Bill Summary for S 667 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Jun 30 2016

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 667 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 26, 2015
AN ACT TO CREATE CONSISTENCY IN THE TIME PROVIDED TO COMPLETE ELECTION CANVASSES; TO REQUIRE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DEFEND LOCAL ACTS AGAINST FACIAL CHALLENGES; TO PROVIDE FOR BALLOT ORDERING OF CANDIDATES FOR JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS; TO REQUIRE EXPLANATORY CAPTIONS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON BALLOTS; TO AUTHORIZE THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO STUDY MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS; TO UPDATE THE FILING PERIOD FOR ELECTIONS IN THE CITY OF REIDSVILLE; AND TO PROVIDE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE CENSUS REDISTRICTING DATA PROGRAM AND FOR RETURN OF ELECTION DATA.
Intro. by Apodaca.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Changes the long title to AN ACT TO CREATE CONSISTENCY IN THE TIME PROVIDED TO COMPLETE ELECTION CANVASSES; TO REQUIRE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DEFEND LOCAL ACTS AGAINST FACIAL CHALLENGES; TO PROVIDE FOR BALLOT ORDERING OF CANDIDATES FOR JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS; TO REQUIRE EXPLANATORY CAPTIONS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON BALLOTS; TO AUTHORIZE THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO STUDY MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS; TO UPDATE THE FILING PERIOD FOR ELECTIONS IN THE CITY OF REIDSVILLE; AND TO PROVIDE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE CENSUS REDISTRICTING DATA PROGRAM AND FOR RETURN OF ELECTION DATA. Changes the short title.

Deletes all provisions of the previous edition and now provides the following.

Section 1

Amends GS 163-182.5(b), concerning the cavassing of votes by the county board of elections, to require the county board of elections to meet on the tenth day after every election to complete the canvass of votes cast and to authenticate the count in every ballot item in the county (previously, provided different days for the board to complete election canvasses depending on whether the elections were held at the same time as the general election in November of even-numbered years).

Section 2

Current GS 114-2.3(a) requires every State agency, institution, department, bureau, board, or commission authorized by law to retain private counsel to obtain written permission from the Attorney General (AG) prior to employing private counsel. Adds new subsection (c) to require AG to represent the State in any action requiring the State to be a party under new GS 1-72.3. New GS 1-72.3 requires the State to be a party whenever the validity or constitutionality of a local act of the General Assembly is the subject of an action in any court, and except as provided in GS 147-17 (requiring approval of the Governor, at the advisement of the AG, for employment of counsel in cases wherein the State is interested), to be represented by the AG. Provides that the statute does not affect any authority under GS 1-72.2 (standing of legislative offices) or GS 120-32.6 (employment authority of the General Assembly). 

Effective August 1, 2016, and applies to actions filed on or after that date.

Section 3

Amends GS 163-165.6, concerning the arrangement of official ballots in all elections in the State, by adding a new subsection (d1) to set out the order in which candidates for judge of the Court of Appeals on a general election official ballot are to appear, as follows. First, candidates registered with political parties that reflect at least 5% of statewide voter registration in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party whose nominee for Governor received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial election, and in alphabetical order within the party. Second, candidates registered with other political parties, in alphabetical order by party and in alphabetical order within a party. Third, all unaffiliated candidates, in alphabetical order.

Section 4

Amends GS 163-165.6(g), which sets out the order of precedence for referenda on the official ballot, to provide that in addition to chronologically listing proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution in the order in which the proposals were approved by the General Assembly, the proposed amendments are to be designated by only the short caption provided by the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission under Article 4A of GS Chapter 147 (which requires the Commission to prepare a summary of every proposed amendment to the Constitution within a certain period before an election in which a proposed amendment to the Constitution, or a revised or new Constitution, is to be voted on).

Amends GS 147-54.10, which sets out the powers of the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission, to require the Commission to prepare an explanation of the amendment, revision, or new Constitution in simple and commonly used language at least 75 days (previously, 60 days) before an election in which a proposed amendment to the Constitution, or a revised or new Constitution, is to be voted on. Adds that the explanation is to include a short caption reflecting the contents to be used on the ballot and the printed summary. Prohibits the short caption from including a numerical or other reference of order. Makes the language gender neutral. Moves existing language, as amended, into two subsections.

Section 5

Sets out that it is the intent of the General Assembly to provide for even-numbered year municipal elections, effective with the 2020 election cycle. Directs the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee to study the options to implement the change and recommend to the General Assembly any legislation it deems advisable, with the final report to be made before the convening of the 2017 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Section 6

Amends Section 3.5 of the Charter of Reidsville in SL 1989-957, as amended, to require the period for filing notices of candidacy for all city election years as provided for in the General Statutes (previously, the period is to begin at noon on the first Friday in August and end at noon on the third Friday in August preceding the election).

