§ 163-182.9. Filing an election protest.
Overview of Statute
Section authorizes any registered voter the ability to protest by submitting a written protest stating their concerns and desired remedy.
(a) Who May File a Protest With County Board.–A protest concerning the conduct of an election may be filed with the county board of elections by any registered voter who was eligible to vote in the election or by any person who was a candidate for nomination or election in the election.
(b) How Protest May Be Filed.–The following principles shall apply to the filing of election protests with the county board of elections:
(1) The protest shall be in writing and shall be signed by the protester. It shall include the protester’s name, address, and telephone number and a statement that the person is a registered voter in the jurisdiction or a candidate.
(2) The protest shall state whether the protest concerns the manner in which votes were counted and results tabulated or concerns some other irregularity.
(3) The protest shall state what remedy the protester is seeking.
(4) The timing for filing a protest shall be as follows:
a. If the protest concerns the manner in which votes were counted or results tabulated, the protest shall be filed before the beginning of the county board of election’s canvass meeting.
b. If the protest concerns the manner in which votes were counted or results tabulated and the protest states good cause for delay in filing, the protest may be filed until 5:00 P.M. on the second business day after the county board of elections has completed its canvass and declared the results.
c. If the protest concerns an irregularity other than vote counting or result tabulation, the protest shall be filed no later than 5:00 P.M. on the second business day after the county board has completed its canvass and declared the results.
d. If the protest concerns an irregularity on a matter other than vote counting or result tabulation and the protest is filed before election day, the protest proceedings shall be stayed, unless a party defending against the protest moves otherwise, until after election day if any one of the following conditions exists:
1. The ballot has been printed.
2. The voter registration deadline for that election has passed.
3. Any of the proceedings will occur within 30 days before election day.
(c) State Board to Prescribe Forms.–The State Board of Elections shall prescribe forms for filing protests.
(2001-398, s. 3; 2005-428, s. 4; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)
- Election Protest
1. Definition for day
The term “day” means calendar day.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Definition for person
The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.
6. 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.
7. Definition for Protest
“Protest” means a complaint concerning the conduct of an election which, if
supported by sufficient evidence, may require remedy by one or more of the following:
a. A correction in the returns.
b. A discretionary recount as provided in G.S. 163A-1174.
c. A new election as provided in G.S. 163A-1181. (2001-398, s. 3; 2010-96, ss. 19, 35; 2017-6, s. 3.)
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 Business
Business. – Any of the following organized for profit:
b. Business trust.
e. Joint venture.
i. Vested trust.
j. Every other business interest, including ownership or use of land for
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.
North Carolina Cases
Case Name: James v. Bartlett
Citation: 359 N.C. 260
Case PDF: JamesvBartlett
Case Summary: The plain meaning of the statutory section setting forth qualifications to vote stipulated that voters were required to cast ballots on election day in their precincts of residence. Therefore, the Board of Elections improperly counted provisional ballots cast outside voters’ precincts of residence as state law does not permit out-of-precinct provisional ballots to be counted in elections.