GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2003

 

 

SESSION LAW 2004-127

HOUSE BILL 1119

 

 

AN ACT to make changes to the Election laws.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

SECTION 1.(a)  G.S. 163-132.3 reads as rewritten:

" 163-132.3.  Alterations to approved precinct boundaries.

(a)       No county board of elections may change any precinct boundary unless the proposed new precinct consists solely of contiguous territory and its new boundaries are coterminous with those of census blocks established under the latest U.S. Census.except in one of the following ways:

(1)       By dividing an existing precinct into one or more new precincts, without involving other existing precincts. The lines on which the precincts are divided shall follow census blocks established under the latest U.S. Census.

(2)       By combining one or more existing precincts into a new precinct. If one or more precincts are combined into a single precinct, the new precinct shall not be divided until at least four years after the effective date of the combination.

(3)       By moving a precinct boundary that does not follow a census block boundary established under the latest U.S. Census so that that precinct boundary does follow such a census block boundary.

All proposed new precincts shall consist solely of contiguous territory.

This section does not prohibit a county from continuing to use precincts that were allowed under the Combined Reporting Unit provisions of G.S. 163-132.1(c)(6).

The county boards of elections shall report precinct boundary changes by filing with the Legislative Services Office on current official census maps or maps certified by the North Carolina Department of Transportation or the county's planning department or on other maps or electronic databases approved by the Executive Director the new boundaries of these precincts. The Executive Director may require a county board of elections to file a written description of the boundaries of any precinct or part thereof. No newly created or altered precinct boundary is effective until approved by the Executive Director of the State Board as being in compliance with this subsection. section. No precinct may be changed under this section between the date its boundaries become effective under G.S. 163-132.1(c) and January 2, 2002. Any changes to precincts during that period shall be made as provided in G.S. 163-132.1(d).

(b)       The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections and the Legislative Services Office shall examine the maps of the proposed new or altered precincts and any required written descriptions. After its examination of the maps and their written descriptions, the Legislative Services Office shall submit to the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections its opinion as to whether all of the proposed precinct boundaries are in compliance with subsection (a) of this section, with notations as to where those boundaries do not comply with these standards. If the Executive Director of the State Board determines that all precinct boundaries are in compliance with this section, the Executive Director of the State Board shall approve the maps and written descriptions as filed and these precincts shall be the official precincts.

(c)       If the Executive Director of the State Board determines that the proposed precinct boundaries are not in compliance with subsection (a) of this section, the Executive Director shall not approve those precinct boundaries. The Executive Director shall notify the county board of elections of his disapproval specifying the reasons. The county board of elections may then resubmit new precinct maps and written descriptions to cure the reasons for their disapproval.

(d)       Upon a determination that restricting the county board to using Census block boundaries would force the county board to draw a precinct without an adequate voting place or otherwise to draw a precinct in such a way that the administration of elections would be seriously hindered, the Executive Director may permit a county board of elections to designate a precinct boundary on a line that is not a Census block boundary of the most recent federal decennial Census if both the following conditions exist:

(1)       The feature desired by the county board to be the precinct boundary meets at least one of the following:

a.         Is likely to be designated by the Census Bureau as a block boundary in the next federal decennial Census.

b.         Is a visible physical feature, readily distinguishable upon the ground, as certified by the North Carolina Department of Transportation on its highway maps or by the county manager of the relevant county or if there is no county manager the chair of the county board of commissioners on official county maps, of the following nature:

1.         Roads or streets.

2.         Water features or drainage features.

3.         Ridgelines.

4.         Rail features.

5.         Major aboveground power lines.

6.         Major footpaths.

c.         Is a municipalities boundary, as certified by the city clerk on the official map of the city.

d.         Is a township boundary, as certified by the county manager, or the chair of the county board of commissioners if there is no county manager, on the official map of the county.

(2)       All the following are true:

a.         The precincts of which the line is a boundary which could be combined into a unit whose outer boundaries would be Census blocks, similar to the Combined Reporting Unit permitted by G.S. 163-132.1(c)(6).

b.         That combined unit would be reasonable in size.

c.         That combined unit, together with all other such combined units, would not undermine the coverage of the State's precincts in the next Census.

