S731: Prohibit Private Money in Elect. Admin/EEA. Latest Version


Senate
Passed 1st Reading
Rules



AN ACT TO CREATE THE EMERGENCY ELECTION FUND AND TO REQUIRE THAT ALL PRIVATE MONETARY DONATIONS FOR THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, COUNTY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS BE MAINTAINED AND DISBURSED BY THE EMERGENCY ELECTION AUTHORITY.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 163‑22 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

(s)       Except as provided in G.S. 163‑29, nothing in this Chapter shall grant authority to the State Board of Elections to accept private monetary donations or in‑kind contributions, directly or indirectly, for conducting elections or employing individuals on a temporary basis.

SECTION 2.  G.S. 163‑33 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

(17)    Except as provided in G.S. 163‑29, nothing in this Chapter shall grant authority to county boards of elections to accept private monetary donations or in‑kind contributions, directly or indirectly, for conducting elections or employing individuals on a temporary basis.

SECTION 3.  G.S. 163‑37 reads as rewritten:

§ 163‑37.  Duty of county board of commissioners.

(a)        The respective boards of county commissioners shall appropriate reasonable and adequate funds necessary for the legal functions of the county board of elections, including reasonable and just compensation of the director of elections.

(b)        Except as provided in G.S. 163‑29, nothing in this Chapter shall grant authority to county boards of commissioners to accept private monetary donations or in‑kind contributions, directly or indirectly, for conducting elections or employing individuals under this Chapter on a temporary basis.

SECTION 4.  Article 3 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

§ 163‑29.  Emergency election fund; Emergency Election Authority.

(a)        There is established an emergency election fund. The emergency election fund shall consist only of the following:

(1)        All private monetary donations received for the purpose of conducting elections or employing individuals under this Chapter on a temporary basis. Private monetary donations must be made directly to the emergency election fund.

(2)        Any State funds directly appropriated by the General Assembly to the emergency election fund.

(b)        There is established the North Carolina Emergency Election Authority (Authority). The Authority shall consist of nine members. Five members shall be appointed by the Governor, no more than two of whom shall be of the same political party. Two members shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, neither of whom may be of the same political party. Two members shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, neither of whom may be of the same political party. All members must be registered voters in this State, and no member may be a lobbyist registered under Chapter 120C of the General Statutes. Members shall serve a five‑year term and may not serve more than two successive terms.

(c)        Members of the Authority may be removed by the appointing authority for cause. Vacancies on the Authority shall be filled by the appointing authority for the unexpired portion of the term in which they occur.

(d)       The purpose of the Authority shall be to maintain the emergency election fund and authorize any disbursements made from the fund. Notwithstanding G.S. 163‑22, 163‑33, and 163‑37, the Authority may disburse funds from the emergency election fund to the State Board of Elections or county boards of elections as the Authority deems appropriate. In making disbursements, the Authority shall comply with the following requirements:

(1)        The Authority shall only disburse funds if one of the following has occurred:

a.         A state of emergency has been declared pursuant to G.S. 166A‑19.20.

b.         The county board of commissioners of more than one‑third of the counties adopts a resolution stating that the county board of elections lacks sufficient funds to properly administer the upcoming election. The resolution must be provided to the Authority no earlier than 60 days before an election is scheduled to occur and no later than the opening of one‑stop absentee voting under G.S. 163‑227.2.

(2)        The Authority shall not disburse funds in a manner that provides a partisan advantage.

(e)        Notwithstanding G.S. 163‑22, 163‑33, and 163‑37, any in‑kind contribution received by the State Board, a county board of elections, or a county board of commissioners shall be approved by the Authority before that in‑kind contribution is used in conducting an election.

(f)        Only the Authority may fundraise, submit applications for grants, or otherwise solicit funds for the emergency election fund. However, any funds received must be deposited into the emergency election fund to be disbursed in accordance with this section.

(g)        The Authority may adopt rules for disbursing funds and approving the use of in‑kind contributions in accordance with this section.

SECTION 5.(a)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163‑29, as enacted by this act, the initial terms of the members of the Emergency Election Fund Authority shall be as follows:

(1)        Of the five members appointed by the Governor, three members shall serve an initial term of one year, one member shall serve an initial term of two years, and one member shall serve an initial term of three years.

(2)        Of the two members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one member shall serve an initial term of two years and one member shall serve an initial term of three years.

(3)        Of the two members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one member shall serve an initial term of two years and one member shall serve an initial term of three years.

SECTION 5.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163‑29, as enacted by this act, any individual appointed under this section to serve an initial term on the Emergency Election Fund Authority shall be eligible for appointment to one additional five‑year term.

SECTION 6.  This act becomes effective October 1, 2021.