163-86. Hearing on challenge.

(a) A challenge made under G.S. 163-85 shall be heard and decided before the date of the next primary or election, except that if the board finds that because of the number of challenges, it cannot hold all hearings before the date of the election, it may order the challenges to be heard and decided at the next time the challenged person appears and seeks to vote, as if the challenge had been filed under G.S. 163-87. Unless the hearing is ordered held under G.S. 163-87, it shall be heard and decided by the board of elections.

(b) At least 10 days prior to the hearing scheduled under G.S. 163-86(c), the board of elections shall mail by first-class mail, a written notice of the challenge to the challenged voter, to the address of the voter listed in the registration records of the county. The notice shall state succinctly the grounds asserted, and shall state the time and place of the hearing. If the hearing is to be held at the polls, the notice shall state that fact and shall list the date of the next scheduled election, the location of the voter's polling place, and the time the polls will be open. A copy of the notice shall be sent to the person making the challenge and to the chairman of each political party in the county.

(c) At the time and place set for the hearing on a challenge entered prior to the date of a primary or election, the county board of elections shall explain to the challenged registrant the qualifications for registration and voting in this State. The board chairman, or in his absence the board secretary, shall then administer the following oath to the challenged registrant:

"You swear (or affirm) that the statements and information you shall give in this hearing with respect to your identity and qualifications to be registered and to vote shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God."

After swearing the challenged registrant, the board shall examine him as to his qualifications to be registered and to vote. If the challenged registrant insists that he is qualified, the board shall tender to him the following oath or affirmation:

"You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you are a citizen of the United States; that you are at least 18 years of age or will become 18 by the date of the next general election; that you have or will have resided in this State and in the precinct for which registered for 30 days by the date of the next primary or election; that you are not disqualified from voting by the Constitution or the laws of this State; that your name is ____, and that in such name you were duly registered as a voter of ____ precinct; and that you are the person you represent yourself to be, so help you, God."

If the challenged registrant refuses to take the tendered oath, or submit to the board the affidavit required by subsection (d), below, the challenge shall be sustained. If the challenged registrant takes the tendered oath, the board may, nevertheless, sustain the challenge if it finds the challenged registrant is not a legal voter.

The board, in conducting hearings on challenges, shall have authority to subpoena any witnesses it may deem appropriate, and administer the necessary oaths or affirmations to all witnesses brought before it to testify to the qualifications of the persons challenged.

(d) Appearance by Challenged Registrant. - The challenged registrant shall appear in person at the challenge hearing. If he is unable to appear in person, he may be represented by another person and must tender to the county board of elections an affidavit that he is a citizen of the United States, is at least 18 years of age or will become 18 by the date of the next general election, has or will have resided in this State and in the precinct for which registered for 30 days by the date of the next primary or election, is not disqualified from voting by the Constitution or laws of this State, is named ____ and was duly registered as a voter of ____ precinct in such name, and is the person represented to be by the affidavit. (1901, c. 89, s. 22; Rev., s. 4340; C.S., s. 5973; 1955, c. 871, s. 2; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1971, c. 1231, s. 1; 1973, c. 793, s. 35; 1979, c. 357, s. 2; 2008-150, s. 5(b).)