163-42. Assistants at polls; appointment; term of office; qualifications; oath of office.

(a) Each county board of elections is authorized, in its discretion, to appoint two or more assistants for each precinct to aid the chief judge and judges. Not more than two assistants shall be appointed in precincts having 500 or less registered voters. Assistants shall be qualified voters of the county in which the precinct is located. When the board of elections determines that assistants are needed in a precinct an equal number shall be appointed from different political parties, unless the requirement as to party affiliation cannot be met because of an insufficient number of voters of different political parties within the county.

In the discretion of the county board of elections, a precinct assistant may serve less than the full day prescribed for chief judges and judges in G.S. 163-47(a).

(b) The chairman of each political party in the county shall have the right to recommend from three to 10 registered voters in each precinct for appointment as precinct assistants in that precinct. If the recommendations are received by it no later than the thirtieth day prior to the primary or election, the board shall make appointments of the precinct assistants for each precinct from the names thus recommended. If the recommendations of the party chairs for precinct assistant in a precinct are insufficient, the county board of elections by unanimous vote of all of its members may name to serve as precinct assistant in that precinct registered voters in that precinct who were not recommended by the party chairs. If, after diligently seeking to fill the positions with registered voters of the precinct, the county board still has an insufficient number of precinct assistants for the precinct, the county board by unanimous vote of all of its members may appoint to the positions registered voters in other precincts in the same county who meet the qualifications other than residence to be precinct officials in the precinct. In making its appointments, the county board shall assure, wherever possible, that no precinct has precinct officials all of whom are registered with the same party. In no instance shall the county board appoint nonresidents of the precinct to a majority of the positions as precinct assistant in a precinct.

(c) In addition, a county board of elections by unanimous vote of all of its members may appoint any registered voter in the county as emergency election-day assistant, as long as that voter is otherwise qualified to be a precinct official. The State Board of Elections shall determine for each election the number of emergency election-day assistants each county may have, based on population, expected turnout, and complexity of election duties. The county board by unanimous vote of all of its members may assign emergency election-day assistants on the day of the election to any precinct in the county where the number of precinct officials is insufficient because of an emergency occurring within 48 hours of the opening of the polls that prevents an appointed precinct official from serving. A person appointed to serve as emergency election-day assistant shall be trained and paid like other precinct assistants in accordance with G.S. 163-46. A county board of elections shall apportion the appointments as emergency election-day assistant among registrants of each political party so as to make possible the staffing of each precinct with officials of more than one party, and the county board shall make assignments so that no precinct has precinct officials all of whom are registered with the same party.

(d) Before entering upon the duties of the office, each assistant shall take the oath prescribed in G.S. 163-41(a) to be administered by the chief judge of the precinct for which the assistant is appointed. Assistants serve for the particular primary or election for which they are appointed, unless the county board of elections appoints them for a term to expire on the date appointments are to be made pursuant to G.S. 163-41. (1929, c. 164, s. 35; 1933, c. 165, s. 24; 1953, c. 1191, s. 3; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 95; c. 1359, ss. 1-3; 1975, c. 19, s. 67; 1977, c. 95, ss. 1, 2; 1981, c. 954, s. 3; 1983, c. 617, s. 4; 1985, c. 563, ss. 8, 8.1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 17; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 554, s. 1; c. 734, s. 2; 2011-31, s. 19.)