RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT.

View NCGA Bill Details2011-2012 Session
House Bill 351 (Public) Filed Monday, March 14, 2011
TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT BY (1) REQUIRING THAT VOTERS PROVIDE PHOTO IDENTIFICATION BEFORE VOTING; (2) REQUIRING CANDIDATES AND TREASURERS TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO CORRECT CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS AND REQUIRING LIABILITY OF CANDIDATES FOR CIVIL PENALTIES FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS OF CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEES; (3) LIMITING THE CHAIR OF THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO TWO TWO-YEAR TERMS IN THAT OFFICE; (4) PROHIBITING PIECE-WORK PAYMENT FOR VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES; (5) PREVENTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ITS APPEARANCE INVOLVING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY STATE CONTRACTORS; AND (6) ALLOWING VOTERS MORE FLEXIBILITY IN APPLYING FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS.
Intro. by Lewis, T. Moore, Killian.

Status: Placed On Cal For 5/29/2012 (House Action) (May 24 2012)

Bill History:

H 351

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jun 14 2011 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to 4th edition. Makes a clarifying change.


  • Summary date: Jun 9 2011 - More information

    House amendment makes the following changes to 3rd edition. Amends Section 1.10(b), modifying the use for which funds collected from the surcharge on attorney membership fees may be used to specify the judicial voter guide provided for under GS 163-278.69, and making the use of the surcharge funds for this purpose applicable to funds collected on or after July 1, 2011 (was August 1, 2011).


  • Summary date: Jun 8 2011 - More information

    House committee substitute, reported in on 6/7/11, makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
    Clarifies that despite the photo identification requirement for voting in person, any voter without photo identification must be allowed to vote a provisional official ballot. Deletes subsection (b) of proposed GS 163-166.13, which provided guidelines applicable to a voter with a disability who does not present photo identification.
    Amends GS 163-278.69 to provide that the Judicial Voter Guide published under the statute must also include information on the photo identification requirement for voting in person under proposed GS 163-166.13.
    Directs that up to $429,455 of the unexpended funds (was, did not specify a dollar amount of the unexpended funds) in the North Carolina Voter-Owned Elections Fund are appropriated for the purposes of implementing this act. Appropriates funds from the surcharge on attorney membership fees under GS 84-34, collected on or after August 1, 2011 (was, July 1, 2011) and provides that these funds may be used to implement the education and publicity requirements of the act as they relate to judicial elections.
    Directs that of the funds appropriated to the General Assembly for the 2010-11 fiscal year, the $231,437 remaining on June 30, 2011, be transferred to the State Board of Elections for the 2011-12 fiscal year to implement the provisions of this act.
    Provides that of the funds appropriated to the Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles, up to $1,468,033 for the 2011-12 fiscal year and $100,438 for the 2012-13 fiscal year may be used from the Highway Fund, including unexpended funds within the Inspections Program Account and Telecommunications Account created by GS 20-183, to support the costs of issuing special identification cards for non-drivers and for costs associated with modifications to the State Automated Driver License System.
    Deletes provisions authorizing the use of funds under Title I and Title II of the Help America Vote Act and under the Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities provisions of the Help America Vote Act for the purposes of this act. Also deletes proposed changes to GS 163-230.2 regarding the method of requesting absentee ballots.
    Adds a severability clause to provide that if any provisions of the proposed act or its application are held to be invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications.
    Makes a conforming change to the title.


