North Dakota eBenchBook

Current through the 65th Legislative Assembly of North Dakota, which adjourned on April 27, 2017.

TITLE 16.1 – ELECTIONS

CHAPTER 16.1-01 – GENERAL PROVISIONS

16.1-01-01. Secretary of state to supervise election procedures – County administrator of elections.

1. The secretary of state must be, ex officio, supervisor of elections and may employ additional personnel to administer this title. The secretary of state shall supervise the conduct of elections and in that supervisory capacity has, in addition to other powers conferred by law, the power to examine upon the secretary of state’s request or the request of any election official, any election ballot or other material, electronic voting system or counting machine authorized by chapter 16.1-06, or device used in connection with any election, for the purpose of determining sufficient compliance with the law and established criteria and standards adopted by the secretary of state according to section 16.1-06-26. The secretary of state, upon determining that any ballot or other material, electronic voting system or counting machine, or device is not in sufficient compliance with the law or established criteria and standards, shall direct the proper changes to be made, and in the case of electronic voting systems and counting machines, may decertify the electronic voting systems and counting machines according to the rules adopted under section 16.1-06-26.
2. In addition to other duties provided elsewhere by law, the secretary of state shall:

a. Develop and implement uniform training programs for all election officials in the state.
b. Prepare information for voters on voting procedures.
c. Publish and distribute an election calendar, a manual on election procedures, and a map of all legislative districts.
d. Convene a state election conference of county auditors at the beginning of each election year and whenever deemed necessary by the secretary of state to discuss uniform implementation of state election policies.
e. Prescribe the form of all ballots and the form and wording of ballots on state referendum questions, issues, and constitutional amendments.
f. Investigate or cause to be investigated the nonperformance of duties or violations of election laws by election officers.
g. Require such reports from county auditors on election matters as deemed necessary.
h. Certify results of statewide elections.
i. Prepare and publish reports whenever deemed necessary on the conduct and costs of voting in the state, including a tabulation of election returns and such other information and statistics as deemed appropriate.
j. Establish standards for voting precincts and polling places, numbering precincts, precinct maps, maintaining and updating pollbooks, and forms and supplies, including but not limited to, ballots, pollbooks, and reports.
k. Prescribe the order in which each political subdivision will appear on an election ballot.
l. Develop and conduct a test election for the state’s voting system prior to each statewide election utilizing the votes cast within each county according to the logic and accuracy testing required in section 16.1-06-15.

3. In carrying out the secretary of state’s duties and to assure uniform voting opportunities throughout the state, and for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this title and any other requirement imposed upon the state by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 15301 et seq.] not otherwise addressed in this Act, the secretary of state may from time to time issue rules the secretary of state deems necessary, which must be consistent with the provisions of this title or the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and be adopted and published in accordance with chapter 28-32, but which need not comply with section 28-32-07.
4. In each county there must be a county administrator of elections who must be the county auditor. The county auditor is responsible to the secretary of state for the proper administration within the auditor’s county of state laws, rules, and regulations concerning election procedures.
5. In addition to other statutory duties, the county auditor shall:

a. Procure and distribute supplies required for voting in the county.
b. Prepare and disseminate voter information as prescribed by the secretary of state.
c. Fully comply with the test election required of this section.
d. Carry out uniform training programs for all county and precinct election officials as prescribed by the secretary of state.
e. Provide completed reports on election matters as required by the secretary of state.
f. Attend, or send a designee to attend, state election conferences convened by the secretary of state.
g. Comply with the form of the ballot as prescribed by state law and the secretary of state.
h. Comply with the standards for voting precincts and polling locations, numbering precincts, precinct maps, maintaining and updating pollbooks, and forms and supplies, including ballots, pollbooks, and reports as established by the secretary of state.
i. Assist with investigations initiated by the secretary of state under this section.
j. Receive and handle complaints referred to the county auditor by any voter or precinct official involving circulation of petitions, challenges to voters, actions of election officials, or irregularities of any kind in voting. The county auditor shall refer complaints to the secretary of state or the proper prosecuting authority, as the county auditor deems appropriate.

Upon completion of the duties required by this subsection, the county auditor shall certify to the secretary of state, in the manner prescribed by the secretary of state, that the duties have been completed. A knowing violation of this subsection is an offense under section 12.1-11-06.

16.1-01-02. Applicability of provisions of title.

The provisions of this title govern all primary, general, and special statewide and legislative elections, and all other elections, unless otherwise provided by law.

16.1-01-02.1. State policy encouraging employers to establish policy granting employees time to vote.

It is the policy of this state to encourage voting by all eligible voters at all statewide special, primary, or general elections. To this end, employers are encouraged to establish a program to grant an employee who is a qualified voter to be absent from the employee’s employment for the purpose of voting when an employee’s regular work schedule conflicts with voting during time when polls are open.

16.1-01-02.2. Special election – Special procedures.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the governor may call a special election to be held in ninety days after the call if a special session of the legislative assembly has been held, any of the ninety-day period for the submission of a referendum petition to the secretary of state with respect to any measure enacted during the special session occurs during a regular legislative session, and a referendum petition has been submitted to refer a measure or part of a measure enacted during the special session. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the governor may call a special election to be held in ninety days after the call if a referendum petition has been submitted to refer a measure or part of a measure that establishes a legislative redistricting plan.

16.1-01-02.3. Special election costs – Reimbursement.

The state shall reimburse each county for the costs incurred by the county for conducting a statewide special election that is not held on the date of a statewide primary or general election. Each county shall submit a detailed statement to the office of the budget which lists all expenses incurred by the county in conducting the special election within forty-five days after the special election. The office of the budget shall submit a request for an appropriation to reimburse the counties to the next regular or special session of the legislative assembly. The legislative assembly shall appropriate the funds necessary for the payment of the special election costs.

16.1-01-03. Opening and closing of the polls.

The polls at all primary, general, and special elections must be opened at nine a.m. or at such earlier hour, but not earlier than seven a.m., that may be designated for any precinct by resolution of the governing body of the city or county in which such precinct is located except that in precincts in which seventy-five or fewer votes were cast in the last general election, the governing body may direct that the polls be opened at twelve noon. They must remain open continuously until seven p.m. or such later hour, not later than nine p.m., as may be designated for a precinct by resolution of the governing body of the city or county in which the precinct is located. All electors standing in line to vote at the time the polls are set to close must be allowed to vote, but electors arriving after closing time may not be allowed to vote. The election officers present are responsible for determining who arrived in time to vote, and they shall establish appropriate procedures for making that determination. All determinations required to be made pursuant to this section relating to polling hours must be made, and the county auditor notified of them, no later than thirty days prior to an election.

16.1-01-04. Qualifications of electors – Voting requirements.

1. To qualify as an elector of this state, an individual must be:

a. A citizen of the United States;
b. Eighteen years or older; and
c. A resident of this state who has resided in the precinct at least thirty days immediately preceding any election.

2. Pursuant to section 2 of article II of the Constitution of North Dakota, voting by individuals convicted and sentenced for a felony must be limited according to chapter 12.1-33.
3. A qualified elector may not authorize an attorney in fact, guardian, or other individual to apply for any ballot or to vote in any election on behalf of or in the place of the qualified elector.
4. An elector seeking to vote in an election must meet the identification requirements specified in section 16.1-01-04.1.

16.1-01-04.1. Identification verifying eligibility as an elector.

1. A qualified elector shall provide a valid form of identification to the proper election official before receiving a ballot for voting.
2. The identification must provide the following information regarding the elector:

a. Legal name;
b. Current residential street address in North Dakota; and
c. Date of birth.

3.

a. A valid form of identification is:

(1) A driver’s license or nondriver’s identification card issued by the North Dakota department of transportation; or
(2) An official form of identification issued by a tribal government to a tribal member residing in this state.

b. If an individual’s valid form of identification does not include all the information required under subsection 2 or the information on the identification is not current, the identification must be supplemented by presenting any of the following issued to the individual which provides the missing or outdated information:

(1) A current utility bill;
(2) A current bank statement;
(3) A check issued by a federal, state, or local government;
(4) A paycheck; or
(5) A document issued by a federal, state, or local government.

4. The following forms of identification are valid for the specified individuals living under special circumstances who do not possess a valid form of identification under subsection 3.

a. For an individual living in a long-term care facility, a long-term care certificate prescribed by the secretary of state and issued by a long-term care facility in this state;
b. For a uniformed service member or immediate family member temporarily stationed away from the individual’s residence in this state, or a resident of the state temporarily living outside the country, a current military identification card or passport; and
c. For an individual living with a disability that prevents the individual from traveling away from the individual’s home, the signature on an absentee or mail ballot application from another qualified elector who, by signing, certifies the applicant is a qualified elector.

5. If an individual is not able to show a valid form of identification but asserts qualifications as an elector in the precinct in which the individual desires to vote, the individual may mark a ballot that must be securely set aside in a sealed envelope designed by the secretary of state. After the ballot is set aside, the individual may show a valid form of identification to either a polling place election board member if the individual returns to the polling place before the polls close, or to an employee of the office of the election official responsible for the administration of the election before the meeting of the canvassing board occurring on the sixth day after the election. Each ballot set aside under this subsection must be presented to the members of the canvassing board for proper inclusion or exclusion from the tally.
6. The secretary of state shall develop uniform procedures for the requirements of subsection 5 which must be followed by the election official responsible for the administration of the election.

16.1-01-04.2. Residence for voting – Rules for determining.

For purposes of voting:

1. Every qualified elector may have only one residence, shown by an actual fixed permanent dwelling, establishment, or any other abode to which the individual returns when not called elsewhere for labor or other special or temporary purposes.
2. The street address verified by the individual as provided in section 16.1-01-04.1 when requesting a ballot to vote must be the address of residence for the individual.
3. An individual retains a residence in this state until another has been gained.
4. The acts of residing at a new address for thirty days and verifying that address as provided under section 16.1-01-04.1 constitute a change in the individual’s voting residence.

16.1-01-05. Voting by qualified elector moving from one precinct to another.

If a qualified elector moves from one precinct to another precinct within this state, the elector is entitled to vote in the precinct from which the elector moved until the elector has established a new residence pursuant to section 16.1-01-04.

16.1-01-05.1. Voter lists – Addition or transfer of names.

Through the use of the central voter file provided for in chapter 16.1-02, the secretary of state shall establish a procedure by which a county auditor may transfer a person’s name from the voter list of one precinct to the voter list of another precinct in the state if that person establishes a new residence, and by which a person who establishes residence in the state may have that person’s name placed on the voter list in the appropriate precinct. The procedure provided for in this section may not be used to require the registration of electors.