(e)       During the period beginning October 1, 2002, and ending December 31, August 15, 2004, no county board of elections may change any precinct boundary. However, a county that has a precinct line that does not follow a 2000 Census Block Boundary may change that precinct line to conform to the way that precinct is shown on the General Assembly's redistricting database, provided the total population of the area moved from one precinct to another is not greater than ten percent (10%) of the total population of either precinct. A county board of elections proposing a change to a precinct during this period shall submit that change to the Legislative Services Office, which shall examine the proposed change and give its opinion of its compliance with this subsection to the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections. If the proposed change is in compliance with this subsection, the Executive Director shall approve it."

SECTION 1.(b)  Article 12A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 163-132.3A. Alterations to precinct names.

No county board of elections shall assign to any precinct a name that has been used after January 1, 1999, for a precinct comprising different territory. That requirement does not apply to a precinct change made under G.S. 163-132.3(a)(3). The county board of elections shall submit to the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections for approval every proposed change to a precinct name, and the Executive Director shall approve a name change only if it complies with this section."

SECTION 1.(c)  This section becomes effective August 15, 2004, and applies to precincts established or changed on or after that date. Any changes to precincts proposed for the 2004 election shall be completed by September 17, 2004.

SECTION 2.(a)  G.S. 7A-41(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(10a)  Effective with the 2004 election, in addition to the boundaries provided for in this section, Superior Court District 14A also includes that portion of Durham Precinct 53 east of North Carolina Highway #751."

SECTION 2.(b)  This section is effective when it becomes law, and also applies to the 2004 election cycle.

SECTION 3.  G.S. 163-166.12 reads as rewritten:

" 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 an election that includes a ballot item for federal office in North Carolina, shall present to a local election official at a voting place before voting there one of the following:

(1)       A current and valid photo identification.

(2)       A copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

(b)       Voting Mail-In Absentee. - An individual who has registered to vote by mail on or after January 1, 2003, and has not previously voted in an election that includes a ballot item for federal office in North Carolina, in order to cast a mail-in absentee vote, shall submit with the mailed-in absentee ballot one of the following:

(1)       A copy of a current and valid photo identification.

(2)       A copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

(b1)     The county board of elections shall note the type of identification proof submitted by the voter under the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section and may dispose of the tendered copy of identification proof as soon as the type of proof is noted in the voter registration records.

This subsection shall not apply to persons entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

(c)       The Right to Vote Provisionally. - If an individual is required under subsection (a) or (b) of this section to present identification in order to vote, but that individual does not present the required identification, that individual may vote a provisional official ballot. If the voter is at the voting place, the voter may vote provisionally there without unnecessary delay. If the voter is voting by mail-in absentee ballot, the mailed ballot without the required identification shall be treated as a provisional official ballot.

(d)       Exemptions. - This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1)       An individual who registers by mail and submits as part of the registration application either of the following:

a.         A copy of a current and valid photo identification.

b.         A copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.

(2)       An individual who registers by mail and submits as part of the registration application the individual's drivers license number or at least the last four digits of the individual's social security number where an election official matches either or both of the numbers submitted with an existing State identification record bearing the same number, name, and date of birth contained in the submitted registration.

(3)       An individual who is entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

(4)       An individual who is entitled to vote otherwise than in person under section 3(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act.

(5)       An individual who is entitled to vote otherwise than in person under any other federal law."

SECTION 4.  G.S. 163-82.4(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Notice of Requirements, Attestation, Notice of Penalty, and Notice of Confidentiality. - The form required by G.S. 163-82.3(a) shall contain, in uniform type, the following:

(1)       A statement that specifies each eligibility requirement (including citizenship) and an attestation that the applicant meets each such requirement, with a requirement for the signature of the applicant, under penalty of a Class I felony under G.S. 163-275(4).163-275(13).

(2)       A statement that, if the applicant declines to register to vote, the fact that the applicant has declined to register will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes.

(3)       A statement that, if the applicant does register to vote, the office at which the applicant submits a voter registration application will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes."

SECTION 5.  G.S. 163-299(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      The provisions of Articles 13A14A and 15A of this Chapter shall apply to ballots used in municipal primaries and elections in the same manner as it is applied to county ballots."

SECTION 6.  G.S. 163-213.5 reads as rewritten:

" 163-213.5.  Nomination by petition.

