163-43. Ballot counters; appointment; qualifications; oath of office.

The county board of elections of any county may authorize the use of precinct ballot counters to aid the chief judges and judges of election in the counting of ballots in any precinct or precincts within the county. The county board of elections shall appoint the ballot counters it authorizes for each precinct or, in its discretion, the board may delegate authority to make such appointments to the precinct chief judge, specifying the number of ballot counters to be appointed for each precinct. A ballot counter must be a resident of the county in which the precinct is located.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter, who holds any elective office under the government of the United States, or of the State of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter, who serves as chairman of a state, congressional district, county, or precinct political party or political organization.

No person who is the wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister of any candidate for nomination or election may serve as ballot counter during any primary or election in which such candidate qualifies.

No person shall be eligible to serve as a ballot counter who is a candidate for nomination or election.

Upon acceptance of appointment, each ballot counter shall appear before the precinct chief judge at the voting place immediately at the close of the polls on the day of the primary or election and take the following oath to be administered by the chief judge:

"I, ___________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States; that I will honestly discharge the duties of ballot counter in ______ precinct, __________County for primary (or election) held this day, and that I will fairly and honestly tabulate the votes cast in said primary (or election); so help me, God."

The names and addresses of all ballot counters serving in any precinct, whether appointed by the county board of elections or by the chief judge, shall be reported by the chief judge to the county board of elections at the county canvass following the primary or election. (1953, c. 843; 1955, c. 800; 1963, c. 303, s. 1; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1981, c. 954, s. 5; 1985, c. 563, s. 10.1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 18; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 734, s. 3.)