GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2005

S                                                                                                                                                     3

SENATE BILL 523

Judiciary I Committee Substitute Adopted 5/31/05

 House Committee Substitute Favorable 8/23/05

 

 

 

Short Title:     Judicial Appointment/Voter Confirmation/CJ.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

March 15, 2005

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT TO AMEND THE NORTH CAROLINA constitution TO PROVIDE FOR GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENT OF APPELLATE JUSTICES AND JUDGES AND CONFIRMATION BY VOTE OF THE PEOPLE, to provide for the selection of the chief justice of the supreme court from among the justices, to make statutory conforming changes to implement the constitutional amendments, and to allow all justices and judges in the general court of justice who reach the age limit for service to continue in office until the end of the calendar year.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  Section 16 of Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution reads as rewritten:

"Sec. 16. Terms of office and election of Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, and Judges of the Superior Court. Selection and tenure of Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals; election of Judges of the Superior Court.

Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, and regular

(1)       Judges of the Superior Court shall be elected by the qualified voters and shall hold office for terms of eight years and until their successors are elected and qualified. Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State. Regular Judges of the Superior Court may shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State or by the voters of their respective districts, as the General Assembly may prescribe. districts.

(2)       Appointment, confirmation election, and terms of Justices and Judges. On and after January 1, 2006, when a vacancy occurs in the office of Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division or upon the expiration of a term when the incumbent was not confirmed by the voters or when the incumbent did not stand for confirmation by the voters, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill the office. Creation of a new judgeship within the Appellate Division creates a vacancy.

The term of office by appointment as Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division extends through the last day of February after the next general election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 24 months after the appointment. At that election, a person holding by appointment the office of Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division who desires to continue in office shall be subject to confirmation by ballot, by a majority of the votes cast on the issue of whether the Justice or Judge should be confirmed and remain in office. A Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division confirmed by the voters serves a regular term beginning March 1 after the election.

The regular term of office of the Justices and Judges of the Appellate Division is eight years and expires on the last day of February.

A Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division who desires to continue in office after the conclusion of an eight-year term shall be subject to confirmation by ballot by a majority of the votes cast on the issue of the Justice's or Judge's confirmation during the general election next preceding the last day of February of the year that the Justice's or Judge's eight-year term would expire.

If the voters fail to confirm a Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division serving an appointed or regular term, the office shall become vacant at the end of the term of office, and it shall be filled by appointment as prescribed in this section. Any person whom the voters fail to confirm does not hold over at the expiration of the term and is not eligible to serve as a Justice or Judge of the Appellate Division during the succeeding eight years after the expiration of the term.

Voting in a confirmation election on Justices and Judges of the Appellate Division shall be the qualified voters of the whole State.

(3)       Transition provisions. The term of office of a person who has been elected before January 1, 2006, to the office of Chief Justice, Associate Justice, or Judge of the Appellate Division for a term which extends beyond January 1, 2006, and who is in office on January 1, 2006, is extended through the last day of February of the year following the eighth year after the date any such Justice or Judge was last elected to the office. If the person so elected continues to serve for the remainder of the term, that person may stand for confirmation in the office for a succeeding regular term as provided in this section, subject to the provisions of general law. If the person continues to serve for the remainder of the term but does not stand for confirmation, a vacancy is created in the office upon expiration of the term, and this vacancy shall be filled by appointment as provided in this section.

The term of office of a person who has been appointed before January 1, 2006, to the office of Chief Justice, Associate Justice, or Judge of the Appellate Division for a term which extends beyond January 1, 2006, and who is in office on January 1, 2006, shall end on February 28, 2007. If the person so appointed continues to serve for the remainder of the term, that person may stand for confirmation to the office for a regular term as provided by this section at the general election for members of the General Assembly held in 2006.

Upon the death, resignation, removal, or retirement of any incumbent Justice or Judge in the Appellate Division on or after January 1, 2006, and before the expiration of the Justice's or Judge's term of office, the resulting vacancy shall be filled by appointment as provided in this section.

Vacancies in judicial offices in the Appellate Division occurring before January 1, 2006, and not filled by that date, shall be filled by appointment as provided in this section.

(4)       The General Assembly may implement this section by general law."

