08 ncac 10b .0107          ASSISTANCE TO VOTERS IN PRIMARIES AND GENERAL ELECTIONS

(a)  In any primary or election, including one-stop absentee voting, a registered voter qualified to vote in the primary or election shall be entitled to assistance in getting to and from the voting booth, entering and exiting the voting booth, and in preparing their ballots in accordance with the following:

(1)           Any assistance rendered must be performed in person, and shall not be allowed by electronic, paper, or mechanical means of communication with a person outside the voting booth, except in circumstances of disabled voters with special needs. The use of electronic, paper, or mechanical devices by the voter, while alone in the voting booth and not in contact with another person outside the voting booth, shall not be considered voting assistance;

(2)           Any voter shall be entitled to assistance from a near relative, as defined in G.S. 163-166.8(a)(1), of his choice. Under no circumstances shall any other relative, friend, guardian, person holding a power of attorney, or any other person be allowed to render assistance except as allowed under G.S. 163-166.8(a)(2) and in Paragraph (b) of this Rule; and

(3)           The person rendering assistance shall not in any manner seek to persuade or induce any voter to cast any vote in any particular way.

(b)  Any voter in any of the following four categories shall be entitled to assistance from any person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union:

(1)           One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance;

(2)           One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark his or her ballot without assistance;

(3)           One who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark his or her ballot without assistance;

(4)           One who, on account of visual impairment, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark the ballot without assistance.

No precinct official may refuse the voter's choice of the person to assist him, unless the person so named is legally excluded, does not appear at the voting place to assist the voter prior to the close of the polls, or refuses to assist the voter. If the voter's choice of the assisting person cannot be met on the ground(s) set out herein, the voter shall be allowed to make an additional choice until a willing assisting person is available to assist the voter. There shall be no limitation on the number of voters a person can assist, as long as the assisting person is properly chosen by each voter to assist.

(c)  A person seeking assistance in any election shall, upon arriving at the voting place, first request the chief judge to permit him to have assistance, communicating the reasons. If the chief judge determines that the voter is entitled to assistance, the chief judge shall ask the voter to identify the person the voter desires to provide assistance. If that person is not present, the voter is entitled to contact the person and to wait for the person at the voting place, but outside the voting enclosure. When that person is available to assist or is already present to assist, the voter, along with that person, shall present themselves to the chief judge. The chief judge shall thereupon request the person indicated to render the requested aid. In the case of assistance requested at a one-stop voting site, the assistance may be requested and received from any election official available at such site.

(d)  Any chief judge, judge, or assistant shall provide assistance to a voter if so requested, except for good cause, unless the election official is prohibited from doing so by his status as the voter's employer, official of the voter's union, or agent of the voter's employer or union. Under no circumstances shall any precinct official or person be assigned to assist a voter who was not specified by the voter.

(e) Conduct of Persons Rendering Assistance. - Anyone rendering assistance to a voter shall be admitted to the voting booth with the person being assisted and shall be governed by G.S. 163-166.8(c). The assisting person shall not do the following:

(1)           Give, present, or display within the vision of the voter, any list of preferred candidates, a marked sample ballot, or any other type of document, item, or display that conveys a choice of candidate(s). unless it was brought to the voting booth by the voter.  An assisting person may respond to an inquiry of a hearing impaired voter in writing if needed, as long as a ballot choice is not communicated to the voter;

(2)           Speak or play within the hearing or vision of the voter, any conversation, communication, or recording that conveys a choice of candidate(s);

(3)           Operate a phone, radio, computer, or any other means of communication while in the voting booth with the voter;

(4)           Communicate to others how the voter voted, unless ordered by a court, or make a memorandum of anything that occurred in the voting booth; and

(5)           Violate any election law set out in G.S. 163 or violate any election rule set out in Title 8 of the NC Administrative Code.

(f)  It shall be presumed that the operation by a voter of any means of communication capable of being received by a voter in the voting booth shall constitute an attempt to receive unlawful voting assistance, except in cases of a disabled voter with special needs.  Upon having reasonable grounds to suspect such communication or operation by the voter, a precinct official may make inquiry and investigate the alleged operation of the communication equipment.  The voter shall be informed of this presumption of unlawful assistance, and the prohibitions contained within G.S. 163-166.8 as to voter assistance. Regardless, any voter suspected of such conduct shall be allowed to vote and cast his or her ballot. 

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 163-22; G.S. 163-166.8;

Temporary Adoption Eff. April 15. 2002;

Eff. August 1, 2004.