Any person seeking the endorsement by the national political party for the office of President of the United States, or any group organized in this State on behalf of, and with the consent of, such person, may file with the State Board of Elections petitions signed by 10,000 persons who, at the time they signed are registered and qualified voters in this State and are affiliated, by such registration, with the same political party as the candidate for whom the petitions are filed. Such petitions shall be presented to the county board of elections 10 days before the filing deadline and shall be certified promptly by the chairman of the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained and shall be filed by the petitioners with the State Board of Elections no later than 5:00 P.M. on the Monday prior to the date the State Board of Elections is required to meet as directed by G.S. 163-213.4.

The petitions must state the name of the candidate for nomination, along with a letter of approval signed by such candidate. Said petitions must also state the name and address of the chairman of any such group organized to circulate petitions authorized under this section. The requirement for signers of such petitions shall be the same as now required under provisions of G.S. 163-96(b)(1) and (2). The requirement of the respective chairmen of county boards of elections shall be the same as now required under the provisions of G.S. 163-96(b)(1) and (2) 163-96 as they relate to the chairman of the county board of elections.

The State Board of Elections shall forthwith determine the sufficiency of petitions filed with it and shall immediately communicate its determination to the chairman of such group organized to circulate petitions. The form and style of petition shall be as prescribed by the State Board of Elections."

SECTION 7.  G.S. 163-123(g) reads as rewritten:

"(g)      Municipal and Nonpartisan Elections Excluded. - This section does not apply to municipal elections conducted under Subchapter IX of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes, and does not apply to nonpartisan elections except for and district court judge elections under Article 25 of this Chapter."

SECTION 8.(a)  G.S. 163-122 reads as rewritten:

" 163-122.  Unaffiliated candidates nominated by petition.

(a)       Procedure for Having Name Printed on Ballot as Unaffiliated Candidate. - Any qualified voter who seeks to have his name printed on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate shall:

(1)       If the office is a statewide office, file written petitions with the State Board of Elections supporting his candidacy for a specified office. These petitions must be filed with the State Board of Elections on or before 12:00 noon on the last Friday in June preceding the general election and must be signed by qualified voters of the State equal in number to two percent (2%) of the total number of registered voters in the State as reflected by the most recent statistical report issued by voter registration records of the State Board of Elections. Elections as of January 1 of the year in which the general election is to be held. No later than 5:00 p.m. on the fifteenth day preceding the date the petitions are due to be filed with the State Board of Elections, each petition shall be presented to the chairman of the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained. Provided the petitions are timely submitted, the chairman shall examine the names on the petition and place a check mark on the petition by the name of each signer who is qualified and registered to vote in his county and shall attach to the petition his signed certificate. Said certificates shall state that the signatures on the petition have been checked against the registration records and shall indicate the number of signers to be qualified and registered to vote in his county. The chairman shall return each petition, together with the certificate required in this section, to the person who presented it to him for checking. Verification by the chairman of the county board of elections shall be completed within two weeks from the date such petitions are presented.

(2)       If the office is a district office comprised of two or more counties, file written petitions with the State Board of Elections supporting his candidacy for a specified office. These petitions must be filed with the State Board of Elections on or before 12:00 noon on the last Friday in June preceding the general election and must be signed by qualified voters of the district equal in number to four percent (4%) of the total number of registered voters in the district as reflected by the latest statistical report issued by voter registration records of the State Board of Elections. Elections as of January 1 of the year in which the general election is to be held. Each petition shall be presented to the chairman of the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained. The chairman shall examine the names on the petition and the procedure for certification and deadline for submission to the county board shall be the same as specified in (1) above.

(3)       If the office is a county office or a single county legislative district, file written petitions with the chairman or director of the county board of elections supporting his candidacy for a specified county office. These petitions must be filed with the county board of elections on or before 12:00 noon on the last Friday in June preceding the general election and must be signed by qualified voters of the county equal in number to four percent (4%) of the total number of registered voters in the county as reflected by the most recent statistical report issued by voter registration records of the State Board of Elections, Elections as of January 1 of the year in which the general election is to be held, except if the office is for a district consisting of less than the entire county and only the voters in that district vote for that office, the petitions must be signed by qualified voters of the district equal in number to four percent (4%) of the total number of voters in the district according to the most recent figures certified by the State Board of Elections. voter registration records of the State Board of Elections as of January 1 of the year in which the general election is to be held. Each petition shall be presented to the chairman or director of the county board of elections. The chairman shall examine, or cause to be examined, the names on the petition and the procedure for certification shall be the same as specified in (1) above.