16.1-01-06. Highest number of votes elects.

Unless otherwise expressly provided by the laws of this state, in all elections for the choice of any officer, the person receiving the highest number of votes for any office must be deemed to have been elected to that office.

16.1-01-07. Constitutional amendments and other questions to be advertised – Notification by secretary of state – Manner of publishing.

Whenever a proposed constitutional amendment or other question is to be submitted to the people of the state for popular vote, the secretary of state shall, not less than fifty-five days before the election, certify the amendment or other question to each county auditor and each auditor shall cause notice thereof to be included in the notice required by section 16.1-13-05. Questions to be submitted to the people of a particular county must be advertised in the same manner.
The secretary of state shall, at the same time the secretary of state certifies notice to the county auditors of the submission of a constitutional amendment or other question, certify the ballot form for such questions. The ballot form must conform to the provisions of section 16.1-06-09 and must be used by all county auditors in preparing ballots for submission to the electorate of each county and in the preparation of sample ballots. Any requirements in this title that a sample ballot be published will be met by the publication of either the paper ballot or the ballot as it will appear to persons using an electronic voting system device, depending upon the method of voting used in the area involved. Absentee voter ballots may not be considered in determining which method of voting is used in an area. If both paper ballots and electronic voting system ballots are used in an area, both forms must be published as sample ballots to meet publication and notice requirements. For two consecutive weeks before the sample ballot is published, an analysis of any constitutional amendment, initiated measure, or referred measure, written by the secretary of state after consultation with the attorney general, must be published in columns to enable the electors to become familiar with the effect of the proposed constitutional amendment or initiated or referred measure.

16.1-01-08. Correcting errors on ballots – Requiring performance of duty – Correcting or prosecuting wrongful performance.

The secretary of state shall thoroughly investigate, when the matter comes to the secretary of state’s attention, any of the following:

1. Any error or omission which has occurred or is about to occur in the placing of any name on an official election ballot.
2. Any error which has been or is about to be committed in printing the ballot.
3. Any wrongful act which has been or is about to be done by any judge or election clerk, county auditor, canvassing board, a canvassing board member, or any other person charged with any duty concerning the election.
4. Any neglect of duty which has occurred or is about to occur.

If required, the secretary of state shall order the officer or person charged with such error, wrong, or neglect to correct the error, desist from the wrongful act, or perform any required duty. The secretary of state may call upon any county auditor for aid in investigation and correction of the problem. The secretary of state shall cause any person who violates the secretary of state’s order to be prosecuted, if the violation constitutes an offense pursuant to this chapter. If the administrative remedies fail to correct the problem, or if the secretary of state refuses to act, any person may petition the supreme court, or the district court of the relevant county where the election of a county officer is involved, for an order compelling the correction of the error, wrong, neglect, or act.

16.1-01-09. Initiative or referendum petitions – Signature – Form – Circulation.

1.

a. A request of the secretary of state for approval of a petition to initiate or refer a measure may be presented over the signatures of the sponsoring committee on individual signature forms that have been notarized. The secretary of state shall prepare a signature form that includes provisions for identification of the measure; the printed name, signature, and address of the committee member; and notarization of the signature. The filed signature forms must be originals.
b. Upon receipt of a petition to initiate or refer a measure, the secretary of state shall draft a short and concise statement that fairly represents the measure. The statement must be submitted to the attorney general for approval or disapproval. An approved statement must be affixed to the petition before it is circulated for signatures, must be called the “petition title”, and must be placed immediately before the full text of the measure.
c. The secretary of state and the attorney general shall complete their review of a petition in not less than five, nor more than seven, business days, excluding Saturdays.

2. An individual may not sign any initiative or referendum petition circulated pursuant to article III of the Constitution of North Dakota unless the individual is a qualified elector. An individual may not sign any petition more than once, and each signer shall also legibly print the signer’s name, complete residential address or rural route or general delivery address, and the date of signing on the petition. Every qualified elector signing a petition shall do so in the presence of the individual circulating the petition. A referendum or initiative petition must be on a form prescribed by the secretary of state containing the following information:

REFERENDUM [INITIATIVE] PETITION

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE,

STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA

We, the undersigned, being qualified electors request [House (Senate) Bill __________ passed by the __________ Legislative Assembly] [the following initiated law] be placed on the ballot as provided by law.

SPONSORING COMMITTEE

The following are the names and addresses of the qualified electors of the state of North Dakota who, as the sponsoring committee for the petitioners, represent and act for the petitioners in accordance with law:
Name                                                                                                                       Address
_______________ (Chairperson)                                                               _______________

_______________                                                                                          _______________

PETITION TITLE

(To be drafted by the secretary of state, approved by the attorney general, and attached to the petition before circulation.)

FULL TEXT OF THE MEASURE

IF MATERIAL IS UNDERSCORED, IT IS NEW MATERIAL WHICH IS BEING ADDED. IF MATERIAL IS OVERSTRUCK BY DASHES, THE MATERIAL IS BEING DELETED. IF MATERIAL IS NOT UNDERSCORED OR OVERSTRUCK, THE MATERIAL IS EXISTING LAW THAT IS NOT BEING CHANGED.
[The full text of the measure must be inserted here.]

INSTRUCTIONS TO PETITION SIGNERS

You are being asked to sign a petition. You must be a qualified elector. This means you are eighteen years old, you have lived in North Dakota thirty days, and you are a United States citizen. All signers shall also legibly print their name, complete residential address or rural route or general delivery address, and the date of signing on the petition. Every qualified elector signing a petition must do so in the presence of the individual circulating the petition.

QUALIFIED ELECTORS

Month,                      Signed              Printed                      Residential Address or                       City

Day,                         Name of            Name of                     Complete Rural Route                        State,

Year                        Qualified            Qualified                    or General Delivery                             Zip Code

Elector                     Elector               Address

1.  ______________________________________________________________
2.  ______________________________________________________________
3.  ______________________________________________________________
4.  ______________________________________________________________
5.  ______________________________________________________________
6.  ______________________________________________________________
7.  ______________________________________________________________
8.  ______________________________________________________________

The number of signature lines on each page of a printed petition may vary if necessary to accommodate other required textual matter. In this section for referral petitions “full text of the measure” means the bill as passed by the legislative assembly excluding the session and sponsor identification. In this section for initiative petitions “full text of the measure” means an enacting clause which must be: “BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NORTH
DAKOTA” and the body of the bill. If the measure amends the law, all new statutory material must be underscored and all statutory material to be deleted must be overstruck by dashes. When repealing portions of the law, the measure must contain a repealer clause and, in brackets, the text of the law being repealed.
3. Each copy of any petition provided for in this section, before being filed, must have attached an affidavit executed by the circulator in substantially the following form:
State of North Dakota              )

) ss.

County of _____________)

(county where signed)

I,______________, being sworn, say that I am a qualified elector; that I reside at__________;

(circulator)                                                                                                                                 (address)

that each signature contained on the attached petition was executed in my presence; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief each individual whose signature appears on the attached petition is a qualified elector; and that each signature contained on the attached petition is the genuine signature of the individual whose name it purports to be.

_________________________________

(signature of circulator)

Subscribed and sworn to before me on __________,_____, at __________, North Dakota.

(city)

(Notary Seal) _______________________________

(signature of notary)

Notary Public
My commission expires _________________________

4. No petition may be circulated under the authority of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota by an individual who is less than eighteen years of age, nor may the affidavit called for by subsection 3 be executed by an individual who is less than eighteen years of age at the time of signing. All petitions circulated under the authority of the constitution and of this section must be circulated in their entirety. A petition may not include a statement of intent or similar explanatory information.

5. When signed petitions are delivered to the secretary of state, the chairperson of the sponsoring committee shall submit to the secretary of state an affidavit stating that to the best of that individual’s knowledge, the petitions contain at least the required number of signatures. Upon submission of the petitions to the secretary of state, the petitions are considered filed and may not be returned to the sponsoring committee for the purpose of continuing the circulation process or resubmitting the petitions at a later time. An elector’s name may not be removed by the elector from a petition that has been submitted to and received by the secretary of state.
6. An initiative or referendum petition may be submitted to the secretary of state until midnight of the day designated as the deadline for submitting the petition.
7. An initiative petition may be circulated for one year from the date it is approved for circulation by the secretary of state.

16.1-01-09.1. Recall petitions – Signature – Form – Circulation.

1. A request of the secretary of state for approval of a petition to recall an elected official or appointed official of a vacated elected office may be presented over the signatures of the sponsoring committee on individual signature forms that have been notarized. The secretary of state shall prepare a signature form that includes provisions for identification of the recall; the printed name, signature, and address of the committee member; and notarization of the signature. The filed signature forms must be originals. The secretary of state shall complete the review of the form of a recall petition in not less than five, nor more than seven, business days, excluding Saturdays.
2. An individual may not sign a recall petition circulated pursuant to article III of the Constitution of North Dakota or section 44-08-21 unless the individual is a qualified elector. An individual may not sign a petition more than once, and each signer shall also legibly print the signer’s name, complete residential, rural route, or general delivery address, and the date of signing on the petition. Every qualified elector signing a petition must do so in the presence of the individual circulating the petition. A petition must be in substantially the following form:

RECALL PETITION

We, the undersigned, being qualified electors request that _______________________________(name of the individual being recalled) the ________________________(office of individual being recalled) be recalled for the reason or reasons of ___________________________.

RECALL SPONSORING COMMITTEE

The following are the names and addresses of the qualified electors of the state of North Dakota and the political subdivision who, as the sponsoring committee for the petitioners, represent and act for the petitioners in accordance with law:

Complete Residential,

Rural Route,
or General

Name                                                                                                                 Delivery Address

1. __________________________________________(Chairperson)

2. __________________________________________

3. __________________________________________

4. __________________________________________

5. __________________________________________

INSTRUCTIONS TO PETITION SIGNERS

You are being asked to sign a petition. You must be a qualified elector. This means you are eighteen years old, you have lived in North Dakota for thirty days, and you are a United States citizen. All signers shall also legibly print their name, complete residential, rural route, or general delivery address, and date of signing on the petition. Every qualified elector signing a petition must do so in the presence of the individual circulating the petition.

