North Carolina Statutes

Chapter 163 Elections and Election Laws

Article 1 - Time of Primaries and Elections.

Article 2 - Time of Elections to Fill Vacancies.

Article 3 - State Board of Elections.

Article 4 - County Boards of Elections.

Article 4A - Political Activities by Board of Elections Members and Employees.

  • § 163-38   Applicability of Article
    This Article applies to members and employees of the State Board of Elections and of each county and municipal board of elections. With regard to...
  • § 163-39   Limitation on political activities
    No individual subject to this Article shall: (1) Make written or oral statements intended for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting...
  • § 163-40   Violation may be ground for removal
    A violation of this Article may be a ground to remove a State Board of Elections member under G.S. 143B‑16, a county board of elections...
  • § 163-40.1   Definitions
    The provisions of Article 22A of this Chapter apply to the definition and proof of terms used in this Article. (2000‑114, s. 1.)

Article 5 - Precinct Election Officials.

Article 6 - Qualifications of Voters.

Article 7 - Registration of Voters.

Article 7A - Registration of Voters.

  • § 163-82.1   General principles of voter registration
    (a) Prerequisite to Voting. No person shall be permitted to vote who has not been registered under the provisions of this Article or registered as...
  • § 163-82.2   Chief State Election Official
    The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections is the "Chief State Election Official" of North Carolina for purposes of P.L. 103‑31, The National...
  • § 163-82.3   Voter registration application forms
    (a) Form Developed by State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections shall develop an application form for voter registration. Any person may use...
  • § 163-82.4   Contents of application form
    (a) Information Requested of Applicant. The form required by G.S. 163‑82.3(a) shall request the applicant's: (1) Name, (2) Date of birth, (3) Residence address, (4)...
  • § 163-82.5   Distribution of application forms
    The State Board of Elections shall make the forms described in G.S. 163‑82.3 available for distribution through governmental and private entities, with particular emphasis on...
  • § 163-82.6   Acceptance of application forms
    (a) How the Form May Be Submitted. The county board of elections shall accept any form described in G.S. 163‑82.3 if the applicant submits the...
  • § 163-82.6A   In-person registration and voting at one-stop sites
    (a) Who May Register in Person. In accordance with the provisions in this section, an individual who is qualified to register to vote may register...
  • § 163-82.7   Verification of qualifications and address of applicant; denial or approval of application
    (a) Tentative Determination of Qualification. When a county board of elections receives an application for registration submitted pursuant to G.S. 163‑82.6, the board either: (1)...
  • § 163-82.8   Voter registration cards
    (a) Authority to Issue Card. With the approval of the board of county commissioners, the county board of elections may issue to each voter in...
  • § 163-82.9   Cancellation of prior registration
    If an applicant indicates on an application form described in G.S. 163‑82.3 a current registration to vote in any other county, municipality, or state, the...
  • § 163-82.10   Official record of voter registration
    (a) Official Record. The State voter registration system is the official voter registration list for the conduct of all elections in the State. A completed...
  • § 163-82.10A   Permanent voter registration numbers
    The statewide voter registration system shall assign to each voter a unique registration number. That number shall be permanent for that voter and shall not...
  • § 163-82.10B   Confidentiality of date of birth
    Boards of elections shall keep confidential the date of birth of every voter‑registration applicant and registered voter, except in the following situations: (1) When a...
  • § 163-82.11   Establishment of statewide computerized voter registration
    (a) Statewide System as Official List. The State Board of Elections shall develop and implement a statewide computerized voter registration system to facilitate voter registration...
  • § 163-82.12   Promulgation of guidelines relating to computerized voter registration
    The State Board of Elections shall make all guidelines necessary to administer the statewide voter registration system established by this Article. All county boards of...
  • § 163-82.13   Access to statewide voter registration file
    (a) Free Copy for Political Parties. Beginning January 1, 1996, the State Board of Elections shall make available free of charge, upon written request, one...
  • § 163-82.14   List maintenance
    (a) Uniform Program. The State Board of Elections shall adopt a uniform program that makes a reasonable effort: (1) To remove the names of ineligible...
  • § 163-82.15   Change of address within the county
    (a) Registrant's Duty to Report. No registered voter shall be required to re‑register upon moving from one precinct to another within the same county. Instead,...
  • § 163-82.15A   Administrative change of registration when county line is adjusted
    When a boundary between counties is established by legislation or under G.S. 153A‑18, the Executive Director shall direct the county boards of elections involved to administratively...
  • § 163-82.16   Change of name
    (a) Registrant's Duty to Report. If the name of a registrant is changed in accordance with G.S. 48‑1‑104, G.S. 50‑12, or Chapter 101 of the...
  • § 163-82.17   Change of party affiliation
    (a) Registrant's Duty to Report. Any registrant who desires to have the record of his party affiliation or unaffiliated status changed on the registration list...
  • § 163-82.18   Appeal from denial of registration
    (a) Right to Appeal. Any applicant who receives notice of denial of registration pursuant to G.S. 163‑82.7 may appeal the denial within five days after...
  • § 163-82.19   Voter registration at drivers license offices; coordination on data interface
    (a) Voter Registration at Drivers License Offices. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall, pursuant to the rules adopted by the State Board of Elections, modify...
  • § 163-82.20   Voter registration at other public agencies
    (a) Voter Registration Agencies. Every office in this State which accepts: (1) Applications for a program of public assistance under Article 2 of Chapter 108A...
  • § 163-82.20A   Voter registration upon restoration of citizenship
    The State Board of Elections, the Department of Correction, and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall jointly develop and implement educational programs and procedures...
  • § 163-82.21   Voter registration at military recruitment offices
    The Executive Director, jointly with the Department of Defense, shall develop and implement procedures for persons to apply to register to vote at recruitment offices...
  • § 163-82.22   Voter registration at public libraries
    Every library covered by G.S. 153A‑272 shall make available to the public the application forms described in G.S. 163‑82.3, and shall keep a sufficient supply...
  • § 163-82.23   Voter registration at public high schools
    Every public high school shall make available to its students and others who are eligible to register to vote the application forms described in G.S....
  • § 163-82.24   Statewide training and certification for election officials
    (a) Training. The State Board of Elections shall conduct training programs in election law and procedures. Every county elections director shall receive training conducted by...
  • § 163-82.25   Mandated voter registration drive
    The Governor shall proclaim as Citizens Awareness Month the month designated by the State Board of Elections during every even‑numbered year. During that month, the...
  • § 163-82.26   Rule-making authority
    The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules necessary to implement the provisions of this Article. (1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 2.)
  • § 163-82.27   Help America Vote Act of 2002
    As used in this Chapter, the term "Help America Vote Act of 2002" means the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107‑252, 116...
  • § 163-82.28   The HAVA Election Fund
    There is established a special fund to be known as the Election Fund. All funds received for implementation of the Help America Vote Act of...
  • § 163-83   Reserved for future codification purposes