(4)       If the office is a partisan municipal office, file written petitions with the chairman or director of the county board of elections in the county wherein the municipality is located supporting his candidacy for a specified municipal office. These petitions must be filed with the county board of elections on or before the time and date specified in G.S. 163-296 and must be signed by the number of qualified voters specified in G.S. 163-296. The procedure for certification shall be the same as specified in (1) above.

Upon compliance with the provisions of (1), (2), (3), or (4) of this subsection, the board of elections with which the petitions have been timely filed shall cause the unaffiliated candidate's name to be printed on the general election ballots in accordance with G.S. 163-140.

An individual whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election preliminary to the general election shall not be eligible to have his name placed on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the same office in that year.

(b)       Form of Petition. - Petitions requesting an unaffiliated candidate to be placed on the general election ballot shall contain on the heading of each page of the petition in bold print or in all capital letters the words: "THE UNDERSIGNED REGISTERED VOTERS IN __________ COUNTY HEREBY PETITION ON BEHALF OF __________ AS AN UNAFFILIATED CANDIDATE FOR THE OFFICE OF __________ IN THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION. THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY PETITION THAT SUBJECT CANDIDATE BE PLACED ON THE APPROPRIATE BALLOT UPON COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN G.S. 163-122."

(c)       This section does not apply to elections under Article 25 of this Chapter."

SECTION 8.(b)  G.S. 163-296 reads as rewritten:

" 163-296.  Nomination by petition.

In cities conducting partisan elections, any qualified voter who seeks to have his name printed on the regular municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate may do so in the manner provided in G.S. 163-122, except that the petitions and affidavits shall be filed not later than 12:00 noon on the Friday preceding the seventh Saturday before the election, and the petitions shall be signed by a number of qualified voters of the municipality equal to at least four percent (4%) of the whole number of voters qualified to vote in the municipal election according to the most recent figures certified by voter registration records of the State Board of Elections. as of January 1 of the year in which the general election is held. A person whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election is not eligible to have his name placed on the regular municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the same office in that year. The Board of Elections shall examine and verify the signatures on the petition, and shall certify only the names of signers who are found to be qualified registered voters in the municipality. Provided that in the case where a qualified voter seeks to have his name printed on the regular municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for election from an election district within the municipality, the petition shall be signed by four percent (4%) of the voters qualified to vote for that office."

SECTION 9.(a)  G.S. 163-82.6 reads as rewritten:

" 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 form by mail, facsimile transmission, transmission of a scanned document, or in person. The applicant may delegate the submission of the form to another person. Any person who communicates to an applicant acceptance of that delegation shall deliver that form so that it is received by the appropriate county board of elections in time to satisfy the registration deadline in subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (c) of this section for the next election. It shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person to communicate to the applicant acceptance of that delegation and then fail to make a good faith effort to deliver the form so that it is received by the county board of elections in time to satisfy the registration deadline in subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (c) of this section for the next election. It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of failing to make a good faith effort to deliver a delegated form by the registration deadline that the delegatee informed the applicant that the form would not likely be delivered in time for the applicant to vote in the next election. It shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person to sell or attempt to sell a completed voter registration form or to condition its delivery upon payment.

(b)       Signature. - The form shall be valid only if signed by the applicant. An electronically captured image of the signature of a voter on an electronic voter registration form offered by a State agency shall be considered a valid signature for all purposes for which a signature on a paper voter registration form is used.

(c)       Registration Deadlines for an Election. - In order to be valid for an election, the form:

(1)       If submitted by mail, must be postmarked at least 25 days before the election, except that any mailed application on which the postmark is missing or unclear is validly submitted if received in the mail not later than 20 days before the election,

(2)       If submitted in person person, or by facsimile transmission, or by transmission of a scanned document, must be received by the county board of elections by a time established by that board, but no earlier than 5:00 P.M., on the twenty-fifth day before the election,

(3)       If submitted through a delegatee who violates the duty set forth in subsection (a) of this section, must be signed by the applicant and given to the delegatee not later than 25 days before the election, except as provided in subsection (d) of this section.

(c1)     If the application is submitted by facsimile transmission, transmission or transmission of a scanned document, a permanent copy of the completed, signed form shall be delivered to the county board no later than 20 days before the election.

