§ 163-229. Absentee ballots, applications on container-return envelopes, and instruction sheets.
Overview of Statute
Section mandates for public production of information sheets which shall instruct voters how to comply with absentee ballot requirements, and enumerates procedure upon receipt of absentee application on container-return envelope.
(a) Absentee Ballot Form.–In accordance with the provisions of G.S. 163-230.1, persons entitled to vote by absentee ballot shall be furnished with official ballots.
(b) Application on Container-Return Envelope.–In time for use not later than 60 days before a statewide general election in an even-numbered year, and not later than 50 days before a statewide primary, other general election or county bond election, the county board of elections shall print a sufficient number of envelopes in which persons casting absentee ballots may transmit their marked ballots to the county board of elections. However, in the case of municipal elections, sufficient container-return envelopes shall be made available no later than 30 days before an election. Each container-return envelope shall have printed on it an application which shall be designed and prescribed by the State Board, providing for all of the following:
(1) The voter’s certification of eligibility to vote the enclosed ballot and of having voted the enclosed ballot in accordance with this Part.
(2) A space for identification of the envelope with the voter and the voter’s signature.
(3) A space for the identification of the two persons witnessing the casting of the absentee ballot in accordance with G.S. 163-231, those persons’ signatures, and those persons’ addresses.
(4) A space for the name and address of any person who, as permitted under G.S. 163-226.3(a), assisted the voter if the voter is unable to complete and sign the certification and that individual’s signature.
(5) A space for approval by the county board of elections.
(6) A space to allow reporting of a change of name as provided by G.S. 163-82.16.
(7) A prominent display of the unlawful acts under G.S. 163-226.3 and G.S. 163-275, except if there is not room on the envelope, the State Board may provide for that disclosure to be made on a separate piece of paper to be included along with the container-return envelope.
(8) An area to attach additional documentation necessary to comply with the identification requirements in accordance with State Board rules, as provided in G.S. 163-230.1.
The container-return envelope shall be printed in accordance with the instructions of the State Board, which shall prohibit the display of the voter’s party affiliation on the outside of the container-return envelope.
(c) Instruction Sheets.–In time for use not later than 60 days before a statewide general election in an even-numbered year, and not later than 50 days before a statewide primary, other general or county bond election, the county board of elections shall prepare and print a sufficient number of sheets of instructions on how voters are to prepare absentee ballots and return them to the county board of elections. However, in the case of municipal elections, instruction sheets shall be made available no later than 30 days before an election.
(1967, c. 775, s. 1; c. 851, s. 1; c. 952, s. 5; 1973, c. 536, s. 1; 1975, c. 844, s. 13; 1977, c. 469, s. 1; 1985, c. 562, ss. 3, 4; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 986, s. 2; 1987, c. 485, ss. 2, 5; c. 509, s. 9; c. 583, s. 3; 1989, c. 635, s. 5; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 561, s. 5; 1999-455, s. 8; 2009-537, s. 4; 2013-381, s. 4.1; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-144, s. 1.2(d); 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b); 2019-239, s. 1.4.)
- State Board of Elections
1. Definition for individual
The term “individual” means a single individual or more than one individual.
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 day
The term “day” means calendar day.
4. Definition for made
A contribution is “made” during regular session if the check or other instrument is dated during the session, or if the check or other instrument is delivered to the limited contributee during session, or if the limited contributor pledges during the session to deliver the check or other instrument at a later time.
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: Holmes v. Moore
Citation: 840 S.E.2d 244
Case PDF: 840_S.E.2d_244
Case Summary: The Court of Appeals held that voters' right to participate in elections on equal basis regardless of race was substantial right supporting appeal of denial of preliminary injunction; historical context of legislation supported finding that legislation was motivated by racially discriminatory purpose; departures from normal procedural sequence of lawmaking supported finding that legislation was motivated by racially discriminatory purpose; legislative history supported finding legislation was motivated by racially discriminatory purpose; disparate impact on African American voters supported finding that legislation was motivated by racially discriminatory purpose; legislation was not likely to have passed in the absence of discriminatory purpose; and issuance of statewide preliminary injunction was required to protect voters' right to vote on equal terms.