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. - The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules prescribing the order of offices to be voted on the official ballot. Those rules shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(1) Federal offices shall be listed before State and local offices. Member of the United States House of Representatives shall be listed immediately after United States Senator.

(2) State and local offices shall be listed according to the size of the electorate.

(3) Partisan offices, regardless of the size of the constituency, shall be listed before nonpartisan offices.

(4) When offices are in the same class, they shall be listed in alphabetical order by office name, or in numerical or alphabetical order by district name. Governor and Lieutenant Governor, in that order, shall be listed before other Council of State offices. Mayor shall be listed before other citywide offices. Chair of a board, where elected separately, shall be listed before other board seats having the same electorate. Chief Justice shall be listed before Associate Justices.

(5) Ballot items for full terms of an office shall be listed before ballot items for partial terms of the same office.

(6) Ballot items for retention elections held under Article 1A of Chapter 7A of the General Statutes shall be grouped with like State offices, but shall be listed after offices for which an election is conducted under Article 25 of this Chapter.

(c) Order of Candidates on Primary and Nonpartisan Official Ballots. - The order in which candidates shall appear on a county's official ballots in any (i) primary ballot item, whether the primary is partisan or nonpartisan, and (ii) in any nonpartisan general election ballot item under Article 25 of this Chapter shall be determined by the county board of elections using a process designed by the State Board of Elections for random selection. The same random selection process shall be used for all primaries and elections in a calendar year.

(d) Order of Party Candidates on General Election Official Ballot. - Candidates in any ballot item on a general election official ballot shall appear in the following order:

(1) Nominees of political parties that reflect at least five percent (5%) of statewide voter registration, according to the most recent statistical report published by the State Board of Elections, in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party whose nominee for Governor received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial election, and in alphabetical order within the party.

(2) Nominees of other political parties, in alphabetical order by party and in alphabetical order within the party.

(3) Unaffiliated candidates, in alphabetical order.

(d1) Order of Candidates for Judge of the Court of Appeals on General Election Official Ballot. - Candidates for judge of the Court of Appeals on a general election official ballot shall appear in the following order:

(1) Candidates registered with political parties that reflect at least five percent (5%) of statewide voter registration, according to the most recent statistical report published by the State Board of Elections, in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party whose nominee for Governor received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial election and in alphabetical order within the party.

(2) Candidates registered with other political parties, in alphabetical order by party and in alphabetical order within the party.

(3) Unaffiliated candidates, in alphabetical order.

(e) No Straight-Party Voting. - Each official ballot shall not contain any place that allows a voter with one mark to vote for the candidates of a party for more than one office.

(f) Write-In Voting. - Each official ballot shall be so arranged so that voters may cast write-in votes for candidates except where prohibited by G.S. 163-123 or other statutes governing write-in votes. Instructions for general election ballots shall clearly advise voters of the rules of this subsection and of the statutes governing write-in voting.

(g) Order of Precedence for Referenda. - The referendum questions to be voted on shall be arranged on the official ballot in the following order:

(1) Proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution, in the chronological order in which the proposals were approved by the General Assembly. Proposed amendments shall be designated by only the short caption provided by the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission under Article 4A of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes.

(2) Other referenda to be voted on by all voters in the State, in the chronological order in which the proposals were approved by the General Assembly.

(3) Referenda to be voted on by fewer than all the voters in the State, in the chronological order of the acts by which the referenda were properly authorized. (2001-460, s. 3; 2002-158, s. 14; 2013-381, ss. 31.1, 32.1; 2014-111, s. 2; 2015-66, s. 4; 2016-109, ss. 3, 4(a).)