QUALIFIED ELECTORS

Month,                      Signed              Printed                      Residential Address or                       City

Day,                         Name of            Name of                     Complete Rural Route                        State,

Year                        Qualified            Qualified                    or General Delivery                             Zip Code

Elector                     Elector               Address

1.  ______________________________________________________________
2.  ______________________________________________________________
3.  ______________________________________________________________
4.  ______________________________________________________________
5.  ______________________________________________________________
6.  ______________________________________________________________
7.  ______________________________________________________________
8.  ______________________________________________________________

The number of signature lines on each page of a printed petition may vary if necessary to accommodate other required textual matter.
3. Each copy of a petition provided for in this section, before being filed, must have attached an affidavit executed by the circulator in substantially the following form:

State of North Dakota              )

) ss.

County of _____________)

(county where signed)

I,______________, being sworn, say that I am a qualified elector; that I reside at__________;

(circulator)                                                                                                                                 (address)

that each signature contained on the attached petition was executed in my presence; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief each individual whose signature appears on the attached petition is a qualified elector; and that each signature contained on the attached petition is the genuine signature of the individual whose name it purports to be.

_________________________________

(signature of circulator)

Subscribed and sworn to before me on __________,_____, at __________, North Dakota.

(city)

(Notary Seal) _______________________________

(signature of notary)

Notary Public
My commission expires _________________________

4. A petition for recall must include, before the signature lines for the qualified electors as provided in subsection 2, the name of the individual being recalled, the office from which that individual is being recalled, and a list of the names and addresses of not less than five qualified electors of the state, political subdivision, or district in which the official is to be recalled who are sponsoring the recall.
5. For the recall of an elected official under article III of the Constitution of North Dakota, circulators have one year to gather the required number of signatures of qualified electors on the recall petition from the date the secretary of state approves the recall petition for circulation. For the recall of an elected official under section 44-08-21, circulators have ninety days from the date the secretary of state approves the recall petition for circulation to submit the recall petition to the appropriate filing officer.
6. A petition may not be circulated under the authority of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota or section 44-08-21 by an individual who is less than eighteen years of age, nor may the affidavit called for by subsection 3 be executed by an individual who is less than eighteen years of age at the time of signing. All petitions circulated under the authority of the constitution and of this section must be circulated in their entirety.
7. When recall petitions are delivered to the secretary of state or other filing officer with whom a petition for nomination to the office in question is filed, the chairman of the sponsoring committee shall submit to the secretary of state or other filing officer an affidavit stating that to the best of that individual’s knowledge, the petitions contain at least the required number of signatures. Upon submission of the petitions to the appropriate filing officer, the petitions are considered filed and may not be returned to the chairman of the sponsoring committee for the purpose of continuing the circulation process or resubmitting the petitions at a later time. An elector’s name may not be removed by the elector from a recall petition that has been submitted to and received by the appropriate filing officer.
8. The filing officer has a reasonable period, not to exceed thirty days, in which to pass upon the sufficiency of a recall petition. The filing officer may conduct a representative random sampling of the signatures contained in the petitions by the use of questionnaires, postcards, telephone calls, personal interviews, or other accepted information-gathering techniques, or any combinations thereof, to determine the validity of the signatures. Signatures determined by the filing officer to be invalid may not be counted and all violations of law discovered by the filing officer must be reported to the state’s attorney for possible prosecution.
9. The filing officer shall call a special recall election to be held no sooner than ninety-five days nor later than one hundred five days following the date the filing officer certifies the petition valid and sufficient. No special recall election may be called if that date would be within ninety-five days of the next scheduled election.
10. A notice of the recall election must be posted in the official newspaper thirty days before the candidate filing deadline, which is by four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election. The official notice must include the necessary information for a candidate to file and have the candidate’s name included on the ballot.
11. An official may not be recalled if the recall special election would be held during the same year in which the official’s office would be included on the ballot.

16.1-01-10. Secretary of state to pass upon sufficiency of petitions – Method – Time limit.

The secretary of state shall have a reasonable period, not to exceed thirty-five days, in which to pass upon the sufficiency of any petition mentioned in section 16.1-01-09. The secretary of state shall conduct a representative random sampling of the signatures contained in the petitions by the use of questionnaires, postcards, telephone calls, personal interviews, or other accepted information-gathering techniques, or any combinations thereof, to determine the validity of the signatures. Signatures determined by the secretary of state to be invalid may not be counted and all violations of law discovered by the secretary of state must be reported to the attorney general for prosecution.

16.1-01-11. Certain questions not to be voted upon for three months.

1. Whenever at any election a bond issue or mill levy question has failed to receive the required number of votes for approval by the electors, the matter may not again be submitted to a vote until a period of at least three months has expired.
2.

a. More than two elections on the same general matter may not be held within twelve consecutive calendar months.
b. If the matter to be placed before the electors for a third or subsequent time involves authorization for a school construction bond issuance in accordance with chapter 21-03, the board of the school district shall resubmit its school construction proposal to the superintendent of public instruction for the purpose of obtaining the superintendent’s approval, in the same manner as required for an initial approval in accordance with section 15.1-36-01.

16.1-01-12. Election offenses – Penalty.

1. It is unlawful for an individual, measure committee as described in section 16.1-08.1-01, or other organization to:

a. Fraudulently alter another individual’s ballot or substitute one ballot for another or to otherwise defraud a voter of that voter’s vote.

b. Obstruct a qualified elector on the way to a polling place.
c. Vote more than once in any election.
d. Knowingly vote in the wrong election precinct or district.
e. Disobey the lawful command of an election officer as defined in chapter 16.1-05.
f. Knowingly exclude a qualified elector from voting or knowingly allow an unqualified person to vote.
g. Knowingly vote when not qualified to do so.
h. Sign an initiative, referendum, recall, or any other election petition when not qualified to do so.
i. Circulate an initiative, referendum, recall, or any other election petition not in its entirety or circulate such a petition when unqualified to do so.
j. Pay or offer to pay any individual, measure committee, or other organization, or receive payment or agree to receive payment, on a basis related to the number of signatures obtained for circulating an initiative, referendum, or recall petition. This subsection does not prohibit the payment of salary and expenses for circulation of the petition on a basis not related to the number of signatures obtained, as long as the circulators file their intent to remunerate prior to submitting the petitions and, in the case of initiative and referendum petitions, fully disclose all contributions received pursuant to chapter 16.1-08.1 to the secretary of state upon submission of the petitions. The disclosure of contributions received under this section does not affect the requirement to file a pre-election report by individuals or organizations soliciting or accepting contributions for the purpose of aiding or opposing the circulation or passage of a statewide initiative or referendum petition or measure placed upon a statewide ballot by action of the legislative assembly under chapter 16.1-08.1. Any signature obtained in violation of this subdivision is void and may not be counted.
k. Willfully fail to perform any duty of an election officer after having accepted the responsibility of being an election officer by taking the oath as prescribed in this title.
l. Willfully violate any rule adopted by the secretary of state pursuant to this title.
m. Willfully make any false canvass of votes, or make, sign, publish, or deliver any false return of an election, knowing the same to be false, or willfully deface, destroy, or conceal any statement or certificate entrusted to the individual’s or organization’s care.
n. Destroy ballots, ballot boxes, election lists, or other election supplies except as provided by law.
o. Sign a name other than that individual’s own name to an initiative, referendum, recall, or any other election petition.

2.

a. A violation of subdivisions b, e, f, or h through l of subsection 1 is a class A misdemeanor.
b. A violation of subdivisions a, c, d, g, or m of subsection 1 is a class C felony.
c. A violation of subdivision n of subsection 1 occurring after an election but before the final canvass, or during an election, is a class C felony, and in other cases is a class A misdemeanor.
d. A violation of subdivision o of subsection 1 is a class A misdemeanor if an individual signs one or two names other than the individual’s own name to a petition and is a class C felony if an individual signs more than two names other than the individual’s own name to a petition.
e. An organization, as defined in section 12.1-03-04, that violates this section is subject to the organizational fines in section 12.1-32-01.1. The court in which the conviction is entered shall notify the secretary of state of the conviction and shall order the secretary of state to revoke the certificate of authority of any convicted organization or limited liability company. The organization may not reapply to the secretary of state for authorization to do business under any name for one year upon conviction of a class A misdemeanor and for five years upon conviction of a class C felony under this section.

f. An individual who is a member of an organization may be convicted of a violation as an accomplice under section 12.1-03-01.

3. Every act which by this chapter is made criminal when committed with reference to the election of a candidate is equally criminal when committed with reference to the determination of a question submitted to qualified electors to be decided by votes cast at an election.

16.1-01-13. Term limits for United States senators and representatives in Congress.

A person is permanently ineligible to have that person’s name placed on the ballot at any election for the office of United States senator or representative in Congress if, by the start of the term for which the election is being held, that person will have served as a United States senator or a representative in Congress, or in any combination of those offices, for at least twelve years.

16.1-01-13.1. Term limits for United States senators and representatives in Congress. (Contingent effective date – See note)

A person is ineligible to have that person’s name placed on the ballot at any election for the office of United States senator or representative in Congress if, by the start of the term for which the election is being held, that person will have served as a United States senator or a representative in Congress, or in any combination of those offices, for at least twelve years. However, if that person is still otherwise eligible to hold the office, the disqualification imposed by this section ceases after two years have elapsed since the disqualification last affected that person’s eligibility for placement on the ballot.

16.1-01-14. Statement of intent.

In enacting this measure, the people of North Dakota:

1. Recognize that, along with the rest of the people of the United States, we have bestowed certain powers on the state and federal governments, and the governmental power flows ultimately from the people, not to them.
2. Do so in the partial exercise of our duty to elect representatives in Congress, under article I, section 2 of the Constitution of the United States, and our duty to elect United States senators, under the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
3. Recognize that the United States Supreme Court has never held that the people of a state do not have the constitutional power to establish term limits for federal legislators from their state.
4. Recognize that certain restrictions are placed on our ability to choose federal legislators, such that we could not, for example, elect a person twenty-eight years old to the senate or require a religious test for a federal legislator.
5. Assert that, aside from the requirements explicitly imposed by the Constitution of the United States, our power with respect to election of federal legislators is plenary.
6. Note that, under the Constitution of the United States, we have certain rights to control suffrage in elections, regulating such matters as residency, ballot access, and voting methods. As the possessors of the power to regulate suffrage, we also have the power to regulate certain qualifications of the agents we appoint by exercising our suffrage.
7. Exercise the legislative power we reserved to ourselves in section 1 of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota.
8. Recognize that, just as the federal Hatch Act [5 U.S.C. 7324 et seq.] restricts the candidacies of otherwise eligible persons from holding elected office, we have the same salutary purpose as does the Hatch Act, namely preventing an incumbent party from using government power to entrench itself permanently into government office.
9. Are mindful of the United States Supreme Court’s statement, in Garcia v. San Antonio Metro Transit Authority, 469 U.S. 528, 551 (1985), that state control of the election process is supposed to be a protection of the state peoples from the national government.