Article 8 - Challenges.

Article 8A - HAVA Administrative Complaint Procedure.

Article 9 - Political Party Definition.

Article 10 - Primary Elections.

Article 11 - Nomination by Petition.

Article 11A - Resign-to-Run.

Article 11B - Challenge to a Candidacy.

  • § 163-127.1   Definitions
    As used in this Article, the following terms mean: (1) Board. State Board of Elections. (2) Candidate. A person having filed a notice of candidacy...
  • § 163-127.2   When and how a challenge to a candidate may be made
    (a) When. A challenge to a candidate may be filed under this Article with the board of elections receiving the notice of the candidacy or...
  • § 163-127.3   Panel to conduct the hearing on a challenge
    Upon filing of a challenge, a panel shall hear the challenge, as follows: (1) Single county. If the district for the office subject to the...
  • § 163-127.4   Conduct of hearing by panel
    (a) The panel conducting a hearing under this Article shall do all of the following: (1) Within five business days after the challenge is filed,...
  • § 163-127.5   Burden of proof
    (a) The burden of proof shall be upon the candidate, who must show by a preponderance of the evidence of the record as a whole...
  • § 163-127.6   Appeals
    (a) Appeals from Single or Multicounty Panel. The decision of a panel created under G.S. 163‑127.3(1) or G.S. 163‑127.3(2) may be appealed as of right...

