Appropriates $18,961,587 in recurring funds for each year of the 2023-25 biennium from the General Fund to the State Board of Elections (SBOE) to secure election integrity, support county boards of elections, and improve voter services.
Enacts GS 163-275.1 making it a Class H felony for any person to do the following. (1) Threaten or attempt to threaten any person for voting or attempting to vote, for voting or attempting to vote for or against a particular candidate, for registering to vote, for urging or aiding any individuals to vote or attempting to vote, as allowed by law, or for exercising any lawful powers or duties as an election official or enlisting another person to do the same. Specifies that a person is be found to have threatened another person if the person knew or reasonably should have known that his or her actions would produce that effect. (2) Knowingly challenge a person's right to vote on fraudulent or spurious grounds. (3) Engage in mass, indiscriminate, and groundless challenging of voters solely for the purpose of preventing voters from voting or to delay the process of voting or the lawful and orderly administration of an election. (4) Fraudulently advise any person that the person is not eligible to vote or is not registered to vote when in fact that person is eligible or registered to vote.
Makes it a Class H felony for an employer, who, in paying its employees the salary or wages due the employees, to: (1) enclose the employees' pay in pay envelopes upon which or in which there is written or printed the name of any candidate or any political mottoes, devices, or arguments containing threats, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees or (2) in any way, express or implied, communicate that the employees' pay or continued employment is conditioned on voting or not voting, or voting a certain way.
Makes it a Class A1 misdemeanor for a person who intimidates or coerces or attempts to intimidate or coerce any person for: (1) voting or attempting to vote; (2) voting or attempting to vote for or against a particular candidate; (3) urging or aiding any persons to vote or attempt to vote, as allowed by law; or (4) exercising any lawful powers or duties as an election official or enlisting another person for the purpose of doing the same. Specifies that a person is found to have intimidated or coerced another person if the person knew or reasonably should have known that his or her actions would produce that effect.
Allows an aggrieved person to bring an action for preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order. Allows the court to award the prevailing party reasonable attorneys' fees.
Allows the court to order any person convicted of violating this Article to pay a restitution fine. Requires that the money from the fine be deposited in the Voter Intimidation Restitution Fund, which is established in the State Treasury. Provides that upon appropriation by the NCGA, moneys in the Fund must be allocated to the SBOE for voter education campaigns addressing the specific crime committed by anyone convicted of violations of this Article. Also allows funds to be used for administrative costs.
Amends Article 22 of GS Chapter 163, as follows. Places the existing Article provisions under Part 1, Criminal Penalties for Voter Interference. Amends GS 163-278 to authorize the SBOE and district attorneys to investigate, prosecute, and seek increased penalties for a person who intimidates, threatens, or coerces an election worker engaged in official duties. Makes organizational changes.
Enacts new GS 163-278.1 under new Part 2, Election Administrator and Poll work Intimidation, making a person who intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce an election worker with intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with the election worker's official duties, liable in civil damages to the election worker for any injury or loss resulting from the intimidation, threats, or coercion. Defines election worker as any individual who is an election official, poll worker, or an election volunteer performing duties in connection with an election. Caps the punishment at a fine of up to $100,000, or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both. Specifies that an election worker acting in good faith to prevent election interference or preserve ballot access in accordance will not incur liability.
Enacts new GS 163-82.5A to require the SBOE to ensure that the following are available to the public on its website: (1) online application for voter registration, the content of which must be equivalent to the form provided by designated voter registration agencies; (2) online assistance to those applying to register to vote; (3) online completion and submission by applicants of the voter registration application, including the applicant's signature; and (4) online receipt of completed voter registration applications. Deems an application to be submitted to the election authority on the date it is received. Sets out requirements for an applicant's signature. Requires the website to generate an immediate electronic confirmation that the application has been received. Requires the SBOE to accept an online voter registration application and ensure that the individual is registered to vote in this State if: (1) the individual meets the same voter registration eligibility requirements applicable to individuals who register to vote by mail and (2) the individual provides a signature in the specified manner. Requires the SBOE to ensure that a registered voter may update their registration information online.
Makes conforming changes to account for the online registration in GS 163-82.3, GS 163-82.6, and GS 163-82.10. Amends GS 163-82 to allow for electronic signatures on voter registration forms.
Requires the SBOE to establish appropriate technological security measures to protect against unauthorized access to information and requires ensuring that online voter registration is provided in a way that is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Above provisions are effective December 1, 2023.
Appropriates $215,000 in recurring funds for each year of the 2023-25 biennium and $90,000 in nonrecurring funds for 2023-24 from the General Fund to the SBOE to implement online voter registration. Effective July 1, 2023.
Amends GS 163-227.2 by extending the time for one-stop voting on the last Saturday before the election until 5:00 pm (was, 3:00 pm). Makes conforming changes.
Amends GS 163-227.6 by requiring that one-stop voting locations be open: (1) on each Saturday before the election during the period required by GS 163-227.2(b), all one-stop sites must be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (was, if the county opens one stop sites on Saturdays other than the last one before the election, then all one-stop sites must be open for the same number of hours uniformly throughout the county) and (2) on each Sunday during the period required by GS 163-227.2(b), all one-stop sites must be open from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (was, if the county opens one-stop sites on Sundays then all one stop sites must be open for the same number of hours uniformly throughout the county on those Sundays).
Amends GS 163-82.14 to require before the county board of elections removes from its voter registration record any person the Department of Health and Human Services has listed as deceased, that the county board confirm that the complete date of birth of the deceased person and the last four digits of the Social Security number are identical to the person to be removed from the voter registration records. Sets out alternative record matching when the last four digits of the social security number are not available. Allows the county board of elections to remove a person from its list if the registrant fails to respond after no less than 60 days (previously, no time frame was specified) to a confirmation mailing and does not vote or appear to vote in an election beginning on the date of the notice and ending on the day after the date of the second general election for the US House of Representatives that occurs after the date of the notice. Adds to the requirements for the confirmation notice that if a voter has provided the county board of elections with an email address, to allow the use of an email that (1) provides the confirmation mailing has been sent, (2) contains information on how the registrant may confirm the registrant's current address online, and (3) contains information on how the voter may continue to be eligible to vote if the registrant has moved outside the county. Allows, if no email is provided, contacting the voter via phone. Prohibits a county board of elections from removing a registrant from its list of registered voters solely based on the county board receiving a return mailing as "undeliverable" without taking steps to confirm the registrant's current address by other means.
Requires the SBOE to create and maintain an online portal for a voter to confirm the voter's address.
Sets out NCGA findings. Requires the UNC School of Government to study and report to the NCGA by February 1, 2024, on options and recommendations to create a nonpartisan process for redistricting districts for the NCGA House and Senate and the US House of Representatives. Requires the report to include a recommended time line for putting the nonpartisan process into practice, including the likelihood of implementing the process following the return of the 2030 federal decennial census.
States the NCGA's intent to review the options presented in the report and transition to a nonpartisan redistricting process following the return of the 2030 federal decennial census.
Bill Summaries: H293 (2023-2024 Session)
Bill H 293 (2023-2024)Summary date: Mar 7 2023 - View summary