect to all candidates for State, legislative, and judicial offices and the county board of elections with respect to all candidates for county and municipal offices. The term means the State Board with respect to all statewide referenda and the county board of elections conducting all local referenda.
5. Definition for Board
Board. – Any State board, commission, council, committee, task force,
authority, or similar public body, however denominated, created by statute or
executive order, as determined and designated by the State Board, except for
those public bodies that have only advisory authority.
6. Definition for State
“State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
7. Definition for Ballot
(Effective until January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal. The term “ballot” may include a paper ballot to be counted by hand, a paper ballot to be counted on an electronic
scanner, the face of a lever voting machine, the image on a direct record electronic unit, or a ballot used on any other voting system.
(Effective January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal, and is evidenced by an individual paper document that bears marks made by the voter by hand or through electronic
means, whether preprinted or printed in the voting enclosure.
8. Definition for election
The term “election” means any general or special election, a first or second primary, a run-off election, or an election to fill a vacancy. The term “election” shall not include any local or statewide referendum.
9. Definition for Election
“Election” means the event in which voters cast votes in ballot items concerning proposals or candidates for office in this State or the United States. The term includes primaries, general elections, referenda, and special elections.
10. Definition for Contract
Contract. – Any agreement, including sales and conveyances of real and
personal property, and agreements for the performance of services.
11. Definition for candidate
The term “candidate” means any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163A-1411(80), has taken positive action for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination, retention, or election to public office. Examples of positive action include any of the following:
a. Filing a notice of candidacy, filing a notice to be retained, or a petition requesting to be a candidate.
b. Being certified as a nominee of a political party for a vacancy.
c. Otherwise qualifying as a candidate in a manner authorized by law.
d. Making a public announcement of a definite intent to run for public office in a particular election.
e. Receiving funds or making payments or giving the consent for anyone else to receive funds or transfer anything of value for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination or election to office. Transferring anything of value includes incurring an obligation to transfer anything of value. Status as a candidate for the purpose of this Article continues if the individual is receiving contributions to repay loans or cover a deficit or is making expenditures to satisfy obligations from an election already held. Special definitions of “candidate” and “candidate campaign committee” that apply only in Part 2 of this Article are set forth in G.S. 163A-1475.
12. Definition for Candidate
“Candidate” means any individual who, with respect to a public office listed in G.S. 163A-1411(80), has filed a notice of candidacy, notice of retention, or a petition requesting to be a candidate, or has been certified as a nominee of a political party for a vacancy, or has otherwise qualified as a candidate in a manner authorized by law, or has filed a statement of organization under G.S. 163A-1412 and is required to file periodic financial disclosure statements under G.S. 163A-1418.