Bill Summary for H 259 (2021)

Summary date: 

Nov 17 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 2nd edition makes the following changes.

Changes the effective date and applicability of new GS 163-165.7(k), which requires the State Board of Elections to mandate that all voting systems used for elections be manufactured in the US by a company organized and doing business in the United States. Makes the new subsection effective January 1, 2022, applicable to the acquisition of new voting systems after that date, and now excludes the repair or maintenance of voting systems in use by a county on that date (was, effective on the date the act becomes law and applies to voting systems after that date).

Further amends GS 9-3, which provides for qualifications of prospective jurors, to make technical and clarifying changes; makes language gender neutral.

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 9-6, now authorizing the chief district court judge to designate (rather than 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. Further amends GS 9-6.1, regarding requests to be excused from jury duty, to make conforming changes and additional technical changes.

Amends proposed GS 9-6.2, which requires 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. Adds to the information the clerk must retain of such individuals, the individual's date of birth or age. Adds clarification that this requirement only applies to persons who request to be excused from jury duty on the basis of disqualification under GS 9-3. More specifically requires the clerk to quarterly electronically report to the State Board of Elections requests to be excused under GS 9-6 or GS 9-6.1 that have been granted due to lack of US citizenship (was, reporting of persons disqualified due to lack of US citizenship). Now states that the records received and retained by the State Board of Elections are public records, subject to the provisions of GS 163-82.10 and GS 163-82.10B (previously, public records, notwithstanding the requirements of GS 20-43.2(c), except as prohibited by federal statute). Further, now requires the State Board of Elections to retain the electronic records for at least four years (was, for four years). Eliminates the authority to destroy the records when they are no longer public records. 

Revises proposed subsection (c1) of GS 163-82.14 regarding list maintenance as follows. Directs the State Board of Elections, in its review and report of jury duty disqualifications based on US citizenship, to exclude a person's name from the report if determined that the individual is a US citizen (was, persons who since attained US citizenship). Now requires the State Board to furnish its investigation of a prospective juror who voted prior to becoming a US citizen to the relevant county board(s) of election, in addition to the district attorney for prosecution. Now states that the records received and retained are public records, subject to the provisions of GS 163-82.10 and GS 163-82.10B (previously, public records, notwithstanding the requirements of GS 20-43.2(c), except as prohibited by federal statute). Further, now requires the State Board of Elections (was, State Board and county boards) to retain the electronic records for at least four years (was, for four years). Eliminates the authority for the State Board of Elections to destroy the records when they are no longer public records. Makes technical and clarifying changes. 

Adds to the proposed changes to GS 163-182.12A, regarding post-election audits. Adds new provisions to require the State Board of Elections to adopt rules establishing post-election audit processes to be used by counties following each election, including means of testing, assessing, and reporting the accuracy of the votes cast and counted. Requires county boards to report as required by the rules adopted by the State Board of Elections. Additionally directs that the State Board of Elections conduct a post-election audit of one-third of the counties following each general and municipal election, with counties required to provide the State Board full access to all documents, records, voting systems, and other necessary materials. Bars counties from being selected for auditing in two consecutive elections, and requires that at least one county with a population of above 375,000 persons is included in each post-election audit by the State Board of Elections. Expands the six previously proposed criteria for general election post-election audit reports to also require the State Board of Elections to include the described criteria in municipal election post-election audit reports. Revises the criteria by: (1) removing the inclusion of a summary of the types of post-election audits required by law and the requirements for conducting each of the audits; and (2) including the manner in which the public participated in the conduct of the post-election audits, including comments or referrals and observations (was, the ways in which the public was allowed to observe and comment on the conduct of post-election audits as authorized by law). Makes the changes effective July 1, 2023 (was, effective on the date the act becomes law). 

Makes conforming changes to the act's long title. 

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