GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2005

H                                                                                                                                                    2

HOUSE BILL 88

Committee Substitute Favorable 3/28/05

 

 

 

Short Title:     Electoral Fairness Act.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

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; to move to a date before the political party primaries the deadlines for filing new political party petitions and nominating new political party candidates; to extend filing fee provisions to new party and unaffiliated candidates; and to provide that a candidate who ran in a party primary for an office is not eligible for nomination by another party to fill a vacancy in its nomination for the same office in the same year.

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.ballots upon paying a filing fee equal to one percent (1%) of the office sought.

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 appropriate ballot."

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.  G.S. 163-122 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(d)      Any candidate seeking to have his name printed on the general election ballot under this section shall pay a filing fee equal to one percent (1%) of the annual salary of the office sought."

SECTION 6.  G.S. 163-114 reads as rewritten:

" 163-114.  Filling vacancies among party nominees occurring after nomination and before election.

If any person nominated as a candidate of a political party for one of the offices listed below (either in a primary or convention or by virtue of having no opposition in a primary) dies, resigns, or for any reason becomes ineligible or disqualified before the date of the ensuing general election, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment according to the following instructions:

 

Position

President                                                        Vacancy is to be filled by appointment of

Vice President                                                     national executive committee of

                                                                              political party in which vacancy occurs

 

Presidential elector or alternate elector    Vacancy is to be filled by appointment of

Any elective State office                                    State executive committee of political

United States Senator                                          party in which vacancy occurs

 

A district office, including:                         Appropriate district executive committee of

     Member of the United States House            political party in which vacancy occurs

          of Representatives

     District Attorney

     State Senator in a multi-county

          senatorial district

     Member of State House of

          Representatives in a multi-county

          representative district

 

State Senator in a single-county                  County executive committee of political

     senatorial district                                           party in which vacancy occurs,

Member of State House of                                 provided, in the case of the State

     Representatives in a single-county               Senator or State Representative in a

     representative district                                    single-county district where not all the

Any elective county office                                 county is located in that district, then in

                                                                              voting, only those members of the

                                                                              county executive committee who reside

                                                                              within the district shall vote

 

The party executive making a nomination in accordance with the provisions of this section shall certify the name of its nominee to the chairman of the board of elections, State or county, that has jurisdiction over the ballot item under G.S. 163-182.4. If at the time a nomination is made under this section the general election ballots have already been printed, the provisions of G.S.163-165.3(c) shall apply. If a vacancy occurs in a nomination of a political party and that vacancy arises from a cause other than death and the vacancy in nomination occurs more than 120 days before the general election, the vacancy in nomination may be filled under this section only if the appropriate executive committee certifies the name of the nominee in accordance with this paragraph at least 75 days before the general election.

In a county not all of which is located in one congressional district, in choosing the congressional district executive committee member or members from that area of the county, only the county convention delegates or county executive committee members who reside within the area of the county which is within the congressional district may vote.

In a county which is partly in a multi-county senatorial district or which is partly in a multi-county House of Representatives district, in choosing that county's member or members of the senatorial district executive committee or House of Representatives district executive committee for the multi-county district, only the county convention delegates or county executive committee members who reside within the area of the county which is within that multi-county district may vote.

An individual whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election preliminary to the general election shall not be eligible to be nominated to fill a vacancy in the nomination of another party for the same office in the same year."

SECTION 7.  This act becomes effective January 1, 2006, and applies to all primaries and elections held on or after that date.