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North Carolina > Elections And Election Laws > Qualifying to Vote (§ § 163-54 through 163-90.3) Article 6. Qualifications of Voters (§ § 163-54 through 163-64)

§ 163-54. Registration a prerequisite to voting.


Only such persons as are legally registered shall be entitled to vote in any primary or election held under this Subchapter. (1901, c. 89, s. 12; Rev., s. 4317; C.S., s. 5938; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 2017-6, s. 3; S.L. 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)

Definition [person]

The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.

§ 163A-1411 (72). Definitions.

Definition [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.

§ 163A-1411 (30). Definitions.

Definition [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.

§ 163A-1095 (4). Definition


North Carolina Cases

Case Name: Davis v. Board of Education of Beaufort County

Citation: 119 S.E. 371

Year: 1923

Case PDF: Davis v. County Board of Education

Case Summary: Pursuant to P.L. 1923, c. 111 § 5 of C.S. § 5968, election laws must be liberally construed in favor of the elector's right to vote. Accordingly, requiring an affidavit or physician's certificate proving the physical inability to vote in person is enforceable and, without substantial compliance therewith, a voter in the county cannot vote.

Case Name: Pace v. City of Raleigh

Citation: 52 S.E. 277

Year: 1905

Case PDF: Pace v. Raleigh

Case Summary: [Registration to Vote- General Requirements] N.C. Constitutions mandates every voter shall be able to read and write before being able "to register," and before being entitled to "vote" they must have paid their poll tax for the previous year. Persons whom fail to meet such constitutional qualifications shall be removed by the aldermen of a city pursuant to their statutory duty in striking qualified voters.

Case Name: Smith v. City of Wilmington

Citation: 4 S.E. 489

Year: 1887

Case PDF: Smith v. City of Wilmington

Case Summary: The city authorities did not have the power nor authority it create a registration period outside that which was promulgated by statute.

Case Name: State v. Nicholson

Citation: 9 S.E. 545

Year: 1889

Case PDF: State v. Nicholson

Case Summary: It is presumed the oath is taken with an uplifted hand for persons who have conscientious scruples against swearing upon the “holy evangelists.” Even if such scruples in fact exist or not is immaterial in determining whether the form of oath was in compliance with statutory mandates. Furthermore, the oath which states “and laws of the United States” is to be read to include all valid laws, whether state or national, and therefore included by implication. The fact that the registration book was not kept open for the prescribed time on the Saturday before the election cannot invalidate the election where it appears that the book was left open until 2 o’clock p.m. and no person was denied an opportunity to examine it. Nor does a disregard of constitutional or statutory directions relating to the registration of electors invalidate the vote cast so long as such disregard does not affect the result as an expression of popular will.

Case Name: Hampton v. Waldrop

Citation: 10 S.E. 694

Year: 1889

Case PDF: State v. Waldrop

Case Summary: The fact that the registration book had been lost does not invalidate an election, where it appears that all who voted had been duly registered, as required by law.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases