163-88. Hearing on challenge made on day of primary or election.

A challenge entered on the day of a primary or election shall be heard and decided by the chief judge and judges of election of the precinct in which the challenged registrant is registered before the polls are closed on the day the challenge is made. When the challenge is heard the precinct officials conducting the hearing shall explain to the challenged registrant the qualifications for registration and voting in this State, and shall examine him as to his qualifications to be registered and to vote. If the challenged registrant insists that he is qualified, and if, by sworn testimony, he shall prove his identity with the person in whose name he offers to vote and his continued residence in the precinct since he was registered, one of the judges of election or the chief judge shall tender to him the following oath or affirmation, omitting the portions in brackets if the challenge is heard on the day of an election other than a primary:

"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 general election]; that you are not disqualified from voting by the Constitution and laws of this State; that your name is_____________, and that in such name you were duly registered as a voter of this precinct; that you are the person you represent yourself to be; [that you are affiliated with the __________ party]; and that you have not voted in this [primary] election at this or any other voting place. So help you, God."

If the challenged registrant refuses to take the tendered oath, the challenge shall be sustained, and the precinct officials conducting the hearing shall mark the registration records to reflect their decision, and they shall erase the challenged registrant's name from the pollbook if it has been entered therein. If the challenged registrant takes the tendered oath, the precinct officials conducting the hearing may, nevertheless, sustain the challenge unless they are satisfied that the challenged registrant is a legal voter. If they are satisfied that he is a legal voter, they shall overrule the challenge and permit him to vote. Whenever any person's vote is received after having taken the oath prescribed in this section, the chief judge or one of the judges of election shall write on the registration record and on the pollbook opposite the registrant's name the word "sworn."

Precinct election officials conducting hearings on challenges on the day of a primary or election shall have authority to administer the necessary oaths or affirmations to all witnesses brought before them to testify to the qualifications of the person challenged.

A letter or postal card mailed by returnable mail and returned by the United States Postal Service purportedly because the person no longer lives at that address or because a forwarding order has expired shall not be admissible evidence in a challenge heard under this section which was made under G.S. 163-87. (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. 1223, s. 6; 1985, c. 380, ss. 1, 1.1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 27.)