Bill Summary for H 259 (2021)

Summary date: 

Oct 6 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 259 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 10, 2021
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THAT ALL VOTING SYSTEMS USED FOR ELECTIONS IN THIS STATE BE MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, TO CODIFY THE COMMON LAW REQUIREMENT OF UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP TO QUALIFY AS A JUROR, TO ALLOW A CLERK OF COURT TO HEAR JURY EXCUSES IF SO DESIGNATED BY THE CHIEF DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, TO REQUIRE THAT THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF PERSONS REQUESTING TO BE EXCUSED FROM JURY DUTY BASED ON DISQUALIFICATION BE SHARED WITH THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IF THE DISQUALIFICATION IS DUE TO UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP, AND TO PROVIDE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS FOLLOWING A POST-ELECTION AUDIT FOR A GENERAL ELECTION.
Intro. by Kidwell, K. Hall, McNeely, Cleveland.

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Bill summary

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

Modifies proposed GS 163-165.7(k) to require the State Board of Elections (State Board) to mandate that all voting systems, including software, used for elections be manufactured in the US by a company organized and doing business in the United States (previously, required the voting systems and software be manufactured in the United States by US-owned companies). Makes technical changes.

Sections 2 through 7 add the following new content.

Amends GS 9-3, adding United States citizenship to the qualifications of prospective jurors.

Adds to GS 9-6 to require all applications for excuses from jury duty to be made on a form developed and furnished by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), with applications to allow specification for the reason(s) for excusal based on disqualification, including noncitizenship status. Authorizes the chief district court judge to delegate the authority to receive, hear, and pass on applications for excuses from jury duty to the clerk of superior court, after consultation with and the consent of the clerk. Makes clarifying changes and makes language gender-neutral. 

Makes clarifying and conforming changes to GS 9-6.1 regarding requests to be excused from jury duty.

Enacts GS 9-6.2 to require the clerk of superior court to retain the name and address provided by each person who requests to be excused from jury duty on the basis of disqualification, along with the reason for that request, for the remainder of the biennium as described in GS 9-2. Provides that the records are not public record and authorizes their destruction at the end of each biennium. Requires the clerk to quarterly electronically report to the State Board of Elections persons disqualified due to lack of US citizenship with personal information from the master jury list and the date of disqualification. Directs the State Board of Elections to use the information to conduct efforts to remove names from lists of registered voters pursuant to GS 163-82.14. Deems records retained by the State Board of Elections public records, subject to state and federal law. Requires the State Board of Elections to retain the electronic records for four years, and authorizes destruction when they are no longer public records. Specifies that the statute has no effect on State and local authorities to determine a person's eligibility to vote. Makes conforming changes to the clerk's recordkeeping duties regarding excusals under GS 9-6.

Adds a new subsection to GS 163-82.14 regarding list maintenance. Directs the State Board of Elections to review the voter registration and citizenship status of each person identified in a clerk's quarterly report of jury duty disqualifications based on US citizenship and distribute to each county board of elections a report of the persons identified who are registered to vote in that county, including the clerk's electronic file and the results of the Board's review. Excludes persons who since attained US citizenship, unless the individual voted prior to attaining citizenship, whereby the State Board is required to furnish its investigation to the district attorney for prosecution. Requires county boards of elections to, within 30 days' receipt of a report, give 30 days' written notice to the voter at the voter's registration address or mailing address and remove the individual's name from its registration records if the voter makes no objection; requires indication of the removal based on noncitizenship status in the statewide computerized voting registration system. Requires entering a challenge and holding a hearing on the matter if an objection is received within 30 days of the notice, with the report constituting prima facie evidence of noncitizenship, rebuttable by proof of citizenship following excusal. Deems county records public records, subject to state and federal law. Requires the State Board of Elections and county boards of elections to retain the electronic records for four years and authorizes destruction when they are no longer public records. Makes clarifying and organizational changes to the statute. 

Directs the AOC to amend the Rules of Recordkeeping to implement the act. Specifies that the act does not exempt AOC records from public records laws, except as provided in GS 9-6.2, as enacted.

Makes the above provisions effective January 1, 2022.

Section 8 adds the following new content.

Amends GS 163-182.12A, which requires the State Board to produce and submit a report summarizing the State Board's post-election audits to specified NCGA committees. Establishes distinct requirements for general election post-election audits, now requiring post-election audits for general elections to include: (1) a summary of the types of post-election audits required by law and the requirements for conducting each of the audits; (2) a summary of the results of each of the described post-election audits; (3) a detailed description of each of the described post-election audits, including any issues that could have affected the outcome of the election and the manner in which those issues were resolved; (4) a description of any systemic issues that were identified during the post-election audits and any recommendations on the manner in which those issues should be addressed to ensure election security and integrity; (5) the ways in which the public was allowed to observe and comment on the conduct of the post-election audits, as authorized by law; and (6) any other matters deemed appropriate by the State Board. Makes conforming and technical changes. Applies to elections held on or after the date the act becomes law.

Makes conforming changes to the act's titles. 

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