Subchapter IX. Municipal Elections.

Article 23.

Municipal Election Procedure.

§ 163-279.  Time of municipal primaries and elections.

(a)        Primaries and elections for offices filled by election of the people in cities, towns, incorporated villages, and special districts shall be held in 1973 and every two or four years thereafter as provided by municipal charter on the following days:

(1)        If the election is nonpartisan and decided by simple plurality, the election shall be held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

(2)        If the election is partisan, the election shall be held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the first primary shall be held on the second Tuesday after Labor Day, and the second primary, if required, shall be held on the fourth Tuesday before the election.

(3)        If the election is nonpartisan and the nonpartisan primary method of election is used, the election shall be held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November and the nonpartisan primary shall be held on the fourth Tuesday before the election.

(4)        If the election is nonpartisan and the election and runoff election method of election is used, the election shall be held on the fourth Tuesday before the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and the runoff election, if required, shall be held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2011-141, s. 1(a), effective July 1, 2011.

(c)        Officers of sanitary districts elected in 1970 shall hold office until the first Monday in December, 1973, notwithstanding G.S. 130-126. Beginning in 1973, sanitary district elections shall be held at the times provided in this section or in G.S. 130A-50(b1).  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 1115; 1987, c. 22, s. 2; 2006-192, s. 3; 2011-141, s. 1(a).)

 

§ 163-280: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, ss. 1-3, effective April 7, 2011.

 

§ 163-280.1: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, ss. 1-3, effective April 7, 2011.

 

§ 163-281: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, ss. 1-3, effective April 7, 2011.

 

§ 163-282.  Residency defined for voting in municipal elections.

The rules for determining residency within a municipality shall be the same as prescribed in G.S. 163-57 for determining county residency. No person shall be entitled to reside in more than one city or town at the same time. (1971, c. 835, s. 1.)

 

§ 163-283.  Right to participate or vote in party primary.

No person shall be entitled to vote or otherwise participate in the primary election of any political party unless that person complies with all of the following:

(1)        Is a registered voter.

(2)        Has declared and has had recorded on the registration book or record the fact that the voter affiliates with the political party in whose primary the voter proposes to vote or participate.

(3)        Is in good faith a member of that party.

Notwithstanding the previous paragraph, any unaffiliated voter who is authorized under G.S. 163-119 may also vote in the primary if the voter is otherwise eligible to vote in that primary except for subdivisions (2) and (3) of the previous paragraph.

Any person who will become qualified by age to register and vote in the general election for which the primary is held, even though not so qualified by the date of the primary election, shall be entitled to register while the registration books are open during the regular registration period prior to the primary and then to vote in the primary after being registered, provided however, under full-time and permanent registration, such an individual may register not earlier than 60 days nor later than the last day for making application to register under G.S. 163-82.6(c) prior to the primary. In addition, persons who will become qualified by age to register and vote in the general election for which the primary is held, who do not register during the special period may register to vote after such period as if they were qualified on the basis of age, but until they are qualified by age to vote, they may vote only in primary elections.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1983, c. 331, s. 5; 1987, c. 408, s. 5; c. 457, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1032, s. 8; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 62; 2008-150, s. 5(c); 2009-541, s. 24; 2013-381, s. 16.6.)

 

§ 163-283.1.  Voting in nonpartisan primary.

Any person who will become qualified by age to register and vote in the general election for which a nonpartisan primary is held, even though not so qualified by the date of the primary, shall be entitled to register for the primary and general election prior to the primary and then to vote in the primary after being registered. Such a person may register not earlier than 60 days nor later than the last day for making application to register under G.S. 163-82.6(c) prior to the primary.  (2009-541, s. 25; 2013-381, s. 16.7.)

 

§ 163-284.  Mandatory administration by county boards of elections.

(a)        Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, s. 4, effective April 7, 2011.

(b)        The registration of voters and the conduct of all elections in municipalities and special districts shall be under the authority of the county board of elections. Any contested election or allegations of irregularities shall be made to the county board of elections and appeals from such rulings may be made to the State Board of Elections under existing statutory provisions and rules or regulations adopted by the State Board of Elections.

Each municipality and special district shall reimburse the county board of elections for the actual cost involved in the administration required under this section.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 84; 2011-31, s. 4.)

 

§ 163-284.1.  Special district elections conducted by county.

All elections held in and for a sanitary district, fire district or other special district, including school administrative units, shall be conducted by the county board of elections notwithstanding the fact that the taxes of the special district may be levied by a city. (1971, c. 835, s. 1.)

 

§ 163-285: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, s. 5, effective April 7, 2011.

 

§ 163-286.  Conduct of municipal and special district elections; application of Chapter 163.

(a)        To the extent that the laws, rules and procedures applicable to the conduct of primary, general and special elections by county boards of elections under Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7A, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19 and 22 of this Chapter are not inconsistent with provisions of this Article, those laws, rules and procedures shall apply to municipal and special district elections and their conduct by the board of elections conducting those elections. The State Board of Elections shall have the same authority over all such elections as it has over county and State elections under those Articles.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, s. 6, effective April 7, 2011.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 85; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 64; 2011-31, s. 6.)