10. Recognize that increased concentration of power in the hands of incumbents has made this state’s electoral system less free, less competitive, and most importantly, less representative.
11. Recognize that our interests are best served by having our United States senators and representatives in Congress be mindful of their origins and return to our ranks whence they came.
12. Make the following declarations and historical findings:

a. James Madison, in No. 57 of The Federalist Papers, predicted that the house of representatives would always be responsive to the will of the people because that house would be bound by the same laws they impose on the people. President Madison’s prediction was wrong and Congress has arrogated to itself powers not granted to the people, a recent notorious example being the bank of the house of representatives in which members were allowed to kite checks. President Madison’s prediction was wrong in that Congress has oppressed the people with laws from which it exempts itself, recent examples including minimum wage, discrimination, occupational safety, and other laws.
b. The appearance of corruption and the lack of competitiveness for entrenched incumbency seats has lessened voter participation and that is counterproductive to the purposes of a representative republic.
c. Our vital interests in maintaining the integrity of the political process have been harmed by these and other factors. Therefore, term limitation is the best method by which we can ensure that our vital interests are guarded.

13. Believe this measure is constitutional and intend it to be so. Therefore, even if a court holds any portion of this measure unconstitutional, thereby substituting its own judgment for that we have expressed in enacting this measure, the legislative council shall require the publisher of the North Dakota Century Code to include the text of this measure, in the manner as if not so held but with appropriate annotation, to stand as a testament to our expressed will, and as a memorial to the defiance of that will by whatever court holds this measure unconstitutional. Furthermore, if any part of this measure is held unconstitutional, we intend that the rest of it be deemed effective, to the maximum extent permitted under section 1-02-20.

16.1-01-15. Secretary of state to establish and maintain an election fund.

The secretary of state shall establish and maintain a fund, known as the election fund, in the state treasury for the purpose of depositing payments and grants made to the state under the provisions of sections 101, 101(c), and 906, and title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 15301, 42 U.S.C. 15545, 42 U.S.C. 15481-15502]
and funds appropriated by the state. The moneys in the election fund and any interest earnings on the election fund must be used for the exclusive purpose of carrying out activities of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and are subject to chapter 54-16.

16.1-01-16. Secretary of state to establish a uniform state-based administrative complaint procedure.

The secretary of state shall establish a uniform state-based administrative complaint procedure to remedy grievances according to section 402 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 15512]. The complaint procedure must be uniform and nondiscriminatory and address complaints of violations of any provision of title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, including a violation that has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur. A complaint filed under the complaint procedure must be in writing, notarized, and be signed and sworn by the person filing the complaint. The secretary of state is authorized to consolidate complaints. At the request of a complainant, the secretary of state shall establish a procedure for providing a review on the record. If the secretary of state determines there is a violation of a provision of title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 15481-15502], the secretary of state shall determine and provide an appropriate remedy. If the secretary of state determines that a violation of title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 has not occurred, the secretary of state shall dismiss the complaint and publish the results of the review. The secretary of state shall make a final determination with respect to a complaint within ninety days of the date the complaint is filed with the secretary of state, unless the complainant consents to a longer period of time for the secretary of state to make a determination. If the secretary of state fails to meet the ninety-day deadline for determining a complaint, the complaint must be resolved within sixty days under an alternative dispute resolution procedure.

16.1-01-17. Estimated fiscal impact of an initiated measure.

At least ninety days before a statewide election at which an initiated measure will be voted upon, the legislative council shall coordinate the determination of the estimated fiscal impact of the initiated measure. Upon notification from the secretary of state that signed petitions have been submitted for placement of an initiated measure on the ballot, the legislative management shall hold hearings, receive public testimony, and gather information on the estimated fiscal impact of the measure. Each agency, institution, or department shall provide information requested in the format and timeframe prescribed by the legislative council for identifying the estimated fiscal impact of an initiated measure. At least thirty days before the public vote on the measure, the legislative council shall submit a statement of the estimated fiscal impact of the measure to the secretary of state. Upon receipt, the secretary of state shall include a notice within the analysis required by section 16.1-01-07 specifying where copies of the statement of the estimated fiscal impact can be obtained. Within thirty days of the close of the first complete fiscal year after the effective date of an initiated measure approved by the voters, the agencies, institutions, or departments that provided the estimates of the fiscal impact of the measure to the legislative management under this section shall submit a report to the legislative council on the actual fiscal impact for the first complete fiscal year resulting from provisions of the initiated measure and a comparison to the estimates provided to the legislative management under this section and the legislative council shall issue a report of the actual fiscal impact of the initiated measure.

CHAPTER 16.1-02 – CENTRAL VOTER FILE

16.1-02-01. Permanent central voter file.

A permanent, centralized electronic database of voters, to be known as the central voter file, is established with the offices of the secretary of state and county auditors linked together by a centralized statewide system. The county auditor is chief custodian of the central voter file records in each county. The secretary of state shall maintain the central voter file. The central voter file must be accessible by the secretary of state and all county auditors for purposes of preventing and determining voter fraud, making changes and updates, and generating information, including pollbooks, reports, inquiries, forms, and voter lists.

16.1-02-02. Costs of creating and maintaining a central voter file.

The creation of the central voter file and its maintenance through June 30, 2011, must be paid for with funds from the state’s election fund, provided the election fund contains adequate funding to create and maintain the central voter file. The creation of the central voter file and its maintenance through June 30, 2011, may not be paid for from funds in the secretary of state’s budget, the state’s general fund, or from county funds. Beginning July 1, 2011, the offices required to perform the functions and duties of this chapter shall bear the costs incurred in performing those duties and the secretary of state shall pay the costs of operating and maintaining the central voter file. As used in this section, costs of maintaining the central voter file mean costs of annual software licenses, hosting costs for the software in the state data center, costs of necessary enhancements to the software, and the costs for implementing the duties and responsibilities of the secretary of state’s office relating to the central voter file.

16.1-02-03. Secretary of state to establish the central voter file with department of transportation and county auditors.

1. Not later than the primary election in 2008, the secretary of state shall establish the central voter file in cooperation with the department of transportation and county auditors.
2. The secretary of state shall establish the initial central voter file from records maintained by the department of transportation. Each county auditor shall compare the initial central voter file against all precinct pollbooks used in the auditor’s county during and created from the general elections in the two previous election years and any reasonably reliable updates made by the county auditor since the general elections in the two previous election years. Any individual contained in the initial central voter file who voted at either of the general elections in the two previous election years must be designated as “active” in the initial central voter file. Any individual contained in the initial central voter file who did not vote at either of the general elections in the two previous election years must be designated as “inactive” in the initial central voter file.
3. Each individual contained in the initial central voter file must be assigned a unique identifier. An individual’s unique identifier must be randomly generated and assigned to the individual.
4. When establishing the initial central voter file from the records maintained by the department of transportation and the pollbooks from the general elections in the two previous election years, the secretary of state and county auditors shall attempt to correct address errors and misspellings of names.

16.1-02-04. Precinct boundaries changed – Change to the central voter file.

When the boundaries of a precinct are changed, the county auditor shall immediately update the voter records for that precinct in the central voter file to accurately reflect those changes. The county auditor shall provide to the secretary of state all materials requested for existing precincts or to assist in making or verifying the required changes.

16.1-02-05. Entry of new voters into the central voter file – Query of the central voter file for double voting – Postelection verification.

1. Within forty-five days following an election, the county auditor shall enter the name and required information of each individual who voted at the last election who is not already contained in the central voter file and update any required information requested and obtained at the last election for any individual contained in the central voter file.
2. The secretary of state, with the assistance of the county auditors, within eighty-five days following an election, shall query the central voter file to determine if any individual voted more than once during the preceding election. The secretary of state shall immediately notify the county auditor and state’s attorney in each affected county for further investigation.
3. Upon return of any nonforwardable mail from an election official, the county auditor shall ascertain the name and address of that individual. If the individual is no longer at the address recorded in the central voter file, the county auditor shall transfer the voter to the correct precinct in the central voter file or notify the county of the voter’s new residence so the voter record can be transferred to the correct county. If a notice mailed at least sixty days after the return of the first nonforwardable mail is also returned by the postal service, the county auditor shall designate the individual as “inactive” in the central voter file.

16.1-02-06. Reporting deceased individuals and changes of names – Changes to records in the central voter file.

1. The state health officer shall provide for the regular reporting to the secretary of state the name, address, date of birth, and county of residence, if available, of each individual eighteen years of age or older who has died while maintaining residence in this state since the last report. Within thirty days after receiving a report, the secretary of state shall designate each individual included in the report as “deceased” in the central voter file. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute a list of individuals designated as “deceased” to each county auditor.
2. The state health officer shall provide for the regular reporting to the secretary of state the name, address, date of birth, and county of residence, if available, of each individual eighteen years of age or older whose name was changed by marriage since the last report. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute a list of those individuals to each county auditor.
3. After receiving notice of death of an individual who has died outside the county, the county auditor shall designate that individual as “deceased” in the central voter file. Notice must be in the form of a printed obituary or a written statement signed by an individual having knowledge of the death of the individual.

16.1-02-07. Reporting changes of names – Changes to records in the central voter file.

The state court administrator shall provide for the regular reporting to the secretary of state the name, address, date of birth, and county of residence, if available, of each individual eighteen years of age or older whose name was changed by divorce or any order or decree of the court since the last report. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute a list of those individuals to each county auditor. Any individual who has obtained a protection order under section 14-07.1-03 or who is protected by a disorderly conduct restraining order under section 12.1-31.2-01 must be listed in the central voter file with a “secured active” designation. A “secured active” designation means a record maintained as an active voter for pollbook purposes, but otherwise is an exempt record. The state court administrator or the bureau of criminal investigation shall make available upon request of the secretary of state the name of each individual who has obtained such an order.

16.1-02-08. Reporting incarcerations – Changes to records in the central voter file.
Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 181, § 7.

16.1-02-08.1. Reporting incarcerations – Changes to records in the central voter file.