(d)       Instances When Person May Register and Vote on Election Day. - If a person has become qualified to register and vote between the twenty-fifth day before an election and election day, then that person may apply to register on election day by submitting an application form described in G.S. 163-82.3(a) or (b) to:

(1)       A member of the county board of elections;

(2)       The county director of elections; or

(3)       The chief judge or a judge of the precinct in which the person is eligible to vote,

and, if the application is approved, that person may vote the same day. The official in subdivisions (1) through (3) of this subsection to whom the application is submitted shall decide whether the applicant is eligible to vote. The applicant shall present to the official written or documentary evidence that the applicant is the person he represents himself to be. The official, if in doubt as to the right of the applicant to register, may require other evidence satisfactory to that official as to the applicant's qualifications. If the official determines that the person is eligible, the person shall be permitted to vote in the election and the county board shall add the person's name to the list of registered voters. If the official denies the application, the person shall be permitted to vote a challenged ballot under the provisions of G.S. 163-88.1, and may appeal the denial to the full county board of elections. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules for the county boards of elections to follow in hearing appeals for denial of election day applications to register. No person shall be permitted to register on the day of a second primary unless he shall have become qualified to register and vote between the date of the first primary and the date of the succeeding second primary.

(e)       For purposes of subsection (d) of this section, persons who "become qualified to register and vote" during a time period:

(1)       Include those who during that time period are naturalized as citizens of the United States or who are restored to citizenship after a conviction of a felony; but

(2)       Do not include persons who reach the age of 18 during that time period, if those persons were eligible to register while 17 years old during an earlier period."

SECTION 9.(b)  G.S. 163-257 reads as rewritten:

" 163-257.  Facsimile and Facsimile, electronic mail mail, or scanned transmission of election materials.

An applicant entitled to exercise the rights conferred by this Article may apply for registration and an absentee ballot by facsimile or facsimile, electronic mail mail, or transmission of a scanned document if otherwise qualified to apply for and vote by absentee ballot. A county board of elections may send and receive absentee ballot applications and accept voted ballots by facsimile or facsimile, electronic mail mail, or transmission of a scanned document from eligible electors as defined in G.S. 163-245. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate uniform rules for the use of facsimiles and facsimiles, electronic mail mail, and transmission of scanned documents in application and voting under this section, and all county boards of elections shall adhere to those rules."

SECTION 10.  G.S. 163-97.1 reads as rewritten:

" 163-97.1.  Voters affiliated with expired political party.

The State Board of Elections shall be authorized to promulgate appropriate procedures to order the county boards of elections to change the registration affiliation of all voters who are recorded on the voter registration books as being affiliated with a political party which has lost its legal status as provided in G.S. 163-97. The State Board of Elections shall not implement the authority contained in this section earlier than 90 days following the certification of the election in which the political party failed to continue its legal status as provided in G.S. 163-97. All voters affiliated with such expired political party shall be changed to "unaffiliated" designation by the State Board's order and all such registrants shall be entitled to declare a political party affiliation as provided in G.S. 163-74(b).163-82.17."

SECTION 11.  G.S. 163-213.7 reads as rewritten:

" 163-213.7.  Voting in presidential preference primary; ballots.

The names of all candidates in the presidential preference primary shall appear at an appropriate place on the ballot or voting machine. In addition the State Board of Elections shall provide a category on the ballot or voting machine allowing voters in each political party to vote an "uncommitted" or "no preference" status. The voter shall be able to cast his ballot for one of the presidential candidates of a political party or for an "uncommitted" or "no preference" status, but shall not be permitted to vote for candidates or "uncommitted" status of a political party different from his registration. Persons registered as "Unaffiliated" shall not participate in the presidential primary except as provided in G.S. 163-116.163-119."

SECTION 12.  G.S. 163-1(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      On Tuesday next after the first Monday in May preceding each general election to be held in November for the officers referred to in subsection (a) of this section, there shall be held in all election precincts within the territory for which the officers are to be elected a primary election for the purpose of nominating candidates for each political party in the State for those offices.offices, and nonpartisan candidates as to offices elected under the provisions of Article 25 of this Chapter."