 

§ 163-287.  Special elections; procedure for calling.

(a)        Any county, municipality, or any special district shall have authority to call special elections as permitted by law. Prior to calling a special election, the governing body of the county, municipality, or special district shall adopt a resolution specifying the details of the election, and forthwith deliver the resolution to the local board of elections. The resolution shall call on the local board of elections to conduct the election described in the resolution and shall state the date on which the special election is to be conducted. In setting the date, counties, municipalities, and special districts are encouraged to set a date that will result in the highest possible voter turnout. However, the special election may be held only as follows:

(1)        At the same time as any other State or county general election.

(2)        At the same time as the primary election in any even-numbered year.

(3)        At the same time as any other election requiring all the precincts in the county to be open.

(4)        At the same time as a municipal general election, if the special election is within the jurisdiction of the municipality only.

(b)        Legal notice of the special election shall be published no less than 45 days prior to the special election. The local board of elections shall be responsible for publishing the legal notice. The notice shall state the date and time of the special election, the issue to be submitted to the voters, and the precincts in which the election will be held. This subsection shall not apply to bond elections.

(c)        The last sentence of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any special election related to the public health or safety, including a vacancy in the office of sheriff or a bond referendum for financing of health and sanitation systems, if the governing body adopts a resolution stating the need for the special election at a time different from any other State, county, or municipal general election or the primary in any even-numbered year.

(d)       The last sentence of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to municipal incorporation or recall elections pursuant to local act of the General Assembly.

(e)        The last sentence of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to municipal elections to fill vacancies in office pursuant to local act of the General Assembly where more than six months remain in the term of office, and if less than six months remain in the office, the governing board may fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term notwithstanding any provision of a local act of the General Assembly.

(f)        This section shall not impact the authority of the courts or the State Board to order a new election at a time set by the courts or State Board under this Chapter.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 86; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 65; 2011-31, s. 7; 2013-381, s. 10.1; 2014-111, s. 17.5(a).)

 

§ 163-288.  Registration for city elections; county and municipal boards of elections.

The registration record of the county board of elections shall be the official registration record for voters to vote in all elections, city, district, county, State or national.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 87; 1981, c. 33, s. 5; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1032, s. 7; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 66; 2011-31, s. 8.)

 

§ 163-288.1.  Activating voters for newly annexed or incorporated areas.

(a)        Whenever any new city or special district is incorporated or whenever an existing city or district annexes any territory, the city or special district shall cause a map of the corporate or district limits to be prepared from the boundary descriptions in the act, charter or other document creating the city or district or authorizing or implementing the annexation. The map shall be delivered to the county board of elections conducting the elections for the city or special district. The board of elections shall then activate for city or district elections each voter eligible to vote in the city or district who is registered to vote in the county to the extent that residence addresses shown on the county registration certificates can be identified as within the limits of the city or special district. Each voter whose registration is thus activated for city or special district elections shall be so notified by mail. The cost of preparing the map of the newly incorporated city or special district or of the newly annexed area, and of activating voters eligible to vote therein, shall be paid by the city or special district. In lieu of the procedures set forth in this section, the county board of elections may use either of the methods of registration of voters set out in G.S. 163-288.2 when activating voters pursuant to the incorporation of a new city or election of city officials or both under authority of an act of the General Assembly or when activating voters after an annexation of new territory by a city or special district under Chapter 160A, Article 4A, or other general or local law.

(b)        Each voter whose registration is changed by the county or municipal board of elections in any manner pursuant to any annexation or expunction under this subsection shall be so notified by mail.

(c)        The State Board of Elections shall have authority to adopt regulations for the more detailed administration of this section.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 88; 1977, c. 752, s. 1; 2011-31, s. 9.)

 

§ 163-288.1A.  Activating voters when charter revised.

Whenever a city has not held the most recent two elections required by its charter or this Chapter, and the General Assembly amends the charter of that city and provides that the county board of elections shall conduct the elections of that city, voters shall be activated for the elections of that city in accordance with G.S. 163-288.1 or G.S. 163-288.2. In such a case, the county shall prepare the map required by G.S. 163-288.1(a). (1985, c. 350.)

 

§ 163-288.2.  Registration in area proposed for incorporation or annexed.

