163-329. Elections to fill vacancy in office created after primary filing period opens.

(a) General. - If a vacancy is created in the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of superior court after the filing period for the primary opens but more than 60 days before the general election, and under the Constitution of North Carolina an election is to be held for that position, such that the office shall be filled in the general election as provided in G.S. 163-9, the election to fill the office for the remainder of the term shall be conducted without a primary using the method provided in subsection (b1) of this section. If a vacancy is created in the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of superior court before the filing period for the primary opens, and under the Constitution of North Carolina an election is to be held for that position, such that the office shall be filled in the general election as provided in G.S. 163-9, the election to fill the office for the remainder of the term shall be conducted in accordance with G.S. 163-322.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2006-192, s. 8(a), effective August 3, 2006, and applicable to vacancies occurring on or after that date.

(b1) Method for Vacancy Election. - If a vacancy for the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or judge of the superior court occurs more than 60 days before the general election and after the opening of the filing period for the primary, then the State Board of Elections shall designate a special filing period of one week for candidates for the office. If more than two candidates file and qualify for the office in accordance with G.S. 163-323, then the Board shall conduct the election for the office as follows:

(1) When the vacancy described in this section occurs more than 63 days before the date of the second primary for members of the General Assembly, a special primary shall be held on the same day as the second primary. The two candidates with the most votes in the special primary shall have their names placed on the ballot for the general election held on the same day as the general election for members of the General Assembly.

(2) When the vacancy described in this section occurs less than 64 days before the date of the second primary, a general election for all the candidates shall be held on the same day as the general election for members of the General Assembly and the results shall be determined on a plurality basis as provided by G.S. 163-292.

(3) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-381, s. 51.1, effective January 1, 2014.

(c) Applicable Provisions. - Except as provided in this section, the provisions of this Article apply to elections conducted under this section.

(d) Rules. - The State Board of Elections shall adopt rules for the implementation of this section. The rules are not subject to Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. The rules shall include the following:

(1) If after the first-choice candidate is eliminated, a ballot does not indicate one of the uneliminated candidates as an alternative choice, the ballot is exhausted and shall not be counted after the initial round.

(2) The fact that the voter does not designate a second or third choice does not invalidate the voter's higher choice or choices.

(3) The fact that the voter gives more than one ranking to the same candidate shall not invalidate the vote. The highest ranking given a particular candidate shall count as long as the candidate is not eliminated.

(4) In case of a tie between candidates such that two or more candidates have an equal number of first choices and more than two candidates qualify for the second round, instant runoff voting shall be used to determine which two candidates shall advance to the second round. (1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 9, s. 7; 2001-403, s. 12.1; 2002-158, s. 7; 2006-192, s. 8(a); 2013-381, s. 51.1.)