163-182.14. Appeal of a final decision to superior court; appeal to the General Assembly or a house thereof.

(a) Final Decision. - A copy of the final decision of the State Board of Elections on an election protest shall be served on the parties personally or through delivery by U.S. mail or a designated delivery service authorized under 26 U.S.C. 7502(f)(2) if that delivery provides a record of the date and time of delivery to the address provided by the party. A decision to order a new election is considered a final decision for purposes of seeking review of the decision.

(b) Timing of Right of Appeal. - Except in the case of a general or special election to either house of the General Assembly or to an office established by Article III of the Constitution, an aggrieved party has the right to appeal the final decision to the Superior Court of Wake County within 10 days of the date of service.

After the decision by the State Board of Elections has been served on the parties, the certification of nomination or election or the results of the referendum shall issue pursuant to G.S. 163-182.15 unless an appealing party obtains a stay of the certification from the Superior Court of Wake County within 10 days after the date of service. The court shall not issue a stay of certification unless the petitioner shows the court that the petitioner has appealed the decision of the State Board of Elections, that the petitioner is an aggrieved party, and that the petitioner is likely to prevail in the appeal.

If service is by mail or a designated delivery service, the additional time after service provided in Rule 6(e) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to both the time for appeal and the time to obtain a stay under this subsection.

(c) Contests for General Assembly and Executive Branch Offices. - In the case of a general or special election to either house of the General Assembly or to an office established by Article III of the Constitution, an unsuccessful candidate has the right to appeal the final decision to the General Assembly in accordance with Article 3 of Chapter 120 and G.S. 163-182.13A, as appropriate.

After the decision by the State Board of Elections has been served on the parties, the certification of nomination or election shall issue pursuant to G.S. 163-182.15 unless a contest of the election is initiated pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 120 or G.S. 163-182.13A, as appropriate.

(d) Attorney's fees shall not be awarded against the State Board of Elections in any election protest brought under this Article. (2001-398, s. 3; 2003-278, s. 8(b); 2005-3, s. 4; 2008-150, s. 4(a); 2009-541, s. 27.)