SECTION 2.  Section 6(1) of Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution reads as rewritten:

"(1)      Membership. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices, seven Justices, one of whom shall be designated as Chief Justice, but the General Assembly may increase the number of Associate Justices to not more than eight. nine. In the event the Chief Justice is unable, on account of absence or temporary incapacity, to perform any of the duties placed upon him, the senior Associate Justice available may discharge those duties. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the designation of a Chief Justice from among the Justices. The designation of a Justice as Chief Justice does not affect continuance as a Justice."

SECTION 2.1.  The amendments set out in Sections 1 and 2 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at an election on November 8, 2005, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question on the ballot shall be:

"[ ] FOR          [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to reform the process of selecting Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals by providing for: (i) appointment by the Governor; (ii) accountability to the public through confirmation elections which will be held during the first general election after the Justice or Judge has served at least two years and every eight years thereafter; and (iii) the designation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from among the Justices."

SECTION 3.  If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Sections 1 and 2 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State.  The amendment becomes effective January 1, 2006. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 3.1.  Chapter 7A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 1A.

"Appointment of Justices and Judges; Confirmation Elections.

" 7A-4.1.  Appointment of Justices and Judges by the Governor.

When vacancies occur, or at the end of a term if the Justice or Judge does not stand in a confirmation election or is not confirmed in a confirmation election, the offices of Justice of the Supreme Court and Judge of the Court of Appeals are filled by appointment by the Governor in accordance with Section 16 of Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution.

" 7A-4.2.  Governor to issue commissions to Justices and Judges.

Every person duly appointed by the Governor as Justice of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Court of Appeals shall procure from the Governor a commission attesting that fact.

When a Justice or Judge is confirmed in office by vote of the people, the Governor shall issue a commission attesting that fact, which the Governor shall issue upon receipt of a certification by the Secretary of State of the results of the election.

" 7A-4.3.  No elections in 2006.

No election as previously provided by Article 25 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes for Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Court of Appeals shall be held in 2006 or thereafter. In 2006, confirmation elections shall be held under this Article.

" 7A-4.4.  Confirmation elections.

(a)       As provided by Section 16 of Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution, a Justice of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Court of Appeals desiring to continue in office beyond the end of the term for which that Justice or Judge has been appointed or confirmed shall be subject to confirmation by nonpartisan ballot, by a majority of votes cast on the issue of whether the Justice or Judge should be confirmed and remain in office.

(b)       A person subject to subsection (a) of this section shall indicate the desire to continue in office by filing a notice to that effect with the State Board of Elections no later than 12:00 noon on the first business day of July in the year of the election. The notice shall be on a form approved by the State Board of Elections. Notice can be withdrawn at any time prior to the second Monday in August.

(c)       Confirmation elections shall be conducted and canvassed in accordance with rules of the State Board of Elections in the same general manner as general elections under Chapter 163 of the General Statutes, except that the confirmation election is nonpartisan. The form of the ballot shall be determined by the State Board of Elections.

(d)       If a person who has filed a notice calling a confirmation election dies or is removed from office prior to the time that the ballots are printed, the confirmation election is cancelled. If a person who has filed a notice calling a confirmation election dies or is removed from office after the ballots are printed, the State Board of Elections may cancel the election if it determines that the ballots can be reprinted without significant expense. If the ballots cannot be reprinted, then the results of the election shall be ineffective."

SECTION 3.2.  G.S. 7A-10 reads as rewritten:

" 7A-10.  Organization; compensation of justices.

(a)       The Supreme Court shall consist of six associate justices, elected by the qualified voters of the State for terms of eight years. seven justices, selected as provided by Article 1A of this Chapter. Before entering upon the duties of office, each justice shall take an oath of office. Four justices shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the court. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, sessions of the court shall be held in the city of Raleigh, and scheduled by rule of court so as to discharge expeditiously the court's business. The court may by rule hold sessions not more than twice annually in the Old Chowan County Courthouse (1767) in the Town of Edenton, which is a State-owned court facility that is designated as a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.

(a1)     The Governor shall designate one of the Justices as Chief Justice to serve in such capacity until the expiration of the term of office that the Justice is holding at the time of designation.

(a2)     As the Chief Justice is a designation, if the Chief Justice ceases for any reason to be a Justice, a new Chief Justice shall be designated.

(a3)     A person designated as Chief Justice may resign that designation without resigning as a justice, in which case a new designation shall be made under subsection (a1) of this section.

