GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE BILL 88
Short Title: Electoral Fairness Act.
Representatives Miller; Luebke, Rayfield, Stam, and Weiss.
Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform.
February 7, 2005
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT to reduce the number of signatures required of a new political party and of a statewide unaffiliated candidate to achieve ballot eligibility; to reduce the number of votes a new political party must gain for a nominee in order to maintain ballot eligibility; and to move to a date before the political party primaries the deadlines for filing new political party petitions and nominating new political party candidates.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 163-96(a) reads as rewritten:
"(a) Definition. - A political party within the meaning of the election laws of this State shall be either:
(1) Any group of voters
which, at the last preceding general State election, polled for its candidate
for Governor, or for presidential electors, at least
ten two percent
(10%) (2%) of the entire vote cast in the State for Governor or
for presidential electors; or
(2) Any group of voters
which shall have filed with the State Board of Elections petitions for the
formulation of a new political party which are signed by registered and
qualified voters in this State equal in number to
two one-half of one
percent (2%) (0.5%) of the total number of voters who voted
in the most recent general election for Governor. Also the petition must be signed
by at least 200 registered voters from each of four congressional districts in
North Carolina. To be effective, the petitioners must file their petitions with
the State Board of Elections before 12:00 noon on the first day of June April
preceding the day on which is to be held the first general State election
in which the new political party desires to participate. The State Board of
Elections shall forthwith determine the sufficiency of petitions filed with it
and shall immediately communicate its determination to the State chairman of
the proposed new political party."
SECTION 2. G.S. 163-97 reads as rewritten:
"§ 163-97. Termination of status as political party.
When any political party fails to poll for its candidate for governor,
or for presidential electors, at least
ten two percent (10%) (2%)
of the entire vote cast in the State for governor or for presidential
electors at a general election, it shall cease to be a political party within
the meaning of the primary and general election laws and all other provisions
of this Chapter."
SECTION 3. G.S. 163-98 reads as rewritten:
"§ 163-98. General election participation by new political party.
In the first general election following the date on which a new political party qualifies under the provisions of G.S. 163-96, it shall be entitled to have the names of its candidates for national, State, congressional, and local offices printed on the official ballots.
For the first general election following the date on which it
qualifies under G.S. 163-96, a new political party shall select its
candidates by party convention. Following adjournment of the nominating
convention, but not later than the first day of
July May prior to
the general election, the president of the convention shall certify to the
State Board of Elections the names of persons chosen in the convention as the
new party's candidates for State, congressional, and national offices in
the ensuing general election. The State Board of Elections shall print names
thus certified on the appropriate ballots as the nominees of the new party. The
State Board of Elections shall send to each county board of elections the list
of any new party candidates so that the county board can add those names to the
SECTION 4. G.S. 163-122(a)(1) reads as rewritten:
"(a) Procedure for Having Name Printed on Ballot as Unaffiliated Candidate. - Any qualified voter who seeks to have his name printed on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate 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 must be filed
with the State Board of Elections on or before 12:00 noon on the last Friday in
June preceding the general election and must be signed by qualified voters of
the State equal in number to
two percent (2%) one-half of one percent
(0.5%) of the total number of registered voters in the State as
reflected by the voter registration records of the State Board of Elections as
of January 1 of the year in which the general election is to be held.voters
who voted in the most recent general election for Governor. Also the petition
must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from each of four
congressional districts in North Carolina. 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 chairman of
the board of elections of the county in which the signatures were obtained.
Provided the petitions are timely submitted, the chairman shall examine the
names on the petition and place a check mark on the petition by the name of
each signer who is qualified and registered to vote in his county and shall
attach to the petition his signed certificate. Said certificates shall state
that the signatures on the petition have been checked against the registration
records and shall indicate the number of signers to be qualified and registered
to vote in his county. The chairman shall return each petition, together with
the certificate required in this section, to the person who presented it to him
for checking. Verification by the chairman of the county board of elections
shall be completed within two weeks from the date such petitions are presented.
SECTION 5. This act becomes effective January 1, 2006, and applies to all primaries and elections held on or after that date.