News: CJ Exclusives

Elections board’s Strach outlines issues with 2017 legislative elections

Report prepared for federal court outlines costs, getting voters in proper districts, and other concerns

CJ photo by Kari Travis
CJ photo by Kari Travis

State elections board Executive Director Kim Strach, at the request of a federal court panel ruling on the North Carolina’s legislative districts, filed a 16-page report detailing the administrative processes and costs to implement a special legislative election in 2017.

Here are some the key elements from the report (link here):

  • A statewide primary for a special election likely would cost counties $6.5 million, plus the cost of one-stop early voting. A statewide general election would cost about $9.5 million.
  • Redistricting requires both state and county elections administrators to assign individual voters to their proper jurisdiction, a “largely manual process.” In some cases, elections administrators must assign voters to new jurisdictions on a street-by-street basis.
  • The coding in the state’s information system could take about three weeks once the state board received the jurisdiction files.
  • Voter coding in the information system and candidate filing must be final before ballot preparation can begin.
  • The process of generating and proofing ballot styles is highly complex and involves multiple technical systems and quality control checkpoints.
  • Elections officials need to factor in time for absentee ballot requests — 50 days before Election Day — and a 17-day one-stop early voting period, beginning 20 days before Election Day.
  • A special election in 2017 would “almost certainly require” the General Assembly to consolidate municipal election calendars statewide.