§ 163-165.9. Voting systems: powers and duties of county board of elections.
Overview of Statute
Section stipulates the process which the Board of County Commissioners must follow upon acquisition of voting system, in addition to requiring the State Board of Elections to provide training in support of such voting system.
(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 annually report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, to the Fiscal Research Division, 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).)
1. Definition for Voting system
“Voting system” means a system of casting and tabulating ballots. The term includes systems of paper ballots counted by hand as well as systems utilizing mechanical and electronic voting equipment. (2001-460, s. 3; 2001-466, s. 3(a), (b); 2002-159, s. 21(h); 2006-262, s. 4; 2013-381, ss. 30.1, 30.2; 2015-103, ss. 4(a), 5(a), 6(b); 2017-6, s. 3.)
2. Definition for United States
“United States,” used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Definition for person
The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.
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 Committee
Committee. – The Legislative Ethics Committee as created in Part 3 of Article
14 of Chapter 120 of the General Statutes.