(a)        Whenever the General Assembly incorporates a new city and provides in the act of incorporation for a referendum on the question of incorporation or for a special election for town officials or for both, or whenever an existing city or special district annexes new territory under the provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 4A, or other general or local law, the board of elections of the county in which the proposed city is located or in which the newly annexed territory is located shall determine those individuals eligible to vote in the referendum or special election or in the city or special district elections. In determining the eligible voters the board may, in its discretion, use either of the following methods:

METHOD A. - The board of elections shall prepare a list of those registered voters residing within the proposed city or newly annexed territory. The board shall make this list available for public inspection in its office for a two-week period ending on the twenty-fifth day before the day of the referendum or special election, or the next scheduled city or special district election. During this period, any voter resident within the proposed city or newly annexed territory and not included on the list may cause his name to be added to the list. At least one week and no more than two weeks before the day the period of public inspection is to begin, the board shall cause notice of the list's availability to be posted in at least two prominent places within the proposed city or newly annexed territory and may cause the notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county. The notice shall state that the list has been prepared, that only those persons listed may vote in the referendum or special election, that the list will be available for public inspection in the board's office, that any qualified voter not included on the list may cause his name to be added to the list during the two-week period of public inspection, and that persons in newly annexed territory should present themselves so their registration records may be activated for voting in city or special district elections in the newly annexed territory. Notice may additionally be made on a radio or television station or both, but such notice shall be in addition to the newspaper and other required notice.

METHOD B. - The board of elections shall conduct a special registration of eligible persons desiring to vote in the referendum or special election or in the newly annexed territory. The registration records shall be open for a two-week period (except Sundays) ending on the twenty-fifth day before the day of the referendum or special election or the next scheduled city or special district election. On the two Saturdays during that two-week period, the records shall be located at the voting place for the referendum or special election or the next scheduled city or special district election; on the other days it may, in the discretion of the board, be kept at the voting place, at the office of the board, or at the place of business of a person designated by the board to conduct the special registration. At least one week and no more than two weeks before the day the period of special registration is to begin, the board shall cause notice of the registration to be posted in at least two prominent places within the proposed city or newly annexed territory and may cause the notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county. The notice shall state the purpose and times of the special registration, the location of the registration records, that only those persons registered in the special registration may vote in the referendum or special election, and that persons in newly annexed territory should present themselves so their registration records may be activated for voting in city or special district elections in the newly annexed territory. Notice may additionally be made on a radio or television station or both, but such notice shall be in addition to the newspaper and other required notice.

(b)        Only those persons registered pursuant to this section may vote in the referendum or special election, provided, however, that in cases where voters are activated under either Method A or B to vote in a city or special district that annexes territory, the city or special district shall permit them to vote in the city or special district's election and shall, as well, permit other voters to vote in such elections who did not register under the provisions of this section if they are otherwise registered, qualified and eligible to vote in the same. (1973, c. 551; 1977, c. 752, s. 2; 1981, c. 33, s. 6; 1989, c. 93, s. 9; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1032, s. 9; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 67.)

 

§ 163-288.3.  Payment of cost of elections on question of formation of a new municipality or special district.

Whenever a referendum or election is held on the question of incorporation of a new municipality or the formation of a special district, the cost of the election shall be paid by the new municipality or special district in the event the voters approve of incorporation or creation and the new municipality or special district is established. If the voters disapprove and the new municipality or special district is not established, the cost of the election shall be paid by the county. The cost of the election shall be advanced by the county, which shall be reimbursed within 18 months of the date of election, by the municipality or special district if it is established. (1981, c. 786, s. 1.)

 

§ 163-289.  Right to challenge; challenge procedure.

(a)        The rules governing challenges in municipal elections shall be the same as are now applicable to challenges made in a county election, provided however, any voter who challenges another voter's right to vote in any municipal or special district election must reside in such municipality or special district.

(b)        Whenever a challenge is made pursuant to this section, the appropriate board of elections shall process such challenge in accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes as such Article is applicable.

(c)        Repealed by Session Laws 2011-31, s. 10, effective April 7, 2011.  (1971, c. 835, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 89; 2011-31, s. 10.)

 

§ 163-290.  Alternative methods of determining the results of municipal elections.

(a)        Each city, town, village, and special district in this State shall operate under one of the following alternative methods of nominating candidates for and determining the results of its elections:

(1)        The partisan primary and election method set out in G.S. 163-291.

(2)        The nonpartisan primary and election method set out in G.S. 163-294.

(3)        The nonpartisan plurality method set out in G.S. 163-292.

(4)        The nonpartisan election and runoff election method set out in G.S. 163-293.

(b)        Each city whose charter provides for partisan municipal elections as of January 1, 1972, shall operate under the partisan primary and election method until such time as its charter is amended to provide for nonpartisan elections. Each city, town, village, and special district whose elections are by charter or general law nonpartisan may select the nonpartisan primary and election method, the nonpartisan plurality method, or the nonpartisan election and runoff election method by resolution of the municipal governing board  adopted and filed with the State Board of Elections not later than 5:00 P.M. Monday, January 31, 1972, except that a city whose charter provides for a nonpartisan primary as of January 1, 1972, may not select the plurality method unless its charter is so amended. If the municipal governing board does not exercise its option to select another choice before that time, the municipality shall operate under the method specified in the following table:

Cities, towns and villages of

            less than 5,000                                          Plurality

Cities, towns and villages of

            5,000 or more                                            Election and Runoff Election

Special districts                                                     Plurality

After January 31, 1972, each city, town and village may change its method of election from one to another of the methods set out in subsection (a) by act of the General Assembly or in the manner provided by law for amendment of its charter. (1971, c. 835, s. 1.)