1. The director of the department of corrections and rehabilitation shall provide a report to the secretary of state, including the name, address, date of birth, date of sentence, effective date of the sentence, and county in which the conviction occurred, if available, of each individual who has been convicted of a felony and incarcerated under the legal and physical custody of the department of corrections and rehabilitation since the last report. The report must be provided every Monday morning. The secretary of state shall designate each individual in the report with an ineligible voter status in the central voter file.
2. The director of the department of corrections and rehabilitation shall provide a report to the secretary of state, including the name, address, and date of birth, if available, of each individual previously convicted of and incarcerated for a felony whose civil rights have been restored as provided in chapter 12.1-33 since the last report. The report must be provided every Monday morning. The secretary of state shall change the ineligible voter status of the individual in the central voter file to the appropriate status.
3. An individual who has been convicted of and incarcerated for a felony and whose civil rights have been restored as provided under chapter 12.1-33 must be allowed to vote if the individual meets the qualifications of an elector under section 16.1-01-04. The county auditor shall change the status of the individual’s record in the central voter file as necessary.

16.1-02-09. Department of transportation to report updates to the secretary of state.

The department of transportation shall report regularly to the secretary of state any relevant changes and updates to records maintained by the department of transportation which may require changes and updates to be made to records of individuals contained in the central voter file. The report must include the individual’s:

1. Complete legal name, including both previous and current names if changed;
2. Complete residential address, including both previous and current residential addresses if changed;
3. Complete mailing address, including both previous and current mailing addresses if changed;
4. Driver’s license or nondriver identification number, including both previous and current numbers if changed; and
5. Citizenship status, including both previous and current citizenship status if changed.

16.1-02-10. Posting voting history – Failure to vote – Individuals designated inactive.

Within seventy-five days after each election, each county auditor shall post the voting history for each individual who voted in the election. After the close of each even-numbered calendar year, the secretary of state shall determine if any individual has not voted during the preceding four years and shall change the status of each such individual to “inactive” in the central voter file. The secretary of state shall prepare a report to each county auditor which contains the name of each individual who has been designated as “inactive” in the central voter file. Although not counted in an election, a late absentee ballot from an individual may not be used to designate an individual as “inactive” in the central voter file.

16.1-02-11. Secretary of state to adopt rules for the purpose of maintaining the central voter file.

The secretary of state shall adopt rules and procedures according to subsection 3 of section 16.1-01-01 for the purpose of implementing this chapter and for updating and maintaining the central voter file. The rules must:

1. Provide for the establishment and maintenance of a central voter file.
2. Provide for the generation and assignment of a unique identifier to each individual contained in the central voter file.
3. Provide procedures for entering data into the central voter file.
4. Provide for any additional information to be requested of and obtained from an individual which is to be maintained in the central voter file, not already provided by law, but necessary for the proper administration of the central voter file.
5. Provide for the exchange of records maintained by the appropriate state and county agencies and officials for receiving regular reports regarding individuals and records of individuals contained in the central voter file.
6. Allow each county auditor and the secretary of state to add, modify, and delete information from the central voter file to ensure accurate and up-to-date records.
7. Allow each county auditor and the secretary of state to have access to the central voter file for review, search, and inquiry capabilities.
8. Provide security and protection of all information contained in the central voter file and to ensure that unauthorized access and entry is prohibited.
9. Provide a system for each county to identify the precinct to which an individual should be assigned for voting purposes.

16.1-02-12. Information contained and maintained in the central voter file.

The central voter file must contain the following information for each individual included in the file:

1. The complete legal name of the individual.
2. The complete residential address of the individual.
3. The complete mailing address of the individual, if different from the individual’s residential address.
4. The unique identifier generated and assigned to the individual.
5. A designation showing whether the individual’s ability to vote in a precinct has been inactivated as a result of death or because the individual is no longer a resident of the precinct according to section 16.1-01-04.
6. The county, legislative district, city or township, school district, county commissioner district, if applicable, precinct name, and precinct number in which the individual resides.
7. Beginning in 2008, four years of an individual’s voting history, if applicable.
8. Date of birth.
9. The individual’s driver’s license or nondriver identification card number issued by the department of transportation.
10. Any other information requested of and obtained from the individual deemed necessary by the secretary of state for the proper administration of the central voter file.

16.1-02-13. Information contained in pollbooks generated from the central voter file.

The county auditor shall generate a pollbook for each precinct in the county from the central voter file by the day before an election. With the exception of a record designated “secured active” and the voter’s birth date and driver’s license or nondriver identification card number issued by the department of transportation, which are exempt records, the precinct pollbooks are open records under section 44-04-18. The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures for generating pollbooks and for transporting the pollbooks to the election judges for use on election day. Pollbooks generated from the central voter file must contain the following information for each individual contained therein:

1. The complete legal name of the individual.
2. The complete residential address of the individual.
3. The complete mailing address of the individual, if different from the individual’s residential address.
4. The unique identifier generated and assigned to the individual.
5. The county, legislative district, city or township, school district, county commissioner district, if applicable, precinct name, and precinct number in which the individual resides. A ballot-style code identifying this information may be used in place of the information required by this subsection.
6. Any other information requested of and obtained from the individual deemed necessary by the secretary of state for the proper administration of the pollbook.

16.1-02-14. Voter lists and reports to be made available for jury management.

1. By February first of each year, the secretary of state shall transmit information from the central voter file to the state court administrator for the purpose of compiling the master list of jurors under chapter 27-09.1.
2. After each general election at which the president of the United States is elected, the secretary of state shall transmit information from the central voter file to the jury administrator for the federal court in North Dakota.

16.1-02-15. Voter lists and reports may be made available for election-related purposes – Funds received.

Except as otherwise provided by law, a voter list or a report generated from the central voter file may be made available to a candidate, political party, or a political committee for election-related purposes. Any information obtained by a candidate, political party, or political committee for election-related purposes from a list or report generated from the central voter file may not be sold or distributed for a purpose that is not election-related. Except for information identified in the central voter file under subsections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10 of section 16.1-02-12, which may be made available to a candidate, political party, or political committee for election-related purposes, information in the central voter file is an exempt record. An individual’s record that is designated as “secured active” is an exempt record and is not available to any candidate, political party, or political committee for any purpose. Any funds received by the secretary of state to pay the cost of producing a report or list of voters contained in the central voter file must be deposited in the secretary of state’s general services operating fund.

16.1-02-16. Violations – Penalties.

1. An individual may not intentionally:

a. Remove an individual from the central voter file or change a record of an individual contained in the central voter file in a manner or for a purpose not authorized by law; or
b. Add a name of an individual to the central voter file or add a record of an individual contained in the central voter file in a manner or for a purpose not authorized by law.

2. A deputy, clerk, employee, or other subordinate of a county auditor who has knowledge or reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred shall immediately transmit a report of the knowledge or belief to the county auditor, except if the suspected violation may have been committed by the county auditor, in which case the report must be immediately transmitted to the state’s attorney, together with any evidence of the violation. A county auditor who has knowledge or reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred shall immediately transmit a report of the knowledge or belief to the state’s attorney of the county where the violation is believed to have occurred, together with any evidence of the violation. The county auditor shall also immediately send a copy of the report to the secretary of state.
3. An individual who intentionally violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor, unless a different penalty is specifically provided by law.

CHAPTER 16.1-03 – PARTY COMMITTEE ORGANIZATION

16.1-03-01. Party caucus – Time and manner of holding – Caucus call – Notice.

1. Each legislative district party shall organize in conformance with the state legislative district boundaries as established by the legislative assembly and as set forth under chapter 54-03.
2. On or before May fifteenth following the last preceding general election, a party caucus must be held by every legislative district party. The legislative district party may organize the caucus by precinct or on an at-large basis for the entire district.
3. The legislative district chairman of each party shall set the date and time for the party caucus. If there is not a duly elected district chairman in a legislative district, the state party executive committee may issue the call for the caucus. The call must contain the following:

a. Name of party.
b. Legislative district number.
c. Date of caucus.
d. Place of caucus.
e. Hours of caucus.
f. A statement of the business to be conducted.
g. The name of the district chairman or, if there is not a duly elected district chairman, the member of the state party executive committee issuing the call.

4. The district chairman or, if there is not a duly elected district chairman, the state party executive committee shall provide ten days’ published notice in the official newspaper in circulation in the district. The notices must contain that information set forth in subsection 3.

16.1-03-02. Who may participate in and vote at caucus.

1. Only those individuals who are qualified electors under section 16.1-01-04 may vote or be elected as officers at the party caucus.
2. In case the right of an individual to participate at the caucus is challenged, the question of the individual’s right to participate must be decided by a vote of the whole caucus. An individual so challenged may not vote on the question of the individual’s right to participate in the caucus, and a two-thirds vote of the whole caucus is required to exclude an individual from participation.
3. An individual may not vote or participate at more than one caucus in any one year.

16.1-03-03. Political parties may elect committeemen.

If a political party chooses to organize by precinct, the party in each voting precinct of this state is entitled to elect one precinct committeeman for each two hundred fifty votes, or majority of a fraction thereof, cast for the party’s presidential electors, governor, attorney general, or secretary of state in the precinct in the last general election. Each precinct committeeman must be an elector of the precinct in which the committeeman resides and must be elected for a two-year term.

16.1-03-04. Candidates elected at caucus – Tie vote – Canvassing vote.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-05. Vacancies in office of precinct committeeman – Filling.

A vacancy in the office of precinct committeeman, which occurs after the organization of the district committee, may be filled by appointment, as authorized by the district party bylaws.

16.1-03-06. District committee of political party – How constituted.
Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-07. Meeting of district committee – Organization.

1. If a legislative district chooses to organize by precinct in every odd-numbered year, the district committee of each party shall meet within fifteen days after the caucus provided for in section 16.1-03-01. The day, hour, and site must be set by the existing district committee chairman. Any incumbent members of the legislative assembly from the party and any other individual provided for by the district committee’s bylaws constitute the district committee of the party. The district committee of a party must be organized to coincide with the geographical boundary lines of state legislative districts. Each member of any committee provided for in this chapter must be a qualified elector.
2. The district committee shall select the officers of the district committee and forward to the state committee the name and contact information of the district committee chairman. The district committee may appoint an executive committee consistent with the bylaws of the district committee. That party’s nominees for and members of the legislative assembly shall serve as members of the executive committee.
3. If the office of chairman becomes vacant, the vacancy may be filled as provided by the district party bylaws.
4. The bylaws of the state committee or state party may not include any requirement providing directives or procedures for the method of the organization of district committees nor may the state committee or state party take any action or impose any requirement regarding district party organization unless a district lacks a district committee that is able to carry out the responsibilities under this chapter. A state party may not take any action that is inconsistent with this chapter.

