163-123. Declaration of intent and petitions for write-in candidates in partisan elections.

(a) Procedure for Qualifying as a Write-In Candidate. - Any qualified voter who seeks to have write-in votes for him counted in a general election shall file a declaration of intent in accordance with subsection (b) of this section and petition(s) in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(b) Declaration of Intent. - The applicant for write-in candidacy shall file his declaration of intent at the same time and with the same board of elections as his petition, as set out in subsection (c) of this section. The declaration shall contain:

(1) Applicant's name,

(2) Applicant's residential address,

(3) Declaration of applicant's intent to be a write-in candidate,

(4) Title of the office sought,

(5) Date of the election,

(6) Date of the declaration,

(7) Applicant's signature.

(c) Petitions for Write-in Candidacy. - An applicant for write-in candidacy shall:

(1) If the office is a statewide office, file written petitions with the State Board of Elections supporting his candidacy for a specified office. These petitions shall be filed on or before noon on the 90th day before the general election. They shall be signed by 500 qualified voters of the State. No later than 5:00 p.m. on the fifteenth day preceding the date the petitions are due to be filed with the State Board of Elections, each petition shall be presented to the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained. A petition presented to a county board of elections shall contain only names of voters registered in that county. Provided the petitions are timely submitted, the chairman of the county board of elections shall examine the names on the petition and place a check mark by the name of each signer who is qualified and registered to vote in his county. The chairman of the county board shall attach to the petition his signed certificate. On his certificate the chairman shall state that the signatures on the petition have been checked against the registration records and shall indicate the number of signers who are qualified and registered to vote in his county and eligible to vote for that office. The chairman shall return each petition, together with the certificate required in this section, to the person who presented it to him for checking. The chairman of the county board shall complete the verification within two weeks from the date the petition is presented.

(2) If the office is a district office under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Elections under G.S. 163-182.4(b), file written petitions with the State Board of Elections supporting that applicant's candidacy for a specified office. These petitions must be filed with the State Board of Elections on or before noon on the 90th day before the general election and must be signed by 250 qualified voters. Before being filed with the State Board of Elections, each petition shall be presented to the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained. A petition presented to a county board of elections shall contain only names of voters registered in that county who are eligible to vote for that office. The chairman of the county board shall examine the names on the petition and the procedure for certification shall be the same as specified in subdivision (1).

(3) If the office is a county office, or is a school administrative unit office elected on a partisan basis, or is a legislative district consisting of a single county or a portion of a county, file written petitions with the county board of elections supporting his candidacy for a specified office. A petition presented to a county board of elections shall contain only names of voters registered in that county. These petitions must be filed on or before noon on the 90th day before the general election and must be signed by 100 qualified voters who are eligible to vote for the office, unless fewer than 5,000 persons are eligible to vote for the office as shown by the most recent records of the appropriate board of elections. If fewer than 5,000 persons are eligible to vote for the office, an applicant's petition must be signed by not less than one percent (1%) of those registered voters. Before being filed with the county board of elections, each petition shall be presented to the county board of elections for examination. The chairman of the county board of elections shall examine the names on the petition and the procedure for certification shall be the same as specified in subdivision (1).

(d) Form of Petition. - Petitions requesting the qualification of a write-in candidate in a general election shall contain on the heading of each page of the petition in bold print or in capital letters the words: "THE UNDERSIGNED REGISTERED VOTERS IN __________ COUNTY HEREBY PETITION ON BEHALF OF ______________ AS A WRITE-IN CANDIDATE IN THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION. THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY PETITION THAT SUBJECT CANDIDATE BE PLACED ON THE LIST OF QUALIFIED WRITE-IN CANDIDATES WHOSE VOTES ARE TO BE COUNTED AND RECORDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH G.S. 163-123."

(e) Defeated Primary Candidate. - No person whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election preliminary to the general election shall be eligible to have votes counted for him as a write-in candidate for the same office in that year.

(f) Counting and Recording of Votes. - If a qualified voter has complied with the provisions of subsections (a), (b), and (c) and is not excluded by subsection (e), the board of elections with which petition has been filed shall count votes for him according to the procedures set out in G.S. 163-182.1, and the appropriate board of elections shall record those votes on the official abstract. Write-in votes for names other than those of qualified write-in candidates shall not be counted for any purpose and shall not be recorded on the abstract.

(f1) When any person files a petition with a board of elections under this section, the board of elections shall, immediately upon receipt of the petition, inspect the registration records of the county and cancel the petition of any person who does not meet the constitutional or statutory qualifications for the office, including residency.

The board shall give notice of cancellation to any person whose petition has been cancelled under this subsection by mail or by having the notice served on that person by the sheriff. A person whose petition has been cancelled or another candidate for the same office affected by a substantiation under this subsection may request a hearing on the issue of constitutional or statutory qualifications for the office. If the person requests a hearing, the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Article 11B of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

(g) Municipal and Nonpartisan Elections Excluded. - This section does not apply to municipal elections conducted under Subchapter IX of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes, and does not apply to nonpartisan elections except for elections under Article 25 of this Chapter. (1987, c. 393, ss. 1; 2; 1989, c. 92, s. 1; 1999-424, s. 5(c); 2001-319, s. 9(a); 2001-398, s. 7; 2001-403, s. 12; 2002-158, s. 13; 2004-127, s. 7; 2006-155, s. 4; 2007-391, s. 8(b); 2008-187, s. 33(a).)