(a4)     If the person designated as Chief Justice is temporarily incapacitated under G.S. 7A-39.5, a justice may be temporarily designated as Chief Justice, to hold that designation during the temporary incapacity, but not beyond the end of the term of office of either Justice.

(a5)     No emergency or retired justice recalled to the Supreme Court may be designated as Chief Justice.

(b)       The Chief Justice and each of the associate justices shall receive the annual salary provided in Current Operations Appropriations Act. Each justice is entitled to reimbursement for travel and subsistence expenses at the rate allowed State employees generally.

(c)       In lieu of merit and other increment raises paid to regular State employees, the Chief Justice and each of the Associate Justices justices shall receive as longevity pay an annual amount equal to four and eight-tenths percent (4.8%) of the annual salary set forth in the Current Operations Appropriations Act payable monthly after five years of service, nine and six-tenths percent (9.6%) after 10 years of service, fourteen and four-tenths percent (14.4%) after 15 years of service, and nineteen and two-tenths percent (19.2%) after 20 years of service. "Service" means service as a justice or judge of the General Court of Justice or as a member of the Utilities Commission. Service shall also mean service as a district attorney or as a clerk of superior court."

SECTION 3.3.  G.S. 7A-16 reads as rewritten:

" 7A-16.  Creation and organization.

The Court of Appeals is created effective January 1, 1967. It shall consist initially of six judges, elected by the qualified voters of the State for terms of eight years. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate one of the judges as Chief Judge, to serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. Before entering upon the duties of his office, a judge of the Court of Appeals shall take the oath of office prescribed for a judge of the General Court of Justice.

The Governor on or after July 1, 1967, shall make temporary appointments to the six initial judgeships. The appointees shall serve until January 1, 1989. Their successors shall be elected at the general election for members of the General Assembly in November, 1968, and shall take office on January 1, 1969, to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term which began on January 1, 1967.

The Court of Appeals shall consist of 15 judges, selected as provided in Article 1A of this Chapter. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate one of the judges as Chief Judge to serve in such capacity at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. Before entering upon the duties of office, a judge of the Court of Appeals shall take the oath of office prescribed for a judge of the General Court of Justice.

Upon the appointment of at least five judges, and the designation of a Chief Judge, the The court is authorized to convene, organize, and promulgate, subject to the approval of the Supreme Court, such supplementary rules as it deems necessary and appropriate for the discharge of the judicial business lawfully assigned to it.

Effective January 1, 1969, the number of judges is increased to nine, and the Governor, on or after March 1, 1969, shall make temporary appointments to the additional judgeships thus created. The appointees shall serve until January 1, 1971. Their successors shall be elected at the general election for members of the General Assembly in November, 1970, and shall take office on January 1, 1971, to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term which began on January 1, 1969.

Effective January 1, 1977, the number of judges is increased to 12; and the Governor, on or after July 1, 1977, shall make temporary appointments to the additional judgeships thus created. The appointees shall serve until January 1, 1979. Their successors shall be elected at the general election for members of the General Assembly in November, 1978, and shall take office on January 1, 1979, to serve the remainder of the unexpired term which began on January 1, 1977.

On or after December 15, 2000, the Governor shall appoint three additional judges to increase the number of judges to 15.

The Court of Appeals shall sit in panels of three judges each. The Chief Judge insofar as practicable shall assign the members to panels in such fashion that each member sits a substantially equal number of times with each other member. He shall preside over the panel of which he is a member, and shall designate the presiding judge of the other panel or panels.

Three judges shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the court, except as may be provided in G.S. 7A-32.

In the event the Chief Judge is unable, on account of absence or temporary incapacity, to perform the duties placed upon him as Chief Judge, the Chief Justice shall appoint an acting Chief Judge from the other judges of the Court, to temporarily discharge the duties of Chief Judge."

SECTION 3.4.  G.S. 163-1 is amended in the table by deleting the entries for "Justices and Judges of the Appellate Division".

SECTION 3.5.  G.S. 163-9 reads as rewritten:

" 163-9.  Filling vacancies in State and district judicial offices.