Section 7

Enacts GS 163-132.1C, Participation in the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program (Program) of the United States Bureau (Bureau), to require the State to participate in the Program, conducted pursuant to PL 94-171, so that the State can receive 2020 Census data by voting districts. Directs the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections (Executive Director) to report to the Bureau the State's voting precincts as of January 1, 2018, after consultation with the Legislative Services Office, to be used in the 2020 Census as voting districts. Requires the Executive Director to timely submit the report to comply with the deadlines of the Bureau for the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program. Requires the Executive Director, with the assistance of the county boards of elections, to participate in the Bureau's verification program and notify the Bureau of any errors in the entry of the voting districts in time for those errors to be corrected. Requires the Executive Director and the Legislative Services Officer to develop a systematic method for review and input by the Legislative Services Officer prior to the submission required by the statute. Repeals GS 163-132.1B, which set out provisions for participation in the 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program of the United States Bureau of the Census.

Directs the State Board of Elections (SBE) to develop a proposed voting district map on or before September 1, 2016, to be submitted to the Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee and the Legislative Services Office on or before December 1, 2016. Sets out three factors to be considered in the development of the proposed map. 

Directs the county boards of election to report any requested changes to precinct boundaries to be used in elections held on or after January 1, 2018, on or before November 1, 2017. Directs the SBE to develop criteria for the county boards of election to use in developing proposed boundary changes, notify the county boards of the requirement to submit proposed changes, and facilitate the county boards in developing proposed boundary changes. Requires the SBE to consult with the Legislative Services Office about the proposed changes to precinct boundaries in a timely and systemic manner in order to accommodate submitting a statewide map of updated precinct boundaries to the Bureau of the Census for the Phase 2 Voting District Project. Directs the Executive Director of the SBE and the Legislative Services Office, after receipt of the voting districts geography from the Bureau of Census for the 2020 Census, to determine if any alteration to the precinct boundaries are needed in order to comply with GS 163-132.3(a1)(1), as enacted by the act.

Section 8

Amends GS 163-132.3(a), concerning alterations of approved precinct boundaries, to provide that no county board of elections may change any precinct boundary unless approved by the Executive Director of the SBE (previously, unless the Executive Director determines that the county board has a current capability of complying with GS 163-132.1B(a2) by reporting all election returns by voting tabulation district as required by GS 163-132.5G). Deletes provisions of subsection (a) that allow the county board to make any changes to precinct boundaries, if the Executive Director so determines, provided that all proposed new precincts consist solely of contiguous territory, and requiring the county boards to report precinct boundary changes to the Executive Director in the manner the Executive Director directs. Moves and amends the remaining existing language of subsection (a) to new subsections (a1) and (a2). Directs the SBE to set uniform standards for precinct boundaries that the county boards of elections must follow. Requires any uniform boundaries set by the SBE to comply with four specifications. Makes clarifying change to subsection (b) that approval of proposed new or altered precinct maps and written descriptions are the official precincts for voting (previously, the official precincts). Makes conforming and technical changes to subsection (c), and makes language gender neutral. Effective January 1, 2020, and applies to all alterations of precinct boundaries on or after that date.

Section 9

Changes the title of GS 163-132.5G to Voting data maintained by precinct (previously, by voting tabulation district), moves existing language into new subsections (a) through (c), and amends as follows. Requires each county board of elections to maintain voting data by voting precinct so that precinct returns for each item on the ballot include the votes cast by all residents of that voting precinct who voted, regardless of where the voter voted (previously, required each county board to maintain voting data by voting tabulation district as provided in GS 163-132.1B so that voting tabulation district returns for each item on the ballot include the votes cast by all residents of the voting tabulation district who voted, regardless of where they voted). Makes conforming changes to replace "voter tabulation district" with "precinct." Establishes that the county board cannot be required to report returns by voting precinct for voters who voted other than at the voting precinct associated with that voter's voter registration until 30 days after the election (previously, for voters who voted other than at their precinct voting place on election days until 60 days after the election). Makes conforming changes to subsection (b).

Amends GS 163-165.7(a) (both the version effective until January 1, 2018, or September 1, 2019, and the version effective January 1, 2018, or September 1, 2019), which specifies elements that must be included in the certification requirements for voting systems, to require that the voting system must have the capacity to include in voting district returns the votes cast by voters outside of the precinct associated with that voter's voter registration (previously, to include in voting tabulation district returns the votes cast by voters outside of the voter's voting tabulation district as required by GS 163-132.5G).

Directs the SBE to report for each voter registration the current voting precinct and the 2010 Census Bureau voting tabulation district until January 1, 2020.

Effective September 1, 2016, and applies to elections conducted on or after that date and contracts awarded on or after that date.

Section 10 

Except as otherwise provided, the act is effective when it becomes law, and applies to elections held on or after that date.

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