SECTION 13.  G.S. 163-112(d)(4) reads as rewritten:

"(4)      If death, resignation death or disqualification of candidates results in the number of candidates being less than the number of positions to be filled for that office, then the appropriate party executive committee shall, in accordance with G.S. 163-114, make nominations of persons equal to the number of positions to be filled and no primary shall be held and those names shall be printed on the general election ballot."

SECTION 14.  G.S. 163-96(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Petitions for New Political Party. - Petitions for the creation of a new political party shall contain on the heading of each page of the petition in bold print or all in capital letters the words: "THE UNDERSIGNED REGISTERED VOTERS IN ________ COUNTY HEREBY PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF A NEW POLITICAL PARTY TO BE NAMED ________ AND WHOSE STATE CHAIRMAN IS ____________, RESIDING AT ____________ AND WHO CAN BE REACHED BY TELEPHONE AT ________ THE SIGNERS OF THIS PETITION INTEND TO ORGANIZE A NEW POLITICAL PARTY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT SUCCEEDING GENERAL ELECTION."

All printing required to appear on the heading of the petition shall be in type no smaller than 10 point or in all capital letters, double spaced typewriter size. In addition to the form of the petition, the organizers and petition circulators shall inform the signers of the general purpose and intent of the new party.

The petitions must specify the name selected for the proposed political party. The State Board of Elections shall reject petitions for the formation of a new party if the name chosen contains any word that appears in the name of any existing political party recognized in this State or if, in the Board's opinion, the name is so similar to that of an existing political party recognized in this State as to confuse or mislead the voters at an election.

The petitions must state the name and address of the State chairman of the proposed new political party."

SECTION 15.  G.S. 163-278(9) reads as rewritten:

"(9)      The terms 'expend' or 'expenditure' mean any purchase, advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, promise or other obligation, whether or not legally enforceable, to make an expenditure, to support or oppose the nomination, election, or passage of one or more clearly identified candidates, or ballot measure. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. The term "expenditure" also includes any payment or other transfer made by a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The special definition of "expenditure" in G.S. 163-278.12A applies only in that section."

SECTION 16.  G.S. 163-278.12(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)      Subject to G.S. 163-278.16(f) 163-278.39 and G.S. 163-278.14, individuals and other entities not otherwise prohibited from doing so may make independent expenditures. In the event an individual or other entity making independent expenditures but not otherwise required to report them makes independent expenditures in excess of one hundred dollars ($100.00), that individual or entity shall file a statement of such independent expenditure with the appropriate board of elections in the manner prescribed by the State Board of Elections."

SECTION 17.(a)  Article 7A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

" 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 voter has filed notice of candidacy for elective office under G.S. 163-106, 163-122, 163-123, or 163-294.2, or 163-323, has been nominated as a candidate under G.S. 163-98 or G.S. 163-114, or has otherwise formally become a candidate for elective office. The exception of this subdivision does not extend to an individual who meets the definition of 'candidate' only by beginning a tentative candidacy by receiving funds or making payments or giving consent to someone else to receive funds or transfer something of value for the purpose of exploring a candidacy.

(2)       When a voter is serving in an elective office.

(3)       When a voter has been challenged pursuant to Article 8 of this Chapter.

(4)       When a voter-registration applicant or registered voter expressly authorizes in writing the disclosure of that individual's date of birth.

The disclosure of an individual's age does not constitute disclosure of date of birth in violation of this section.

The county board of elections shall give precinct officials access to a voter's date of birth where necessary for election administration, consistent with the duty to keep dates of birth confidential.

Disclosure of a date of birth in violation of this section shall not give rise to a civil cause of action. This limitation of liability does not apply to the disclosure of a date of birth in violation of this subsection as a result of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable."

SECTION 17.(b)  G.S. 132-1.2(4) reads as rewritten:

" 132-1.2.  Confidential information.

Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to require or authorize a public agency or its subdivision to disclose any information that:

(1)       Meets all of the following conditions:

a.         Constitutes a "trade secret" as defined in G.S. 66-152(3).

b.         Is the property of a private "person" as defined in G.S. 66-152(2).

c.         Is disclosed or furnished to the public agency in connection with the owner's performance of a public contract or in connection with a bid, application, proposal, industrial development project, or in compliance with laws, regulations, rules, or ordinances of the United States, the State, or political subdivisions of the State.

d.         Is designated or indicated as "confidential" or as a "trade secret" at the time of its initial disclosure to the public agency.

