163-82.18. Appeal from denial of registration.

(a) Right to Appeal. - Any applicant who receives notice of denial of registration pursuant to G.S. 163-82.7 may appeal the denial within five days after receipt of the notice of denial. The county board of elections shall promptly set a date for a public hearing. The notice of appeal shall be in writing and shall be signed by the appealing party, shall include the appealing party's name, date of birth, address, and reasons for the appeal.

(b) Hearing Before County Board of Elections. - The county board of elections shall set a date and time for a public hearing and shall notify the appealing party. Every person appealing to the county board of elections from denial of registration shall be entitled to a prompt and fair hearing on the question of the denied applicant's right and qualifications to register as a voter. All cases on appeal to a county board of elections shall be heard de novo.

Two members of the county board of elections shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of hearing appeals on questions of registration. The decision of a majority of the members of the board shall be the decision of the board. The board shall be authorized to subpoena witnesses and to compel their attendance and testimony under oath, and it is further authorized to subpoena papers and documents relevant to any matters pending before the board.

If at the hearing the board shall find that the person appealing from a denial of registration meets all requirements of law for registration as a voter in the county, the board shall enter an order directing that the appellant be registered and assign the appellant to the appropriate precinct. Not later than five days after an appeal is heard before the county board of elections, the board shall give written notice of its decision to the appealing party.

(c) Appeal to Superior Court. - Any person aggrieved by a final decision of a county board of elections denying registration may at any time within 10 days from the date on which he receives notice of the decision appeal to the superior court of the county in which the board is located. Upon such an appeal, the appealing party shall be the plaintiff and the county board of elections shall be the defendant, and the matter shall be heard de novo in the superior court in the manner in which other civil actions are tried and disposed of in that court.

If the decision of the court is that the order of the county board of elections shall be set aside, then the court shall enter its order so providing and adjudging that the plaintiff is entitled to be registered as a qualified voter in the precinct in which he originally made application to register, and in such case the plaintiff's name shall be entered in the registration book of that precinct. The court shall not order the registration of any person in a precinct in which he did not apply to register prior to the proceeding in court.

From the judgment of the superior court an appeal may be taken to the appellate division in the same manner as other appeals are taken from judgments of that court in civil actions. (1957, c. 287, dd. 2-4; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1969, c. 44, s. 82; 1981, c. 542, ss. 1, 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 2.)