16.1-03-08. State committee – Membership.

The state committee of each party consists of the chairman of each of the district committees of the party and any individual provided for in the bylaws of the state committee.

16.1-03-09. Proxies permissible – Exception.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-10. Member of committee to be qualified elector – Term of member.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-11. State committee – Meetings – Organization.

The state committee shall meet on or before July first of each odd-numbered year. The committee shall organize by selecting officers as provided for by the state committee bylaws and by adopting rules and modes of procedure, including rules and procedures regarding the selection of state convention delegates. Within thirty days following the state committee’s organization, the newly elected chairman shall notify the secretary of state of the names of the party officers selected.

16.1-03-12. Meeting of district committee to elect delegates to state party convention – Optional precinct caucus – Proxies.

Repealed by S.L. 2013, ch. 168, § 16.

16.1-03-13. When state party convention held.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-14. State party convention.

1. The party state committee shall set the place and time of the state party convention to be held in each general election year. Subject to party rules and bylaws, the state party convention may:

a. Nominate the legal number of qualified electors for its party for the offices of presidential electors.
b. Elect the required number of delegates and alternates to the national party convention.
c. Endorse candidates as provided under subsection 2.

2. The candidate or candidates for endorsement or election must be declared endorsed or elected under the rules of the party, and the chairman and secretary of the convention shall issue certificates of endorsement as provided in section 16.1-11-06 or certificates of election. The names of the qualified electors nominated for presidential electors the party wishes to place on the general election ballot must be certified by the chairman and secretary of the convention to the secretary of state by four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the general election to be placed upon the general election ballot as provided in section 16.1-06-07.1.

16.1-03-15. Expenses of delegates to national conventions.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 247, § 1.

16.1-03-16. Filling vacancy occurring in office of national committeeman or committeewoman.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-17. Political party reorganization after redistricting.

If redistricting of the legislative assembly becomes effective after the organization of political parties as provided in this chapter and before the primary or the general election, the political parties, in the newly established precincts and districts, shall proceed to reorganize as closely as possible in conformance with this chapter to assure compliance with primary election filing deadlines.

16.1-03-18. Unfair and corrupt election practices applicable to chapter.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 189, § 12.

16.1-03-19. Organizations allowed to nominate statewide and legislative candidates.

Repealed by S.L. 2013, ch. 168, § 16.

16.1-03-20. Political parties may conduct presidential preference caucuses.

Repealed by S.L. 2009, ch. 181, § 1.

16.1-03-21. Organizations allowed to nominate statewide and legislative candidates.

A political organization may not endorse candidates or have candidates petition for president, vice president, Congress, statewide office, or legislative office as set forth in chapter 16.1-11, unless the organization:

1. Organized according to all requirements of this chapter;
2. Had printed on the ballot at the last preceding general election the names of a set of presidential electors pledged to the election of the party’s candidate for president and vice president, a candidate for governor, a candidate for attorney general, or a candidate for secretary of state and those candidates for presidential electors, governor, attorney general, or secretary of state received at least five percent of the total vote cast for presidential electors, the office of governor, attorney general, or secretary of state within this state at that election and organized according to all requirements of this chapter; or
3. Filed a petition with the secretary of state signed by the number of electors required under section 16.1-11-30 to qualify to endorse candidates or to have candidates petition to be included on the primary election ballot in a consolidated column or on a special election ballot.

CHAPTER 16.1-04 – PRECINCTS AND VOTING PLACES

16.1-04-01. Precincts – Duties and responsibilities of the board of county commissioners or the governing body of the city.

1. The board of county commissioners of each county:

a. Shall divide the county into precincts and establish the precinct boundaries, except that within the boundaries of any incorporated city, the governing body of the city shall divide the city into precincts and establish their boundaries pursuant to title 40. Any number of townships or parts of townships may be joined into a single precinct provided that no precinct may encompass more than one legislative district.
b. May alter the number and size of precincts within the county by combining or dividing precincts. However, the governing body of any incorporated city has the authority to alter the number and size of precincts located within its boundaries. The board of county commissioners may relinquish the jurisdiction provided under subdivision a over all or any portion of a township or townships under its jurisdiction to a city for the purpose of establishing a voting precinct if a majority of the governing body of the city agrees to assume such jurisdiction. The governing body of a city, by majority vote, may return jurisdiction granted herein to the county and the county shall accept that jurisdiction.

2. When establishing precincts under subsection 1, a board of county commissioners, in cooperation with the county auditor, or a city governing body shall consult with and seek input regarding the size, number, and proposed boundaries of the precincts from representatives of the political parties organized within the county. Upon the request of the district chairman of a political party, a board of county commissioners, in consultation with the county auditor, or the governing body of a city shall consider proposals to change precinct boundaries.
3. The precincts may not be established later than December thirty-first of the year immediately preceding an election cycle and not later than seventy days before a special election.

16.1-04-02. Polling places – Duties and responsibilities of the board of county commissioners or the governing body of the city.

The board of county commissioners of each county:

1. Shall designate one or more polling places for each precinct. However, the polling places for precincts located within the boundaries of any incorporated city must be designated, and altered if required, by the governing body of the city. Polling places may not be designated later than the sixty-fourth day before an election.
2. Shall provide that all polling places are accessible to the elderly and the physically disabled.
3. May utilize vote centers that contain all of the precincts in a county so that any qualified elector of the county may choose to cast a ballot in that polling place. Qualified electors may vote early at early voting precincts, by absentee ballot, at a polling place of their residential precinct, or at a county vote center. Vote center polling places must serve as a designated polling place for at least one precinct in the county in addition to serving as the site where any county voter may cast a ballot.
4. May change the location of a polling place previously established by the sixty-fourth day immediately preceding an election when there is good and sufficient reason. When a polling place is changed under this provision, the name and location of the new polling place must be prominently posted on or near the main entrance of the prior polling place on the date of the first election held following the change.

16.1-04-03. Time limitations.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 154, § 17.

CHAPTER 16.1-05 – ELECTION OFFICERS

16.1-05-01. Election officers.

At each primary, general, and special statewide or legislative district election, and at county elections, each polling place must have an election board in attendance. The election board must consist of an election inspector and at least two election judges. Counties utilizing polling places containing more than one precinct may choose to use one election board to supervise all precincts even if the precincts are within different legislative districts so long as each district chairman of each qualified political party is given the opportunity to have representation on the election board if desired.

1. The election inspector must be selected in the following manner:

a. Except as provided in subdivision b, in all precincts established by the governing body of an incorporated city pursuant to chapter 16.1-04, the governing body shall appoint the election inspectors for those precincts and fill all vacancies occurring in those offices.
b. In all multiprecinct polling places containing both rural and city precincts, the county auditor, with the approval of the majority of the board of county commissioners, shall appoint the election inspectors and fill all vacancies occurring in those offices. The selection must be made on the basis of the inspector’s knowledge of the election procedure.
c. The election inspector shall serve until a successor is named. If an inspector fails to appear for any training session without excuse, the office is deemed vacant and the auditor shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy.
All appointments required to be made under this section must be made at least forty days preceding an election.

2. The election judges must be appointed in the following manner:

a. Except as provided in subdivision b:

(1) The election judges for each polling place must be appointed in writing by the district chairs representing the two parties that cast the largest number of votes in the state at the last general election. In polling places in which over one thousand votes are cast in any election, the county auditor may request each district party chair to appoint an additional election judge.
(2) The district party chair shall notify the county auditor of the counties in which the precincts are located of the appointment of the election judges at least forty days before the primary, general, or special election. If this notice is not received within the time specified in this section, the county auditor shall appoint the judges. If the county auditor has exhausted all practicable means to select judges from within the boundaries of the precincts within the polling place and vacancies still remain, the county auditor may select election judges who reside outside of the voting precinct but who reside within the polling place’s legislative districts. If vacancies still remain, the county auditor may select election judges who reside outside of the legislative districts but who reside within the county.

b. For special elections involving only no-party offices, the election official responsible for the administration of the election with the approval of the majority of the members of the applicable governing body shall appoint the election judges for each polling place.

3. If at any time before or during an election, it appears to an election inspector, by the affidavit of two or more qualified electors of the precinct, or precincts for a multiprecinct polling place, that any election judge is disqualified under this chapter, the inspector shall remove that judge at once and shall fill the vacancy by appointing a qualified individual of the same political party as that of the judge removed. If the disqualified judge had taken the oath of office as prescribed in this chapter, the inspector shall place the oath or affidavit before the state’s attorney of the county.
4. The election official responsible for the administration of the election, with the approval of the majority of the members of the applicable governing body, shall appoint the poll clerks for each polling place. However, no fewer than two poll clerks must be appointed for each polling place. Poll clerks must be appointed based on their knowledge of election matters, attention to detail, and on any necessary technical knowledge.

16.1-05-02. Qualifications of members of the board of election – Oath of office.

1.

a. Except as provided in subdivisions b and d, every member of the election board and each poll clerk must be a qualified elector of a precinct within the polling place boundaries in which the individual is assigned to work and must be eligible to vote at the polling place to which the individual is assigned unless the county auditor has exhausted all means to appoint election judges and clerks from within the voting precinct under subsection 2 of section 16.1-05-01.
b. A student enrolled in a high school or college in this state who has attained the age of sixteen is eligible to be appointed as a poll clerk if the student possesses the following qualifications:

(1) Is a United States citizen or will be a citizen at the time of the election at which the student will be serving as a member of an election board;
(2) Is a resident of this state and has resided in the precinct at least thirty days before the election; and
(3) Is a student in good standing attending a secondary or higher education institution.

c. A student appointed as a poll clerk may be excused from school attendance during the hours that the student is serving as a poll clerk, including training sessions, if the student submits a written request to be absent from school signed and approved by the student’s parent or guardian and by the school administrator and a certification from the county auditor stating the hours during which the student will serve. A student excused from school attendance under this subdivision may not be recorded as being absent on any date for which the excuse is operative. No more than two students may serve as poll clerks on an election board.
d. An individual who has attained the age of sixteen and has graduated from high school or obtained a general education degree from an accredited educational institution is eligible to be appointed as a poll clerk if the individual meets the qualifications of paragraphs 1 and 2 of subdivision b.

2. An individual may not serve as a member of the election board or as a poll clerk if the individual:

a. Has anything of value bet or wagered on the result of an election.
b. Is a candidate in that election.
c. Is the husband, wife, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, or sister, whether by birth or marriage, of the whole or the half-blood, of any candidate in that election.