(2)       Reveals an account number for electronic payment as defined in G.S. 147-86.20 and obtained pursuant to Articles 6A or 6B of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes or G.S. 159-32.1.

(3)       Reveals a document, file number, password, or any other information maintained by the Secretary of State pursuant to Article 21 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes.

(4)       Reveals the electronically captured image of an individual's signature, date of birth, drivers license number, or a portion of an individual's social security number if the agency has those items because they are on a voter registration document."

SECTION 17.(c)  G.S. 163-82.10 reads as rewritten:

" 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 and signed registration application form, if available, described in G.S. 163-82.3, once approved by the county board of elections, becomes backup to the official registration record of the voter. Electronically captured images of the signatures of voters, full or partial social security numbers, dates of birth, and drivers license numbers that may be generated in the voter registration process, by either the State Board of Elections or a county board of elections, are confidential and shall not be considered public records and subject to disclosure to the general public under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. Disclosure of drivers license numbers or dates of birth in violation of this subsection shall not give rise to a civil cause of action. This limitation of liability does not apply to the disclosure of drivers license numbers or dates of birth in violation of this subsection as a result of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable. The county board of elections shall maintain custody of any paper hard copy registration records of voters in the county and shall keep them in a place where they are secure.

(a1)     Paperless, Instant Electronic Transfer. - The application described in G.S. 163-82.3 may be either a paper hard copy or an electronic document.

(b)       Access to Registration Records. - Upon request by that person, the county board of elections shall provide to any person a list of the registered voters of the county or of any precinct or precincts in the county. The county board may furnish selective lists according to party affiliation, gender, race, date of registration, precinct name, precinct identification code, congressional district, senate district, representative district, and, where applicable, county commissioner district, city governing board district, fire district, soil and water conservation district, and voter history including primary, general, and special districts, or any other reasonable category. No list produced under this section shall contain a voter's date of birth. However, lists may be produced according to voters' ages.  The following shall apply if a county maintains or has its voter registration list maintained on a computer:

(1)       In addition to the typed, mimeographed, photocopied, computer printout or label lists, the county board of elections shall make the voter registration information available to the public on magnetic medium. Magnetic medium for the purpose of this section shall consist of nine track tape or 3.5 inch diskettes and 5.25 inch diskettes readily accessible using MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows operating systems or both such systems; and

(2)       Information requested on magnetic medium shall contain the following: voter name, county voter identification number, residential address, mailing address, sex, race, age or but not date of birth or both, birth, party affiliation, precinct name, precinct identification code, congressional district, senate district, representative district, and, where applicable, county commissioner district, city governing board district, fire district, soil and water conservation district, and any other district information available, and voter history including primary, general, and special districts, or any other reasonable category,

provided that this subsection shall not require a county to computerize its lists, but if a county does computerize it shall comply with subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection. The county board shall require each person to whom a list is furnished to reimburse the board for the actual cost incurred in preparing it, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section. Actual cost for the purpose of this section shall not include the cost of any equipment or any imputed overhead expenses. It may include the actual cost of paper, labels, and magnetic medium. The purchaser at its discretion may provide the magnetic medium. When furnishing information under this subsection to a purchaser on a magnetic medium provided by the county board or the purchaser, the county board may impose a service charge of up to twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

(c)       Free Lists. - Free lists of all registered voters in the county shall be provided in the following cases:

(1)       A county board that maintains voter records on computer shall provide, upon written request, one free list to:

a.         The State chair of each political party; and

b.         The county chair of each political party

            once in every odd-numbered year, once during the first six calendar months of every even-numbered year, and once during the latter six calendar months of every even-numbered year.

(2)       A county board that does not maintain voter records on computer shall provide one free paper list every two years to the county chair of each political party.

Each free list shall include the name, address, gender, age but not date of birth, race, political affiliation, voting history, precinct, precinct name, precinct identification code, congressional district, senate district, representative district, and, where applicable, county commissioner district, city governing board district, fire district, soil and water conservation district, and voter history including primary, general, and special districts of each registered voter. The free paper list to the county party chairs shall group voters by precinct. All free lists shall be provided as soon as practicable but no later than 30 days after written request. Each State party chair shall provide the discs or tapes received from the county boards to candidates of that party who request the discs or tapes in writing. Each State party chair shall return discs and tapes to the county boards within 30 days after receiving them. As used in this section, "political party" means a political party as defined in G.S. 163-96.