  • Summary date: Apr 8 2011 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to 1st edition.
    Deletes amendments made to GS 163-166.12 and instead codifies most changes previously made to that statute, related to the photo identification requirement for in-person voting, in new GS 163-166.13. New GS 163-166.13 requires every individual voting in person to present photo identification to a local election official at the voting place before voting. However, any voter with a disability who does not present photo identification will be permitted to vote if a person, at least 18 years of age, accompanying the voter with a disability executes an affidavit affirming that the voter with a disability is the same person registered to vote and, to the affiant’s knowledge, does not have required photo identification. Allows the voter with a disability to vote a ballot as if the voter met the photo identification requirement. Defines photo identification as one of the following items, provided it contains a photograph of the registered voter: (1) a NC drivers license issued under Article 2 of GS Chapter 20; (2) a special identification card for nonoperators issued under GS 20-37.7; (3) an identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of NC, another state, or the U.S.; (4) a U.S. passport; (5) an employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, NC, or any local government, board, authority, or other entity of NC; (6) a U.S. military identification card; (7) a tribal identification card; or (8) a NC voter identification card issued under proposed GS 163-166.14.
    Moves the provisions, providing for and explaining voter identification cards, from GS 163-166.13 in the previous edition to new GS 163-166.14. Clarifies that no registered voter (rather than person) is eligible for a NC voter identification card if the registered voter has a valid unexpired drivers license, learner’s permit, provisional license, or a special identification card issued under GS 20-37.7. Removes height and weight from the categories of information included on the voter identification card. Adds that the information collected by the county board of elections is subject to GS 163-82.10 (official record of voter registration) and GS 163-82.10B (date of birth kept confidential). Clarifies that a person may apply for and receive a new voter identification card if the person moves his or her residence in NC. Makes a clarifying change.
    Makes conforming and clarifying changes to GS 163-82.6A(b) (concerning in-person registration and voting at one-stop sites) and GS 163-227.2(b) (alternate procedures for requesting absentee ballot). Makes conforming changes to GS 163-166.7(a) (checking registration) and adds that an individual may vote a provisional ballot if the individual does not present required identification. Retains new GS 163-182.1A in this edition, which provides for counting provisional ballots cast due to failure to provide valid photo identification. Makes conforming changes to GS 163-87 and deletes the amendment allowing an observer appointed under GS 163-45 to also enter challenges against voters in the precinct regardless of the observer’s place of residence. Makes other clarifying changes. Deletes provisions concerning the Voting Rights Act and preclearance, in relation to the photo identification requirement.
    Makes clarifying and conforming changes to GS 20-37.7(d) and adds that a registered voter may obtain a special identification card under the statute without paying a fee, if the voter signs an unnotarized affidavit stating the voter is registered and has no other acceptable photo identification. Retains provisions concerning education and publicity of the photo identification requirement and funds appropriated from the General Fund, Help America Vote Act, NC Voter-Owned Elections Fund, and attorney membership fees. Clarifies that funds from the surcharge on attorney fees collected on or after July 1, 2011, may be used. These provisions retain the effective date of July 1, 2011.
    Retains amendments to GS 163-230.2 (pertaining to absentee ballots) and deletes all other provisions in previous edition (candidate and treasurer duty and liability; State Board of Elections Chair term limit; prohibit piece-work payment for voter registration; prohibit pay-to-play). Makes a conforming change to the title.
    Clarifies that, unless otherwise indicated, this act is effective when it becomes law and applies to primaries and elections conducted on or after January 1, 2012.


