AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAWS GOVERNING MAIL-IN ABSENTEE BALLOTS; TO RESTORE THE LAST SATURDAY OF EARLY ONE-STOP VOTING; TO EXTEND THE TIME BY WHICH COUNTY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS NEED TO REPLACE DIRECT RECORD ELECTRONIC VOTING EQUIPMENT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; TO AUTHORIZE A COUNTY TO TEST NEW VOTING EQUIPMENT DURING A SIMULATED ELECTION; AND TO MAKE APPROPRIATIONS FOR CURRENT OPERATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, CONSISTENT WITH HOUSE BILL 966 OF THE 2019 REGULAR SESSION.
Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.
Further amends GS 163A-1306 to require the State Board of Elections (State Board) or county board of elections to inform the voter of the status of that voter's request for mail-in absentee ballots upon inquiry by the voter or the voter's near relative or verifiable legal guardian.
Further amends GS 163A-1308 regarding issuance of absentee ballots to specify that the county board is to promptly issue and transmit applications and absentee ballots to the voter upon receipt of a request from the voter, or the near relative or the verifiable guardian of that voter.
Modifies the proposed changes to GS 163A-1309 regarding the method of requesting absentee ballots. No longer permits an option to request using a form generated by the county board. Adds that the completed request must be returned to the county board by the voter only, or the near relative or the verifiable legal guardian of that voter, so requesting the absentee ballot.
Enacts GS 163A-1317(d)(5), making it a Class F felony to commit, attempt to commit, or conspire to commit a crime identified in GS 163A-865(b) (certain misdemeanors involving acceptance of voter registration application forms), GS 163A-1298(a) (certain felonies regarding absentee voting), GS 163A-1388 (certain misdemeanors involving campaigns), GS 163A-1389 (certain felonies involving campaigns), or this statute, GS 163A-1317 (certain misdemeanors and felonies involving absentee ballots), with the intent to unlawfully influence or interfere with a primary or election, or to otherwise unlawfully gain. Makes technical correction to proposed GS 163A-1317(d1) to remove reference to an absentee request form (terminology eliminated by the act).
Changes the effective date of the proposed changes to GS 163A-1300 and GS 163A-1303, regarding one-stop voting, from January 1, 2020, to August 1, 2019.