Article 12 - Precincts and Voting Places.

Article 12A - Precinct Boundaries.

Article 13 - General Instructions.

Article 14 - Voting Systems.

Article 14A - Voting.

  • § 163-165   Definitions
    In addition to the definitions stated below, the definitions set forth in Article 15A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes also apply to this...
  • § 163-165.1   Scope and general rules
    (a) Scope. This Article shall apply to all elections in this State. (b) Requirements of Official Ballots in Voting. In any election conducted under this...
  • § 163-165.2   Sample ballots
    (a) County Board to Produce and Distribute Sample Ballots. The county board of elections shall produce sample ballots, in all the necessary ballot styles of...
  • § 163-165.3   Responsibilities for preparing official ballots
    (a) State Board Responsibilities. The State Board of Elections shall certify the official ballots and voter instructions to be used in every election that is...
  • § 163-165.4   Standards for official ballots
    The State Board of Elections shall seek to ensure that official ballots throughout the State have all the following characteristics: (1) Are readily understandable by...
  • § 163-165.4A   Punch-card ballots and lever machines
    (a) No ballot may be used in any referendum, primary, or other election as an official ballot if it requires the voter to punch out...
  • § 163-165.4B   Butterfly ballots
    No butterfly ballot may be used as an official ballot in any referendum, primary, or other election. The term "butterfly ballot" means a ballot having...
  • § 163-165.5   Contents of official ballots
    Each official ballot shall contain all the following elements: (1) The heading prescribed by the State Board of Elections. The heading shall include the term...
  • § 163-165.5A   (Effective until January 1, 2012) Ballot instructions in English and Spanish
    In every county or municipality where the Hispanic population exceeds six percent (6%), in accordance with the most recent decennial federal census, all instructions to...
  • § 163-165.5B   Ballots may be combined
    Notwithstanding any other statute or local act, a county board of elections, with the approval of the State Board of Elections, may combine ballot items...
  • § 163-165.6   Arrangement of official ballots
    (a) Order of Precedence Generally. Candidate ballot items shall be arranged on the official ballot before referenda. (b) Order of Precedence for Candidate Ballot Items....
  • § 163-165.7   Voting systems: powers and duties of State Board of Elections
    (a) Only voting systems that have been certified by the State Board of Elections in accordance with the procedures and subject to the standards set...
  • § 163-165.8   Voting systems: powers and duties of board of county commissioners
    The board of county commissioners, with the approval of the county board of elections, may adopt and acquire only a voting system of a type,...
  • § 163-165.9   Voting systems: powers and duties of county board of elections
    (a) Before approving the adoption and acquisition of any voting system by the board of county commissioners, the county board of elections shall do all...
  • § 163-165.9A   Voting systems: requirements for voting systems vendors; penalties
    (a) Duties of Vendor. Every vendor that has a contract to provide a voting system in North Carolina shall do all of the following: (1)...
  • § 163-165.10   Adequacy of voting system for each precinct
    The county board of elections shall make available for each precinct voting place an adequate quantity of official ballots or equipment. When the board of...
  • § 163-166   Repealed by Session Laws 1997-443, s. 31
  • § 163-166.01   Hours for voting
    In every election, the voting place shall be open at 6:30 A.M. and shall be closed at 7:30 P.M. In extraordinary circumstances, the county board...
  • § 163-166.1   Duties of county board of elections
    The county board of elections shall: (1) Provide for the timely delivery to each voting place of the supplies, records, and equipment necessary for the...
  • § 163-166.2   Arrangement of the voting enclosure
    Each voting enclosure shall contain at a minimum: (1) A sufficient number of private spaces for all voters to mark their official ballots in secrecy....
  • § 163-166.3   Limited access to the voting enclosure
    (a) Persons Who May Enter Voting Enclosure. During the time allowed for voting in the voting place, only the following persons may enter the voting...
  • § 163-166.4   Limitation on activity in the voting place and in a buffer zone around it
    (a) Buffer Zone and Adjacent Area for Election‑Related Activity. No person or group of persons shall hinder access, harass others, distribute campaign literature, place political...
  • § 163-166.5   Procedures at voting place before voting begins
    The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules for precinct officials to set up the voting place before voting begins. Those rules shall emphasize: (1)...
  • § 163-166.6   Designation of tasks
    The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules for the delegation of tasks among the election officials at each precinct. Those rules shall emphasize: (1)...
  • § 163-166.7   Voting procedures
    (a) Checking Registration. A person seeking to vote shall enter the voting enclosure through the appropriate entrance. A precinct official assigned to check registration shall...
  • § 163-166.7A   Voter education and information
    (a) Posting the Information. For each election that involves candidates for federal or State office, each county board of elections shall post at each active...
  • § 163-166.8   Assistance to voters
    (a) Any registered voter qualified to vote in the election shall be entitled to assistance with entering and exiting the voting booth and in preparing...
  • § 163-166.9   Curbside voting
    In any election or referendum, if any qualified voter is able to travel to the voting place, but because of age or physical disability and...
  • § 163-166.10   Procedures after the close of voting
    The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules for closing the voting place and delivering voting information to the county board of elections for counting,...
  • § 163-166.11   Provisional voting requirements
    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...
  • § 163-166.12   Requirements for certain voters who register by mail
    (a) Voting in Person. An individual who has registered to vote by mail on or after January 1, 2003, and has not previously voted in...
  • § 163-167   Reserved for future codification purposes