(a)       Vacancies occurring in the offices of Justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, and office of judge of the superior court for causes other than expiration of term shall be filled by appointment of the Governor. An appointee to the office of Justice of the Supreme Court or judge of the Court of Appeals shall hold office until January 1 next following the election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held for an eight-year term and until a successor is elected and qualified.

(b)       Except for judges specified in the next paragraph of this subsection, an appointee to the office of judge of superior court shall hold his place until the next election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held to fill the unexpired term of the office.

Appointees for judges of the superior court from any district:

(1)       With only one resident judge; or

(2)       In which no county is subject to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, shall hold the office until the next election of members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held to fill an eight-year term.

(c)       When the unexpired term of the office of superior court judge or district court judge in which the vacancy has occurred expires on the first day of January succeeding the next election for members of the General Assembly, the Governor shall appoint to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term of the office.

(d)       Vacancies in the office of district judge which occur before the expiration of a term shall not be filled by election. Vacancies in the office of district judge shall be filled in accordance with G.S. 7A-142."

SECTION 3.6.  The title of Subchapter X of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:

"SUBCHAPTER X. ELECTION OF APPELLATE, SUPERIOR, superior AND DISTRICT COURT JUDGES."

SECTION 3.7.  The title of Article 25 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:

"Article 25.

Nomination and Election of Appellate, Superior, Superior and District Court Judges."

SECTION 3.8.  G.S. 163-321 reads as rewritten:

" 163-321.  Applicability.

The nomination and election of justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Court of Appeals, and superior and district court judges of the General Court of Justice shall be as provided by this Article."

SECTION 3.9. G.S. 163-323 reads as rewritten:

" 163-323.  Notice of candidacy.

(a)       Form of Notice. - Each person offering to be a candidate for election shall do so by filing a notice of candidacy with the State Board of Elections in the following form, inserting the words in parentheses when appropriate:

 

                                                                Date: __________________________

 

    I hereby file notice that I am a candidate for election to the office of __________ in the regular election to be held _____________, ____.

 

                                                                Signed: _________________________

                                                                                        (Name of Candidate)

 

Witness: _______________________________________________________

The notice of candidacy shall be either signed in the presence of the chairman or secretary of the State Board of Elections, or signed and acknowledged before an officer authorized to take acknowledgments who shall certify the notice under seal. An acknowledged and certified notice may be mailed to the State Board of Elections. In signing a notice of candidacy, the candidate shall use only the candidate's legal name and, in his discretion, any nickname by which commonly known. A candidate may also, in lieu of that candidate's first name and legal middle initial or middle name, if any, sign that candidate's nickname, provided the candidate appends to the notice of candidacy an affidavit that the candidate has been commonly known by that nickname for at least five years prior to the date of making the affidavit. The candidate shall also include with the affidavit the way the candidate's name (as permitted by law) should be listed on the ballot if another candidate with the same last name files a notice of candidacy for that office.

A notice of candidacy signed by an agent or any person other than the candidate himself shall be invalid.

(b)       Time for Filing Notice of Candidacy. - Candidates seeking election to the following offices shall file their notice of candidacy with the State Board of Elections no earlier than 12:00 noon on the second Monday in February and no later than 12:00 noon on the last business day in February preceding the election:

Justices of the Supreme Court.

Judges of the Court of Appeals.

Judges of the superior courts.

Judges of the district courts.

(c)       Withdrawal of Notice of Candidacy. - Any person who has filed a notice of candidacy for an office shall have the right to withdraw it at any time prior to the date on which the right to file for that office expires under the terms of subsection (b) of this section.

(d)       Certificate That Candidate Is Registered Voter. - Candidates shall file along with their notice a certificate signed by the chairman of the board of elections or the supervisor of elections of the county in which they are registered to vote, stating that the person is registered to vote in that county, and if the candidacy is for superior court judge and the county contains more than one superior court district, stating the superior court district of which the person is a resident. In issuing such certificate, the chairman or supervisor shall check the registration records of the county to verify such information. During the period commencing 36 hours immediately preceding the filing deadline, the State Board of Elections shall accept, on a conditional basis, the notice of candidacy of a candidate who has failed to secure the verification ordered herein subject to receipt of verification no later than three days following the filing deadline. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe the form for such certificate, and distribute it to each county board of elections no later than the last Monday in December of each odd-numbered year.

