§ 163-166.11. Provisional voting requirements.
Overview of Statute
Section authorizes a voter who fails to appear on the official list of eligible voters to cast a provisional ballot subject to the subsequent conditions.
If an individual seeking to vote claims to be a registered voter in a jurisdiction as provided in G.S. 163-82.1 and though eligible to vote in the election does not appear on the official list of eligible registered voters in the voting place, that individual may cast a provisional official ballot as follows:
(1) An election official at the voting place shall notify the individual that the individual may cast a provisional official ballot in that election.
(2) The individual may cast a provisional official ballot at that voting place upon executing a written affirmation before an election official at the voting place, stating that the individual is a registered voter in the jurisdiction as provided in G.S. 163-82.1 in which the individual seeks to vote and is eligible to vote in that election.
(3) A voter who has moved within the county more than 30 days before election day but has not reported the move to the board of elections shall not be required on that account to vote a provisional ballot at the one-stop site, as long as the one-stop site has available all the information necessary to determine whether a voter is registered to vote in the county and which ballot the voter is eligible to vote based on the voter’s proper residence address. The voter with that kind of unreported move shall be allowed to vote the same kind of absentee ballot as other one-stop voters as provided in G.S. 163-227.2.
(4) At the time the individual casts the provisional official ballot, the election officials shall provide the individual written information stating that anyone casting a provisional official ballot can ascertain whether and to what extent the ballot was counted and, if the ballot was not counted in whole or in part, the reason it was not counted. The State Board of Elections or the county board of elections shall establish a system for so informing a provisional voter. It shall make the system available to every provisional voter without charge, and it shall build into it reasonable procedures to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the voter’s personal information and vote.
(5) The cast provisional official ballot and the written affirmation shall be secured by election officials at the voting place according to guidelines and procedures adopted by the State Board of Elections. At the close of the polls, election officials shall transmit the provisional official ballots cast at that voting place to the county board of elections for prompt verification according to guidelines and procedures adopted by the State Board of Elections.
(2003-226, s. 15; 2005-2, s. 4; 2005-428, s. 6(b); 2013-381, s. 49.3; 2014-111, s. 12(b); 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)
The enactment of subd. (5) of this section, then § 163-166.11, as amended by S.L. 2013-381, § 49.3, was enjoined by order dated July 29, 2016 in North Carolina State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory, 831.F.3d 204, with the provision in effect prior to amendment by S.L. 2013-381, § 49.3, to be in full force. Prior to being rewritten by S.L. 2013-381, subd. (5) read:
“(5) The county board of elections shall count the individual’s provisional official ballot for all ballot items on which it determines that the individual was eligible under State or federal law to vote.”
1. Definition for individual
The term “individual” means a single individual or more than one individual.
2. 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.
3. Definition for Voting place
“Voting place” means the building or area of the building that contains the voting enclosure.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Definition for day
The term “day” means calendar day.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Definition for person
The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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: 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.