(a)  The county board shall deliver or place in the mail, a copy of an election protest form and any attachments to it, to the State Board of Elections within 24 hours after it is filed. Faxing the protest, with attachments, on that same day it was filed to the State Board shall constitute the required delivery.  Sending the protest and attachments, by e-mail, on the same day it was filed shall also constitute the required delivery.

(b)  The county board may not consider election protests not filed in time, but shall refer all such untimely protests, along with copies of the protest and attachments, to the State Board of Elections office for consideration of a possible hearing by the State Board of Elections under G.S. 163-182.12.

(c)  If after preliminary consideration of a protest, the county board determines that a hearing should be held as authorized by G.S. 163-182.10, the board shall set the hearing no later than ten business days from the date of the preliminary consideration, and shall start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and no later than 8:00 p.m. at any location set by the county board of elections. The county board may continue hearings for good cause. Only for good cause and upon informing the State Board of Elections office, may a hearing be set on or continued to a weekend day or holiday. 

(d)  Notice of hearing as required by G.S. 163-182.10 (b)(2) shall be given at least three business prior to the day of the hearing, and the notice required shall be actual notice by any means chosen by the county board. Any oral notice of the hearing shall be followed as soon as possible with a written notice. The oral notice shall constitute valid notice meeting the three-day notice requirement.

(1)           Upon a reasonable and relevant request by a protester or interested person, the chair or any two members of the county board may issue subpoenas for persons or documents. Such subpoenas shall be served in the same matter as allowed in the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(2)           The county board shall notify the person protesting, any affected candidate, and any affected officeholder of its decision in a protest hearing no later than 5:00 p.m. the next day after the conclusion of the hearing itself. The board shall file at the board office a written decision within the mandates of G.S. 163-182.10 (d) by 5:00 p.m. five business days after the oral decision is given to the person filing the protest. Such written decision shall be served by any means of actual delivery upon the protestor and any affected candidate or officeholder within 24 hours after being filed at the board office. Nothing herein shall discourage more prompt decisions and written orders.  

(3)           All election protest hearings before county boards shall be recorded by a court reporter. The hearing need not be transcribed unless the board's decision is appealed. Upon notice of appeal to the State Board of an election protest, the county board shall cause the record of the hearing to be transcribed and delivered to the State Board, at the county board's expense, within seven business days of the notice of appeal. A county board may cause hearings, that on their face do not present merit to be recorded by mechanical means and not by court reporter only with prior permission of the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections. Any non-transcripted record of the county hearings may be destroyed 60 days after the date of hearing if not appealed, or 60 days after the entry of any final order or decision in an appealed hearing. Transcripts of hearings shall be kept for two years after their creation.

(4)           If the State Board sets an appeal for hearing, it shall designate who shall appear on behalf of the county board.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 163-22; 163-182-10;

Temporary Adoption Eff. April 15, 2002;

Eff. August 1, 2004.