3. Before assuming the duties, each member of the election board and each poll clerk severally shall take and subscribe an oath in substantially the following form:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be), that I will perform the duties of inspector, judge, or clerk (as the case may be) according to law and to the best of my ability, and that I will studiously endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit, and abuse in conducting the same.
The oath may be taken before any officer authorized by law to administer oaths, and in case no such officer is present at the opening of the polls, the inspector or election judges shall administer the oath to each other and to the poll clerks. The individual administering the oath shall cause an entry thereof to be made and subscribed by that individual and prefixed to each pollbook.
4. An individual serving as a member of the election board, before each election, shall attend a period of instruction conducted by the county auditor or the county auditor’s
designated representative, provided that the period of instruction has been conducted since the appointment of the election judges or election inspector.
5. If any member of the election board fails to appear at the hour appointed for the opening of the polls, the remainder of the board shall select an individual to serve in the absent individual’s place. In filling a vacancy in the office of election judge, the remainder of the board shall select an individual of the absent individual’s political party if such an individual is reasonably available. The office of election inspector or clerk may be filled by any qualified individual without regard to political affiliation. If no members of the election board appear at the hour appointed for opening the polls, the qualified electors present shall call the county auditor, city auditor, or school business manager, as appropriate, for instructions and then orally elect a board as nearly as possible in conformity with this section.

16.1-05-03. Secretary of state and county auditors to distribute election information – County auditor to provide instruction.

1. Not less than thirty days before any primary, general, or special election, the secretary of state shall provide an instruction manual approved by the attorney general, which in layman’s terms presents in detail the responsibilities of each election official. The secretary of state shall forward sufficient copies of this manual to each county auditor who shall distribute the manuals to each member of all the election boards in the county.
2. Before each primary and general election, each county auditor or the auditor’s designated representative shall conduct training sessions on election laws and election procedures for election officials in the county and may conduct training sessions before any special statewide or legislative district election. The session or sessions must be conducted at such place or places throughout the county as the county auditor determines to be necessary. Attendance at the session is mandatory for members of the election board and for poll clerks. The county auditor shall notify the members of the election boards, poll clerks, and the state’s attorney of the time and place of the session. The state’s attorney shall attend all sessions to give advice on election laws. The county auditor shall invite the district chairman in that county representing any political party casting at least five percent of the total votes cast for governor at the last election to attend the session at the chairman’s own expense. On the date of the course or courses, the county auditor may deliver to all election inspectors at the meeting the official ballots and all other materials as provided in chapter 16.1-06. Except as otherwise provided in this section, each person attending the course or courses must be compensated as provided in section 16.1-05-05.
3. An election official, at the option of the county auditor, may be excused from attending a third training session on election laws within a twelve-month period. If an election official has attended a training session within the six months preceding a special election, the election official must be compensated at the pay appropriate for those having attended a training session, as provided in section 16.1-05-05, for that election.

16.1-05-04. Duties of the members of the election board during polling hours.

1. The election inspector shall supervise the conduct of the election to ensure all election officials are properly performing their duties at the polling place. The election inspector shall assign duties so as to equally and fairly include both parties represented on the election board.
2. The election inspector shall assign ministerial duties to poll clerks, who shall carry out the ministerial duties assigned by the election inspector.
3. The election inspector shall assign the poll clerks to perform the function of maintaining the pollbook. The designated poll clerks shall maintain the pollbook. The pollbook must contain the name and address of each individual voting at the precinct and must be arranged in the form and manner prescribed by the secretary of state.
4. Each member of the election board shall remain on the premises of the polling place during the time the polls are open to prevent the occurrence of fraud, deceit, or other irregularity in the conduct of the election.
5. All members of the election board shall distribute ballots and other election materials to electors. An election judge from each party represented on the election board shall give any assistance requested by electors in marking ballots or operating electronic voting system devices.
6. Each member of the election board shall maintain order in the polling place.

16.1-05-05. Compensation of election officers.

The county auditors shall pay at least the state minimum wage to the relevant election officials. Members of the election board and poll clerks who attend the training sessions provided by section 16.1-05-03 must be paid at least the state minimum wage for the hours in attendance in the session in addition to necessary expenses and mileage. State, county, or other election officials who are required to incur expenses while performing duties in the election process may be reimbursed only for their actual and necessary expenses and mileage in the performance of those duties, in accordance with sections 11-10-15, 44-08-04, and 54-06-09. Other persons performing election duties must also be paid for expenses and mileage in like manner and amounts. Members of election boards who attend the training sessions provided by section 16.1-05-03 must be paid at least twenty-five percent more than the state minimum wage during the time spent in the performance of their election duties.

16.1-05-06. Challenging right to vote – Identification or affidavit required – Penalty for false swearing – Optional poll checkers.

Repealed by S.L. 2013, ch. 167, § 8.

16.1-05-07. Poll clerks to check identification and verify eligibility – Poll clerks to request, correct, and update incorrect information contained in the pollbook.

1. Before delivering a ballot to an individual in any election, the poll clerks shall require the individual to show a valid form of identification with the information required under section 16.1-01-04.1.
2.

a. When verifying an individual’s eligibility or when entering the name of an individual into the pollbook, poll clerks shall request, correct, and update any incorrect or incomplete information about an individual required to be included in the pollbook generated from the central voter file.
b. If the individual’s name is contained in the pollbook generated from the central voter file, the poll clerks shall verify the individual’s residential address and mailing address.
c. If the individual’s name is not contained in the pollbook generated from the central voter file but the individual is determined eligible to vote, the poll clerks shall record the individual’s name in the pollbook. The poll clerks shall request and obtain any additional information for the individual required to be included in the pollbook and the central voter file.

3. Poll clerks shall direct an individual who is attempting to vote in the incorrect precinct or who does not meet the thirty-day residency requirement to the proper precinct and polling place.

16.1-05-08. County auditor to provide election board members with precinct maps or precinct finder.

The county auditor shall provide each precinct election board with an accurate precinct map or precinct finder to assist the election board member in determining whether an address is located in that precinct and for determining which precinct and polling place to which to direct an individual who may be attempting to vote incorrectly in that precinct.

16.1-05-09. Election observers.

1. Election observers must be allowed uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including the certification of election technologies, early voting, absentee voting, voter appeals, vote tabulation, and recounts.
2. An election observer must wear a badge with the name of the individual and the name of the organization the individual is representing. An election observer may not wear any campaign material advocating voting for or against a candidate or for or against any position on a question on the ballot. An election observer may not interfere with any voter in the preparation or casting of the voter’s ballot or hinder or prevent the performance of the duties of any election official.

CHAPTER 16.1-06 – BALLOTS – VOTING MACHINES – ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS

16.1-06-01. Ballots furnished at public expense – Exceptions.

Except for local elections, election ballots must be printed and distributed at county expense. For a local election, the expense must be a charge against the local subdivision in which the election is held. For the purpose of this chapter, local elections include elections in townships, school districts, cities, and park districts.

16.1-06-02. Ballots prepared by county auditor or local official.

For a local election, the ballots must be printed and distributed under the direction of the auditor or clerk of the local subdivision. For all other elections, ballots must be printed and distributed under the direction of the county auditor, subject to the supervision and approval of the secretary of state as to the legal sufficiency of the form, style, wording, and contents of the ballots.

16.1-06-03. Official ballots only to be used.

The official ballot prepared by the county auditor or the local auditor or clerk must contain the name of each candidate whose name has been certified to or filed with such auditor or clerk in the manner provided in this title. Ballots other than official ballots prepared by the county auditor or local auditor or clerk may not be cast or counted in any election governed by this title. The list of officers and candidates and the statements of measures and questions to be submitted to the voters must be deemed an official ballot in precincts in which electronic voting systems are used.

16.1-06-04. Form and quality of ballots generally.

All official ballots prepared under this title must:

1. Be printed on uniform quality and color of paper in an ink color suitable to make the ballot clearly legible and compatible with the electronic voting system requirements necessary to tabulate the votes.
2. Be of sufficient length to contain the names of all candidates to be voted for at that election.
3. Have the language “Vote for no more than name (or names)” placed immediately under the name of each office.
4. Have printed thereon “To vote for the candidate of your choice, you must darken the oval next to the name of that candidate. To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, you must darken the oval next to the blank line provided and write that person’s name on the blank line.”
5. Leave sufficient space for each office to write a name, or names, as the case may be, in lieu of those printed on the ballot.
6. Immediately preceding and on the same line as the name of each candidate must be printed an oval in which the voter is to mark the voter’s choice by darkening the oval next to the name of the candidate chosen.
7. Provide text boxes at the bottom of the first side of the ballot. The text box at the bottom of the first column is to contain the words “Official Ballot, the name of the county, the name or number of the precinct, and the date of the election”. The text box is to contain the words “All ballots, other than those used to vote absentee, must first be initialed by appropriate election officials in order to be counted”. The text box at the bottom of the third column is to contain the word “initials” preceded by a blank line where the judge or inspector shall initial the ballot.
Any precinct that uses an electronic counting machine may require the use of a particular writing instrument to mark the ballot so the ballots may be properly counted.
The ballot must contain the names of all candidates, the contents of measures as required by section 16.1-06-09, and the statements of questions to be submitted to the voters. The ballot must be arranged in a manner and form approximating as far as possible the requirements of this section.

16.1-06-05. Form of general election ballot.

The official ballots provided for in this title for partisan election at general elections must be prepared as follows:

1. The ballots must be of sufficient length and width to contain a continuous listing of the designation of all the offices to be voted for.
2. On the top left-hand side of such ballot must begin a continuous listing of the designation of each office to be voted for, and under the designation of each office all of the names of the candidates duly nominated for that office must be printed.
3. The names of candidates nominated for each office must appear under the designation of that office, and under each candidate’s name must appear, in smaller type, the appropriate party designation for each candidate. If a candidate has been nominated by petition, the designation under that candidate’s name, in smaller type, must be “independent nomination”.
4. The names of candidates under the designation of each office must be alternated in the printing of the official ballot in the same manner as is provided for the primary election ballot.
5. The size of type must be as specified by the secretary of state.
The list of offices and candidates and the statements of measures and questions to be submitted to the voters must be arranged on the ballot in a manner and form approximating as far as possible the requirements of this section.

16.1-06-06. General election ballots for persons authorized to vote for presidential electors only – Prepared separately – General law governs.