Article 15 - Counting Ballots, Canvassing Votes, and Certifying Results in Precinct and County.

Article 15A - Counting Official Ballots, Canvassing Votes, Hearing Protests, and Certifying Results.

Article 16 - Canvass of Returns for Higher Offices and Preparation of State Abstracts.

Article 17 - Members of the United States House of Representatives.

Article 18 - Presidential Electors.

Article 18A - Presidential Preference Primary Act.

Article 19 - Petitions for Elections and Referenda.

Article 20 - Absentee Ballot.

Article 21 - Military Absentee Registration and Voting in Primary and General Elections.

Article 22 - Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses against the Elective Franchise.

Article 22A - Regulating Contributions and Expenditures in Political Campaigns.

Article 22B - Appropriations from the North Carolina Political Parties Financing Fund.

Article 22C - Appropriations from the North Carolina Candidates Financing Fund.

Article 22D - The North Carolina Public Campaign Financing Fund.

  • § 163-278.61   Purpose of the North Carolina Public Campaign Fund
    The purpose of this Article is to ensure the fairness of democratic elections in North Carolina and to protect the constitutional rights of voters and...
  • § 163-278.62   Definitions
    The following definitions apply in this Article: (1) Board. The State Board of Elections. (2) Candidate. An individual who becomes a candidate as described in...
  • § 163-278.63   North Carolina Public Campaign Fund established; sources of funding
    (a) Establishment of Fund. The North Carolina Public Campaign Fund is established to finance the election campaigns of certified candidates for office and to pay...
  • § 163-278.64   Requirements for participation; certification of candidates
    (a) Declaration of Intent to Participate. Any individual choosing to receive campaign funds from the Fund shall first file with the Board a declaration of...
  • § 163-278.64A   Special participation provisions for candidates in vacancy elections
    (a) Participation Provisions Modified. Candidates involved in elections described in G.S. 163‑329 may participate in the Fund subject to the provisions of G.S. 163‑278.64 as...
  • § 163-278.65   Distribution from the Fund
    (a) Timing of Fund Distribution. The Board shall distribute to a certified candidate revenue from the Fund in an amount determined under subdivision (b)(4) of...
  • § 163-278.66   Reporting requirements
    (a) Reporting by Participating and Certified Candidates. Any noncertified candidate with a certified opponent shall report total income, expenses, and obligations to the Board by...
  • § 163-278.67   Matching funds
    (a) When Matching Funds Become Available. When any report or group of reports shows that "funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support...
  • § 163-278.68   Enforcement and administration
    (a) Enforcement by the Board. The Board, with the advice of the Advisory Council for the Public Campaign Fund, shall administer the provisions of this...
  • § 163-278.69   Voter education
    (a) Judicial Voter Guide. The Board shall publish a Judicial Voter Guide that explains the functions of the appellate courts and the laws concerning the...
  • § 163-278.70   Civil penalty
    In addition to any other penalties that may be applicable, any individual, political committee, or other entity that violates any provision of this Article is...
  • § 163-278.71 through 163-278.79   Reserved for future codification purposes

Article 22E - Electioneering Communications.