  • Summary date: Mar 15 2011 - More information

    Voter Photo Identification. Amends GS 163-166.12 to require every individual seeking to vote in person to present valid photo identification to a local election official before voting at the voting place (deletes provision requiring persons who registered by mail to present identification under certain circumstances). New GS 163-166.12(a1) defines valid photo identification as one of the following items, provided it contains a photograph of the registered voter: (1) a NC driver’s license issued under GS Chapter 20; (2) a special identification card for nonoperators issued under GS 20-37.7; (3) a valid identification card issued by any state or federal entity authorized to issue personal identification; (4) a valid U.S. passport; (5) a valid employee identification card issued by any state, local government, or federal entity; (6) a valid U.S. military identification card; (7) a valid tribal identification card; or (8) a valid NC voter identification card issued under proposed GS 163-166.13. Makes conforming and clarifying changes.
    Enacts new GS 163-166.13 to require each county board of elections to accept applications for and issue NC voter identification cards to registered NC voters that are valid only for voter identification purposes. Prohibits the board of election from charging or collecting any fee associated with the voter identification card. Clarifies that only persons without a valid unexpired driver’s license or special identification card for nonoperators are eligible for a NC voter identification card. Requires the card to be captioned “NORTH CAROLINA VOTER IDENTIFICATION CARD” and to contain a prominent statement that the card is valid only as identification for voting purposes. Requires that the card be laminated, contain a digital color photograph of the applicant, and include the applicant’s full legal name, address of residence, birth date, date of card issuance, sex, height, weight, eye color, county where card was issued, and any other information required by the State Board of Elections (SBE). Requires the application for a NC voter identification card to elicit the information for inclusion on the card, and directs the applicant to sign. Directs the county board of election to verify the following before issuing a voter identification card: (1) a photo identity document or a nonphoto identity document if it includes the person’s name; (2) evidence that the person is registered to vote in NC; and (3) documentation of the person’s name and residence address. Sets forth additional guidelines for valid voter identification cards, including duties for voters who move. Authorizes the SBE to adopt policies to administer the statute as necessary.
    Amends GS 163-82.6A(b) to require a voter present valid photo identification, as defined, in order to register in person and then vote at one-stop voting sites. States that the photo identification requirement is separate from the requirement to provide proof of residence during in-person registration. Specifies that a person may vote a provisional ballot if the person fails to present the required identification. Makes a conforming change.
    Makes additional conforming changes to GS 163-166.7(a) (requiring a person to state current name and address and to present valid photo identification upon entering the voting site) and 163-227.2(b) (requiring a person to state current name and address and to present valid photo identification upon entering an early voting site).
    Enacts new GS 163-182.1A to allow a voter who cast a provisional ballot as a result of the voter’s inability or refusal to provide proof of identification to personally appear at the county board of elections office before the conclusion of the election canvass in that county in order to request the provisional ballot be counted. Specifies that unless the vote is disqualified for some other reason provided by law, the county board of elections will count the provisional ballot if the voter both: (1) provides valid photo identification and (2) executes an affidavit affirming, under penalty of perjury, that the individual personally appeared to vote and cast the provisional ballot on that date. Allows a voter with a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed to submit an affidavit affirming such. Directs the board to note on the provisional ballot envelope that the voter has provided valid photo identification and to determine any other reason for the cast provisional ballot before ruling on the ballot’s validity, in a situation where the county board of election determines that a voter cast a provisional ballot for a cause other than the voter’s inability or declination to provide photo identification.
    Amends GS 163-87 to also allow any registered voter of the precinct to challenge a voter who does not present proof of identification. Adds that an observer appointed under GS 163-45 may also enter challenges against voters in the precinct regardless of the observer’s place of residence.
    Provides that the above provisions of the act, requiring and relating to the new photo identification requirement, become effective in counties not subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (requiring preclearance of election law changes in some counties) beginning with the 2012 statewide primary, and become effective in any county covered by Section 5 beginning with the later of the 2012 statewide primary or the date the act is precleared or approved.
    Amends GS 20-37.7(d) to clarify that the special identification card issued under the statute by the Division of Motor Vehicles does not include a fee if the state resident is eligible to vote in NC but does not have valid photo identification. Makes technical changes. Effective July 1, 2011.
    Provides for public education about the photo identification requirement by counties and the SBE, as indicated. Appropriates $600,000 from the General Fund for 2011-12 to a special reserve to fund the public education campaign and the issuance of NC voter identification cards, allocated as follows: (1) $100,000 to the SBE; (2) $100,000 in an equal share to each county board of elections; (3) $200,000 to county boards of election in proportion to the number of the county’s registered voters; and (4) $200,000 to county boards of election in counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in proportion to the number of the county’s registered voters. States that funds under Title I and Title II of the Help America Vote Act and unexpended funds in the NC Voter-Owned Elections Fund may fund the public education campaign and the issuance of NC voter identification cards. Also states that funds under the Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities provisions of the Help America Vote Act may fund the public education campaign and the issuance of NC voter identification cards to eligible persons. Provides that funds from the surcharge on attorney membership fees may fund the judicial elections component of the public education campaign. Effective July 1, 2011.
    Candidate and Treasurer Duty and Liability. Enacts new GS 163-278.11A (duty of candidate) and 163-278.11B (duty of treasurer) to require a candidate or treasurer to take immediate action to correct the violation, upon actual notice of a violation under Article 22A of GS Chapter 163 (regulating political campaign contributions and expenditures) which may result in a criminal or civil penalty to a candidate or candidate campaign committee. Enacts new subsection (d1) to GS 163-278.34 to state that a candidate will be jointly and severally liable for a civil penalty assessed by the SBE against a candidate campaign committee if the candidate had actual notice of the violation at the time the violation occurred and failed to correct the violation. Applies to civil penalties assessed for any violation occurring on or after January 1, 2012.
    State Board of Elections Chair Term Limit. Amends GS 163-19 to provide that the term of office for the SBE chair is two years, beginning on May 1 of each odd-numbered year. Requires a new chair to be elected to serve the remainder of an unexpired term, in the case of vacancy. Prohibits any person from being elected as chair for more than two terms. Cumulative service as chair for more than two years prior to May 1, 2009, is considered one term. Directs the SBE to elect a new chair for a two-year term beginning May 1, 2011.
    Prohibit Piece-Work Payment for Voter Registration. Enacts new GS 163-82.25A to prohibit any person who employs or contracts with another to register voters or assist voters with registration forms from paying that person per voter registration application completed. Prohibits a person from accepting such payment. Makes a violation a Class 2 misdemeanor. Makes a conforming change to GS 163-274. Applies to voter registration applications completed on or after January 1, 2012.
    No Pay-to-Play. Enacts new GS 163-278.13D, prohibiting any entity affiliated with a vendor that has a contract in excess of $25,000 with any principal office or department listed under GS 143A-11 and subject to Article 3 of GS Chapter 143 (contract requirements) from making a contribution to a relevant political campaign during the contract’s term. Also prohibits any campaign from knowingly accepting a contribution during the contract. Provides that the prohibition does not apply if contributions by all entities affiliated with the vendor to the relevant political campaign during the contract’s term do not exceed $1,000. Defines contribution, entity affiliated with a vendor, office with authority to award contract, and relevant political campaign for purposes of the statute. Authorizes the SBE to adopt reporting procedures necessary to enforce the law. Makes a violation a Class 2 misdemeanor. Applies to contributions made on or after January 1, 2012.
    Absentee Ballots. Amends GS 163-230.2, stating that a written request for an absentee ballot is valid only if it is signed by the requester and deleting all other conditions placed on an absentee ballot request. Effective with respect to primaries and elections conducted on or after January 1, 2012.


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