(e)       Candidacy for More Than One Office Prohibited. - No person may file a notice of candidacy for more than one office or group of offices described in subsection (b) of this section, or for an office or group of offices described in subsection (b) of this section and an office described in G.S. 163-106(c), for any one election. If a person has filed a notice of candidacy with a board of elections under this section or under G.S. 163-106(c) for one office or group of offices, then a notice of candidacy may not later be filed for any other office or group of offices under this section when the election is on the same date unless the notice of candidacy for the first office is withdrawn under subsection (c) of this section.

(f)        Notice of Candidacy for Certain Offices to Indicate Vacancy. - In any election in which there are two or more vacancies for the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or district court judge to be filled by nominations, each candidate shall, at the time of filing notice of candidacy, file with the State Board of Elections a written statement designating the vacancy to which the candidate seeks election. Votes cast for a candidate shall be effective only for election to the vacancy for which the candidate has given notice of candidacy as provided in this subsection.

A person seeking election for a specialized district judgeship established under G.S. 7A-147 shall, at the time of filing notice of candidacy, file with the State Board of Elections a written statement designating the specialized judgeship to which the person seeks nomination.

(g)       No person may file a notice of candidacy for superior court judge unless that person is at the time of filing the notice of candidacy a resident of the judicial district as it will exist at the time the person would take office if elected. No person may be nominated as a superior court judge under G.S. 163-114 unless that person is at the time of nomination a resident of the judicial district as it will exist at the time the person would take office if elected. This subsection implements Article IV, Section 9(1) of the North Carolina Constitution which requires regular Superior Court Judges to reside in the district for which elected."

SECTION 3.10. G.S. 163-325 reads as rewritten:

" 163-325.  Petition in lieu of payment of filing fee.

(a)       General. - Any qualified voter who seeks election under this Article may, in lieu of payment of any filing fee required for the office he seeks, file a written petition requesting him to be a candidate for a specified office with the State Board of Elections.

(b)       Requirements of Petition; Deadline for Filing. - If the candidate is seeking the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or superior or district court judge, that individual shall file a written petition with the State Board of Elections no later than 12:00 noon on Monday preceding the filing deadline before the primary. If the office is justice of the Supreme Court or judge of the Court of Appeals, the petition shall be signed by 10,000 registered voters in the State. If the office is superior court or district court judge, the petition shall be signed by ten percent (10%) of the registered voters of the election area in which the office will be voted for. The board of elections shall verify the names on the petition, and if the petition and notice of candidacy are found to be sufficient, the candidate's name shall be printed on the appropriate ballot. Petitions must be presented to the county board of elections for verification at least 15 days before the petition is due to be filed with the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections may adopt rules to implement this section and to provide standard petition forms."

SECTION 3.11. G.S. 163-326(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Notification of Local Boards. - No later than 10 days after the time for filing notices of candidacy under the provisions of G.S. 163-323(b) has expired, the chairman of the State Board of Elections shall certify to the chairman of the county board of elections in each county in the appropriate district the names of candidates for nomination to the offices of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, and superior and district court judge who have filed the required notice and paid the required filing fee or presented the required petition to the State Board of Elections, so that their names may be printed on the official judicial ballot for justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, and superior and district court. ballot."

SECTION 3.12. G.S. 163-327(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Death, Disqualification, or Resignation of Official After Election. - If a person elected to the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or superior or district court judge dies, becomes disqualified, or resigns on or after election day and before he has qualified by taking the oath of office, the office shall be deemed vacant and shall be filled as provided by law."

SECTION 3.13.  G.S. 163-329 reads as rewritten:

" 163-329.  Elections to fill vacancy created after primary filing period to use plurality method.

(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 plurality method as provided in subsection (b) 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)       Plurality Election Rules. - Elections under this section shall be conducted using the following rules:

(1)       The filing period shall be prescribed by the State Board of Elections, but in no event may it be less than five working days. If a vacancy occurs in a second office in the same superior court district after the first filing period established under the section has closed, the State Board of Elections shall reopen filing for a period of not less than five working days for the office of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, or superior court judge. All persons filing in either filing period shall run as a group and the election results shall be determined by subdivision (3) of this subsection.

(2)       When more than one person is seeking election to a single office, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

(3)       When more persons are seeking election to two or more offices (constituting a group) than there are offices to be filled, those candidates receiving the highest number of votes, equal in number to the number of offices to be filled, shall be declared elected.