Article 22F - Mass Mailings and Telephone Banks: Electioneering Communications.

  • § 163-278.90   Definitions
    As used in this Article, the following terms have the following definitions: (1) The term "disclosure date" means either of the following: a. The first...
  • § 163-278.91   Disclosure of Electioneering Communications
    (a) Statement Required. Every individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals who incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing...
  • § 163-278.92   Prohibition of corporate and labor disbursements for electioneering communications
    (a) Prohibition. No prohibited source may make any disbursement for the costs of producing or transmitting any electioneering communication. No individual, committee, association, or any...
  • § 163-278.93   Penalties
    Except as otherwise provided in this Article, a violation of this Article is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The State Board of Elections has the same...
  • § 163-278.94   Reserved for future codification purposes

Article 22J - The Voter-Owned Elections Act.

  • § 163-278.95   Purpose and establishment of Voter-Owned Elections Act
    The purpose of this Article is to ensure the vitality and fairness of democratic elections in North Carolina to the end that any eligible citizen...
  • § 163-278.96   Definitions
    The following definitions apply in this Article: (1) Board. The State Board of Elections. (2) Campaign‑related expenditure. An expenditure that benefits the candidate's current campaign...
  • § 163-278.97   Voter-Owned Elections Fund established; sources of funding
    (a) Establishment of Fund. The North Carolina Voter‑Owned Elections Fund is established to finance the election campaigns of certified candidates for office and to pay...
  • § 163-278.98   Requirements for participation
    (a) Declaration of Intent to Participate. Any individual choosing to receive campaign funds from the Fund shall first file with the Board a declaration of...
  • § 163-278.99   Distribution from the Fund
    (a) Timing of Fund Distribution. The Board shall distribute to a certified candidate revenue from the Fund in an amount determined under subdivision (b)(4) of...
  • § 163-278.99A   Reporting requirements
    (a) Reporting by Noncertified Candidates and Other Entities. Any nonparticipating candidate with a certified opponent shall report total income, expenses, and obligations to the Board...
  • § 163-278.99B   Matching funds
    (a) When Matching Funds Become Available. When any report or group of reports shows that "funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support...
  • § 163-278.99C   Unaffiliated and new-party candidates
    Unaffiliated candidates certified pursuant to G.S. 163‑122 and new‑party candidates certified pursuant to G.S. 163‑98 shall be eligible for revenues from the Fund in the...
  • § 163-278.99D   Enforcement by the Board; civil penalty
    In addition to any other penalties that may be applicable, any individual, political committee, or other entity that violates any provision of this Article is...
  • § 163-278.99E   Voter education
    (a) Voter Guide. The Board shall publish a Voter Guide that explains the functions of office as defined in G.S. 163‑278.96(12) and the laws concerning...

Article 22G - Candidate-Specific Communications.

Article 22H - Mass Mailings and Telephone Banks: CandidateSpecific Communications.

  • § 163-278.110   Definitions
    As used in this Article, the following terms have the following definitions: (1) The term "candidate‑specific communication" means any mass mailing or telephone bank that...
  • § 163-278.111   Disclosure of candidate-specific communications
    (a) Statement Required. Every individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that incurs an expense for the direct costs of producing...
  • § 163-278.112   Penalties
    The State Board of Elections has the same authority to compel from any individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals covered...
  • § 163-278.113 through 163-278.299   Reserved for future codification purposes

Article 22M - Legal Expense Funds.

Article 23 - Municipal Election Procedure.

Article 24 - Conduct of Municipal Elections.

Article 25 - Nomination and Election of Appellate, Superior, and District Court Judges.