163-88.1. Request for challenged ballot.

(a) If the decision of the chief judge and judges pursuant to G.S. 163-88 is to sustain the challenge, the challenged voter may request a challenged ballot by submitting an application to the chief judge, such application shall include as part thereof an affidavit that such person possesses all the qualifications for voting and is entitled to vote at the election. The form of such affidavit shall be prescribed by the State Board of Elections and shall be available at the polls.

(b) Any person requesting a challenged ballot shall have the letter "C" entered at the appropriate place on the voter's permanent registration record. The voter's name shall be entered on a separate page in the pollbook entitled "Challenged Ballot," and serially numbered. The challenged ballot shall be the same type of ballot used for absentee voters, and the chief judge shall write across the top of the ballot "Challenged Ballot #____," and shall insert the same serial number as entered in the pollbook. The chief judge shall deliver to such voter a challenged ballot together with an envelope marked "Challenged Ballot" and serially numbered. The challenged voter shall forthwith mark the ballot in the presence of the chief judge in such manner that the chief judge shall not know how the ballot is marked. He shall then fold the ballot in the presence of the chief judge so as to conceal the markings and deposit and seal it in the serially numbered envelope. He shall then deliver such envelope to the chief judge. The chief judge shall retain all such envelopes in an envelope provided by the county board of elections, which he shall seal immediately after the polls close, and deliver to the board chairman at the canvass.

(c) The chairman of the county board of elections shall preserve such ballots in the sealed envelopes for a period of six months after the election. However, in the case of a contested election, either party to such action may request the court to order that the sealed envelopes containing challenged ballots be delivered to the board of elections by the chairman. If so ordered, the board of elections shall then convene and consider each challenged ballot and rule as to which ballots shall be counted. In such consideration, the board may take such further evidence as it deems necessary, and shall have the power of subpoena. If any ballots are ordered to be counted, they shall be added to the vote totals. (1979, c. 357, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 28.)