§ 163-166.01. Hours for voting.
Overview of Statute
Section requires the voting place to be open from 6:30 A.M. until closing at 7:30 P.M., so long as there was no delay lasting 15 minutes or longer.
In every election, the voting place shall be open at 6:30 A.M. and shall be closed at 7:30 P.M. If the polls are delayed in opening for more than 15 minutes, or are interrupted for more than 15 minutes after opening, the State Board of Elections may extend the closing time by an equal number of minutes. As authorized by law, the State Board of Elections shall be available either in person or by teleconference on the day of election to approve any such extension. If any voter is in line to vote at the time the polls are closed, that voter shall be permitted to vote. No voter shall be permitted to vote who arrives at the voting place after the closing of the polls.
Any voter who votes after the statutory poll closing time of 7:30 P.M. by virtue of a federal or State court order or any other lawful order, including an order of a county board of elections, shall be allowed to vote, under the provisions of that order, only by using a provisional official ballot. Any special provisional official ballots cast under this section shall be separated, counted, and held apart from other provisional ballots cast by other voters not under the effect of the order extending the closing time of the voting place. If the court order has not been reversed or stayed by the time of the county canvass, the total for that category of provisional ballots shall be added to the official canvass.
(2001-460, s. 3; 2003-226, s. 14; 2013-381, s. 33.1; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)
1. Definition for Voting place
“Voting place” means the building or area of the building that contains the voting enclosure.
2. 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.
3. Definition for Provisional official ballot
“Provisional official ballot” means an official ballot that is voted and then placed in an envelope that contains an affidavit signed by the voter certifying identity and eligibility to vote. Except for its envelope, a provisional official ballot shall not be marked to make it identifiable to the voter.
4. Definition for day
The term “day” means calendar day.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Definition for person
The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
North Carolina Cases
Case Name: Democratic Party of Guilford County v. Guilford County Bd. of Elections
Citation: 117 N.C.App. 633
Case Summary: Evidence at least five precincts only had one registration book and caused long lines to register, forcing some voters to leave without being able to register and vote, raised questions of fact and amounted to wrongful restraint justifying damages.
Case Name: League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. North Carolina
Citation: 769 F.3d 224
Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court
Case PDF: League of Women Voters of N.C. v. State
Case Summary: District court did not abuse its discretion, in action challenging North Carolina laws permitting the chairs of each county party to designate 10 additional at-large poll observers and permitting any registered voter to challenge the ballot on Election Day. Challengers (United States, individuals, churches, and civil rights organizations) were likely to succeed on merits of their claims that North Carolina's elimination of same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting violated § 2 of the Voting Rights Act and thus were entitled to preliminary injunction barring its implementation in the upcoming election.
Case Name: North Carolina State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory
Citation: 997 F.Supp.2d 322
Federal Circuit Court: 4th Circuit Court
Case PDF: NAACPvMcCrory
Case Summary: Various civil rights organizations failed to make clear showing that they were likely to be irreparably harmed by the North Carolina omnibus election reform law provisions calling for increased poll observers, allowing voters to challenge ballots, eliminating discretion to keep polls open, and precluding preliminary injunction to enjoin implementation of these provisions on their equal protection and twenty-sixth amendment challenges. Specifically the voters brought challenge to early registration cutoff under the Anderson-Burdick balancing test, as it applies to state election procedures. Under thus judicial precedent, the court held no matter how slight the voters burden may appear, it must be justified by relevant and legitimate state interests need sufficient weight to justify the limitation. Here the slight burden imposed by the 25-day cut-off is more than justified by the State's important interest in detecting fraud and ensuring that only properly verified voters have their votes counted at the canvass. Therefore, the Plaintiff's concerns regarding election threats to voting rights did not support a conclusion that additional poll observers and additional measures needed to be taken by the State Board of Elections and their motion to preliminarily enjoin SL 2013-381's elimination of SDR on such basis shall be denied. The United States, various African-American individuals, churches, and civil rights organizations failed to meet their burden in showing of discriminatory intent and thus will not succeed on the merits of their claim that North Carolina omnibus election law provision which eliminated out-of-precinct provisional voting violated the Voting Rights Act (VRA) section prohibiting race or color-based qualifications or prerequisites for voting. Nor did individual young voters present sufficient evidence that they were likely to suffer irreparable harm before trial pursuant to their Twenty-Sixth Amendment challenge to North Carolina’s omnibus election provision as any 17-year-old who would be 18 by election day was able to register even under the challenged provision. Further challenges that the provision eliminating the pre-registration program of 16- and 17-year-olds did not discriminate against young voters nor place targeted hardship on grounds that they would have to expend greater resources to vote, thus was not sufficiently particularized to confer standing as any of the state's 6.5 million registered voters would have had standing to such challenge. Accordingly, without evidence of financial harm or a direct legally congnizable injury, the group of young voters failed to allege a sufficient claim under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment challenges. In conclusion, the manner of proceedings in North Carolina's General Assembly leading up to enactment of an omnibus election reform act provision eliminating same-day registration did not raise strong inferences of discriminatory intent required to support these challenges asserted by the United States and various African-American individuals, churches, and civil rights organizations under the Voting Rights Act which prohibits race- or color-based qualifications or prerequisites for voting.