(d)       Exception for Address of Certain Registered Voters. - Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, if a registered voter submits to the county board of elections a copy of a protective order without attachments, if any, issued to that person under G.S. 50B-3 or a lawful order of any court of competent jurisdiction restricting the access or contact of one or more persons with a registered voter or a current and valid Address Confidentiality Program authorization card issued pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15C of the General Statutes, accompanied by a signed statement that the voter has good reason to believe that the physical safety of the voter or a member of the voter's family residing with the voter would be jeopardized if the voter's address were open to public inspection, that voter's address is a public record but shall be kept confidential as long as the protective order remains in effect or the voter remains a certified program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program. That voter's name, precinct, and the other data contained in that voter's registration record shall remain a public record. That voter's signed statement submitted under this subsection is a public record but shall be kept confidential as long as the protective order remains in effect or the voter remains a certified program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program. It is the responsibility of the voter to provide the county board with a copy of the valid protective order in effect or a current and valid Address Confidentiality Program authorization card issued pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15C of the General Statutes. The voter's actual address shall be used for any election-related purpose by any board of elections. That voter's address shall be available for inspection by a law enforcement agency or by a person identified in a court order, if inspection of the address by that person is directed by that court order. It shall not be a violation of this section if the address of a voter who is participating in the Address Confidentiality Program is discovered by a member of the public in public records disclosed by a county board of elections prior to December 1, 2001. Addresses required to be kept confidential by this section shall not be made available to the jury commission under the provisions of G.S. 9-2."

SECTION 17.(d)  G.S. 163-82.13 reads as rewritten:

" 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 magnetic copy of the statewide computerized voter registration file to the chairman of each political party as defined in G.S. 163-96 as soon as practicable after the close of registration before every statewide primary and election. The file made available to the political party chairmen shall contain the name, address, gender, age but not date of birth, race, voting history, political affiliation, and precinct of every registered voter in the State. If a county board enters telephone numbers into its computer lists of registered voters, then the free list provided under this subsection shall include telephone numbers.

(b)       Copies for Sale to Others. - Beginning January 1, 1996, the State Board of Elections shall sell, upon written request, to other public and private organizations and persons magnetic copies of the statewide computerized voter registration file. The State Board of Elections may sell selective lists of registered voters according to county, congressional or legislative district, party affiliation, gender, age but not date of birth, race, date of registration, or any other reasonable category, or a combination of categories. The State Board of Elections shall require all persons to whom any list is furnished under this subsection to reimburse the board for the actual cost incurred in preparing it."

SECTION 17.(e)  G.S. 163-42.1 reads as rewritten:

" 163-42.1.  Student election assistants.

A student of at least 17 years of age at the time of any election or primary in which the student works shall be eligible to be appointed as a student election assistant. To be eligible a student must have all the following qualifications:

(1)       Be a United States citizen.

(2)       Be a resident of the county in which the student is appointed.

(3)       Be enrolled in a secondary educational institution, including a home school as defined in G.S. 115C-563(a), with an exemplary academic record as determined by that institution.

(4)       Be recommended by the principal or director of the secondary educational institution in which the student is enrolled.

(5)       Have the consent of a parent, legal custodian, or guardian.

The county board of elections may appoint student election assistants, following guidelines which shall be issued by the State Board of Elections. No more than two student election assistants shall be assigned to any voting place. Every student election assistant shall work under the direct supervision of the election judges. The student election assistants shall attend the same training as a precinct assistant, shall be sworn in the same manner as a precinct assistant, and shall be compensated in the same manner as precinct assistants. The county board of elections shall prescribe the duties of a student election assistant, following guidelines which shall be issued by the State Board of Elections. Under no circumstances may students ineligible to register to vote be appointed and act as precinct judges or observers in any election. The date of birth of a student election assistant shall be kept confidential."

SECTION 17.(f)  This section becomes effective June 1, 2005.

SECTION 18.  Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act becomes effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 16th day of July, 2004.

 

 

                                                                    s/ Beverly E. Perdue

                                                                         President of the Senate

 

 

                                                                    s/ Richard T. Morgan

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

 

                                                                    s/ Michael F. Easley

                                                                         Governor

 

 

Approved 1:15 p.m. this 26th day of July, 2004