(4)       If two or more candidates receiving the highest number of votes each receive the same number of votes, the board of elections shall resolve the tie in accordance with G.S. 163-182.8.

(5)       Except as provided in this section, the provisions of this Article apply to elections conducted under this section."

SECTION 3.14. G.S. 163-332(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Ballots to Be Furnished by County Board of Elections. - It shall be the duty of the county board of elections to print official ballots for the following offices to be voted for in the primary:

Justice of the Supreme Court.

Judge of the Court of Appeals.

Superior court judge.

District court judge.

In printing ballots, the county board of elections shall be governed by instructions of the State Board of Elections with regard to width, color, kind of paper, form, and size of type.

Three days before the election, the chairman of the county board of elections shall distribute official ballots to the chief judge of each precinct in his county, and the chief judge shall give a receipt for the ballots received. On the day of the primary, it shall be the chief judge's duty to have all the ballots so delivered available for use at the precinct voting place."

SECTION 3.15.  All provisions of Article 22D of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes are repealed except for G.S. 163-278.69. The caption of Article 22D is rewritten to be "Judicial Voter Guide." Any remaining funds in the North Carolina Public Campaign Financing Fund shall be allocated to the State Board of Elections to prepare, print, and distribute the Judicial Voter Guide provided by G.S. 163-278.69. Those funds shall not revert and are available until expended.

SECTION 3.16.(a)  G.S. 163-278.69(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)      Judicial Voter Guide. - The Board shall publish a Judicial Voter Guide that explains the functions of the appellate courts and  courts, the laws concerning the election appointment and confirmation of appellate judges, the purpose and function of the Public Campaign Financing Fund, and the laws concerning voter registration. The Board shall distribute the Guide to as many voting-age individuals in the State as practical, through a mailing to all residences or other means it deems effective. The distribution shall occur no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before the primary and no more than 28 days nor fewer than seven days before  so that the guides are available to voters no later than the beginning of one-stop absentee voting for the general election."

SECTION 3.16.(b)  G.S. 163-278.69(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Candidate Information. - The Judicial Voter Guide shall include information concerning all candidates for confirmation to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, as provided by those candidates according to a format provided to the candidates by the Board. The Judicial Voter Guide shall also include information on any negative disciplinary actions recommended by the Judicial Standards Commission or imposed by the Supreme Court as to conduct by that candidate, including types of negative disciplinary actions such as admonishment that might not otherwise have been disclosed by the Commission, except if the Supreme Court has rejected the recommendations. The Board shall request information for the Guide from each candidate according to the following format:

(1)       Place of residence.

(2)       Education.

(3)       Occupation.

(4)       Employer.

(5)       Date admitted to the bar.

(6)       Legal/judicial experience.

(7)       Candidate statement, limited to 150 words. Concerning that statement, the Board shall send to the candidates instructions as follows: "Your statement may include information such as your qualifications, your endorsements, your ratings, why you are seeking judicial office, why you would make a good judge, what distinguishes you from your opponent(s), your acceptance of spending and fund-raising limits to qualify to receive funds from the Public Campaign Financing Fund, and any other information relevant to your candidacy. The State Board of Elections will reject any portion of any statement which it determines contains obscene, profane, or defamatory language. The candidate shall have three days to resubmit the candidate statement if the Board rejects a portion of the statement."

SECTION 3.16.(c)  If House Bill 1128, 2005 Regular Session, becomes law, then Section 6 of that act amending G.S. 163-278.69(a) is repealed.

SECTION 3.17.  G.S. 105-159.2 is repealed.

SECTION 3.18.  Sections 3.1 through 3.17 of this act are effective only if the constitutional amendment proposed by Sections 1 and 2 of this act are approved by the qualified voters in accordance with Section 2.1 of this act.

SECTION 4.  G.S. 7A-4.20 reads as rewritten:

" 7A-4.20.  Age limit for service as justice or judge: exception.

No justice or judge of the General Court of Justice may continue in office beyond the last day of the month calendar year in which he attains his seventy-second birthday, but justices and judges so retired may be recalled for periods of temporary service as provided in Subchapters II and III of this chapter.Chapter."

SECTION 5.  Except as otherwise provided for within this act, this act is effective when it becomes law.