Bill Summary for S 755 (2017-2018)

Summary date: 

May 24 2018

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
Senate Bill 755 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 24, 2018
AN ACT REGARDING THE REQUIRED PROOF SUFFICIENT TO CHALLENGE A PERSON'S ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE.
Intro. by Clark, Woodard, Van Duyn.

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Bill summary

Includes several whereas clauses.

Amends GS 163A-911, setting out the procedure to challenge the right of any person to register, remain registered, or vote other than on the day of a primary, general, or special election, to establish that any registered voter of the precinct can challenge the voting rights of any person in the same precinct in accordance with the statute (currently, refers to the county instead of precinct).

Under current law, presenting a returned first-class letter from the address listed on a person's voter registration card is prima facie evidence that the voter no longer resides in the precinct. Establishes that evidence of a returned mailing, on its own and absent affirmative proof, is not sufficient to sustain the burden of proof required under GS 163A-918 in either a preliminary hearing under GS 163A-911(d) or a challenge hearing under GS 163A-912.

Prohibits sustaining a challenge on the basis of a change in residency except by (1) written confirmation of the registrant of a change that renders the registrant ineligible to vote in the county, (2) notification from another county or state that the registrant has registered to vote in that county or state, or (3) exhaustion of the notice provisions required by the National Voter Registration Act.

Amends GS 163A-912 (hearing on challenge), requiring the board of elections to mail written notice of the challenge to the challenged voter at least 20 days prior to the scheduled hearing, (was, 10 day's notice was required). Amends the standard under which a challenge is sustained. If the challenged registrant refuses to take the oath, or submit an affidavit as required by subsection (d), the challenge will be sustained only if the board determines from the evidence at the hearing that the challenged registrant received actual notice of the challenge and the hearing. If there is no such determination, the board will review the registration of the voter for inclusion in the list maintenance processes under GS 163A-877. Previously, the law did not require any showing that the challenged registrant received notice. Includes clarifying change.

Amends GS 163-918 (burden of proof for challenges), removing option to challenge if the challenger merely suspects that a person may not be qualified to vote. The challenger must know or reasonably believe the person is not qualified to vote. Adds requirement that the challenger must demonstrate to the board of elections the basis upon which the challenger knows or reasonably believes the person is not qualified and not entitled to vote. The evidence allowed under GS 163A-911(e) (that the voter did not respond to mailing to address listed on registration card) is not sufficient, on its own, to constitute the demonstrated knowledge and belief of a person's qualifications to vote as required by this subsection. Adds subsection (c), forbidding the release of the name of an individual whose right to vote is being challenged until the challenger demonstrates to the board of elections the burden of proof required to establish the likelihood the challenge will be sustained. Until the burden of proof is met, the person's name is not public record. 

Applies to elections held on or after the date the act becomes law. 

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