In addition to the ballots prepared pursuant to section 16.1-06-05, ballots must be prepared containing only the names of duly certified candidates for presidential electors for use by persons authorized to vote for those offices by law. The provisions of this title regarding the preparation, form, arrangement of names, and delivering of ballots must govern in regard to the general election ballot prepared pursuant to this section. The ballots prepared pursuant to this section must be delivered to electors who qualify only to vote for presidential electors pursuant to sections 16.1-14-18 and 16.1-14-19.

16.1-06-07. Arrangement of names on ballot for presidential electors.

Repealed by S.L. 1981, ch. 230, § 8; 1981, ch. 240, § 3.

16.1-06-07.1. Arrangement of names on ballot – Presidential electors.

In presidential election years the ballot provided for in section 16.1-06-05 must include the designation of the office of president and vice president as the first listing of the continuous listing of the designation of each office to be voted for. The names of presidential electors, presented in one certificate of nomination, must be arranged in a group enclosed in brackets under the designation of the office of president and vice president on the right side of the ballot column. To the left and opposite the center of each group of electors’ names must be printed in bold type the surname of the presidential candidate represented and in line with such surname must be placed a single oval. A mark within such oval by the voter must be designated as a vote for all the electors. The appropriate party designation must appear, in smaller type, under the surname of the presidential candidate represented.

16.1-06-08. No-party ballot at general elections – Contents – Delivered to elector.

There must be a separate no-party ballot at the general election upon which must be placed the names of all candidates who have been nominated on the no-party primary ballot at the primary election. Such ballots must be in the same form as the no-party primary ballot and must be delivered to each elector by the proper election official. The separate ballot may be on the same paper or electronic ballot, but the list of offices and candidates must be entitled “no-party ballot” in a manner to clearly indicate the separation of the no-party list of offices and candidates from the party list of offices and candidates.

16.1-06-09. Constitutional amendments and initiated and referred measures – Manner of stating question – Explanation of effect of vote – Order of listing.

Constitutional amendments or measures, initiated measures, and referred measures, duly certified to the county auditor by the secretary of state, or any other question or measure to be voted on, except the election of public officers at any primary, general, or special election including officers subject to a recall petition, must, unless otherwise determined by the secretary of state, be stated in full in a legible manner on the ballot. If the secretary of state concludes the amendment or measure is too long to make it practicable to print in full, the secretary of state in consultation with the attorney general shall cause to be printed a short, concise summary, which must fairly represent the substance of the constitutional amendment or initiated or referred measure. After the foregoing statement, the secretary of state shall cause to be printed another short, concise statement of the effect of an affirmative or negative vote on the constitutional amendment or initiated or referred measure. This explanatory statement must be drafted by the secretary of state in consultation with the attorney general. The words “Yes” and “No” must be printed on the ballot at the close of the statement regarding the effect of an affirmative or negative vote, in separate lines with an oval before each statement in which the voter is to indicate how the voter desires to vote on the question by darkening the oval. If two or more amendments or questions are to be voted on, they must be printed on the same ballot.
The measures to be submitted to the electors must be grouped and classified as constitutional measures, initiated statutes, or referred statutes and must be placed within such groups or classifications by the secretary of state in the order received, for the purpose of placing them on the ballot. Measures submitted by the legislative assembly must be placed first on the ballot within their classification in the order approved by the legislative assembly. Constitutional measures shall be placed first on the ballot, initiated statutes second, and referred statutes third. After all the measures have been placed within the appropriate group or classification, all measures must be numbered consecutively, without regard to the various groups or classifications.

16.1-06-09.1. Constitutional amendments – Statement of intent.

Repealed by S.L. 1995, ch. 206, § 5.

16.1-06-10. Voting machines authorized.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 171, § 33.

16.1-06-10.1. Electronic counting machines authorized – Sharing of machines.

The use of electronic counting machines is authorized in any election precinct upon finding and declaration by resolution of the city governing body, and also of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the election precinct is located, that the use is advisable or necessary in that precinct. Thereafter, electronic counting machines may be procured, on a temporary or permanent basis, under terms and conditions, including assumption and division of cost of acquisition and maintenance by the city and county, agreed upon by the respective governing bodies, provided the machines being procured have been certified for procurement and use in the state by the secretary of state according to section 16.1-06-26. Two or more counties may enter an agreement concerning the shared use and transport between counties of electronic counting machines and apportioning of expenses. Any electronic counting machine used in an election must be so constructed that when properly operated it registers or records correctly and accurately every vote cast.

16.1-06-11. Electronic voting systems authorized.

The use of electronic voting systems in accordance with the provisions of this chapter is hereby authorized in any election precinct upon finding and declaration by resolution of the city governing body, and also of the board of county commissioners of the county in which such election precinct is located, that such use is advisable or necessary in that precinct. Thereafter, a system or systems may be procured, on a temporary or permanent basis, under terms and conditions, including assumption and division of cost of acquisition and maintenance by the city and county, agreed upon by the respective governing bodies, provided the system or systems being procured have been approved and certified for procurement and use in the state by the secretary of state according to section 16.1-06-26. The system or systems may then be used in any state, county, city, or district election in that precinct or other voting area of which that precinct is a part.

16.1-06-12. Definitions.

As used in this title with regard to electronic voting systems:

1. “Automatic tabulating equipment” means an apparatus which automatically tabulates and counts votes recorded on ballots or entered directly into a computer or other electronic device by means of a touchscreen or other data entry device and data processing machines which can be used for counting votes and tabulating results.
2. “Ballot” means a handcount paper ballot or for an electronic voting system includes a tabulating paper ballot, recorded by optical scan reader, containing the names of offices and candidates and the questions to be voted on, which is used in conjunction with the marking device and on which votes may be recorded. For direct recording electronic voting systems, ballot means the ballot display provided by electro-optical devices showing the names and candidates and the questions to be voted on that allows a voter to directly enter choices into electronic storage with the use of a touchscreen or other data entry device.
3. “Counting center” means the location or locations designated by the county auditor for the automatic tabulating and counting of ballots.
4. “Direct-recording electronic voting system” means a voting system that records votes by means of a ballot display provided by electro-optical devices that allows a voter to directly enter choices into electronic storage with the use of a touchscreen or other data entry device. An alphabetic keyboard may be employed as an entry device to facilitate voting for write-in candidates. A voter’s choices are stored in the direct-recording electronic voting system’s internal memory devices and added to the choices of all other voters.
5. “Electronic voting system” means a system, or the combination of electronic voting systems and devices authorized under this chapter, that may employ a marking device in conjunction with ballots or the use of a touchscreen or other data entry device and automatic tabulating equipment for the recording, tabulating, and counting of votes in an election.
6. “Electronic voting system device” means a single unit of an electronic voting system.
7. “Marking device” means a device for marking ballots with ink or other substance, or any other method for recording votes on ballots in a manner that the votes may be tabulated and counted by automatic tabulating equipment.
8. “Optical scan” means a procedure in which votes cast on a paper ballot are tabulated by means of examining marks made in voting response locations on the ballot with an optical reader.

16.1-06-13. Requirements for voting machines.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 171, § 33.

16.1-06-14. Requirements for electronic voting systems.

Any electronic voting system used in an election in this state must:

1. Provide facilities for voting for nominated candidates, for persons not in nomination, and upon questions or measures submitted to the voters.
2. Permit each voter to vote for as many persons for any office as the voter is entitled to vote for, and must allow each voter to vote in primary elections for candidates for nomination by the political party of the voter’s choice, but it must preclude each voter from voting for more persons for any office than the voter is entitled to vote for, from voting more than once for the same candidate or upon the same measure or question submitted to the voters, or voting the ballot of more than one political party in any primary election.
3. Permit each voter, insofar as is possible, by the replacement of spoiled ballots, to change the voter’s vote for any candidate, or upon any measure or question submitted to the voters, up to the time the voter begins the final operation to register the voter’s vote.
4. Permit and require voting in absolute secrecy, and must be so constructed and controlled that no person can see or know for whom any other elector has voted or is voting, except a voter whom the person has assisted or is assisting in voting, as prescribed by law, and that no person may see or know the number of votes registered for any candidate or tamper with any mechanism.
5. Be provided with a procedure by the use of which, immediately after the polls are closed, all voting is absolutely prevented.
6. Be so constructed that when properly operated it shall register or record correctly and accurately every vote cast.
7. Be so constructed that a voter may readily learn the method of operating it.
8. Permit voting by ballot or by entering directly into a computer or other electronic device by means of a touchscreen or other data entry device.
9. Permit voting for presidential electors by making only one mark.
10. Permit write-in voting and absentee voting.
11. Permit the rotation of names of candidates on ballots as required by this title.
12. In the case of electronic systems procured after August 1, 2003, be capable of notifying a voter that the voter has overvoted, undervoted, and in the case of a primary election, cross-party voted before the voter casts a ballot.
13. In the case of direct-recording electronic voting systems, be capable of preventing a voter from overvoting and cross-party voting before the voter casts a ballot.
14. In the case of direct-recording electronic voting systems, be capable of producing in random order a paper copy of each ballot cast on the system.
15. Ensure that any direct-recording electronic voting system procured or used in the state may not transmit uncounted votes or ballots through the internet.
16. Fulfill the criteria and standards established by the secretary of state according to section 16.1-06-26.

16.1-06-15. Mandatory testing of electronic voting systems before each election and after tabulation of ballots.

1. All electronic voting systems used in this state must be tested according to guidelines established by the secretary of state and as follows to ascertain whether the automatic tabulating equipment will accurately count the votes cast for all offices and measures. The testing must be conducted prior to each election at which the system will be used. The testing must be done by the county auditor or county auditor’s designee, and after each test, the testing materials and any preaudited ballots used during the test must be sealed and retained in the same manner as election materials after an election.
2. The test of an electronic voting system employing paper ballots must be conducted by processing a preaudited group of ballots on which are recorded a predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and measure and must include for each office one or more ballots which have votes in excess of the number allowed by law in order to test the ability of the automatic tabulating equipment to reject such votes. During the test a different number of valid votes must be assigned to each candidate for an office and for and against each measure. If an error is detected, the cause of it must be ascertained and corrected, and an errorless count must be secured and filed as provided in this section.
3. The test must be conducted at least one week before the election. One week before the test is conducted, the county auditor must send the district chairman of each political party having a candidate on the ballot a notice of the test. The notice must state the time, place, and date of the test or tests and that the district chairman or district chairman’s designee may attend.
4. At the conclusion of the test, the programming for each electronic voting device must be sealed within the device with a unique numbered seal that must be verified by the election inspector before the opening of the polls to make sure the programming has not been removed from the device.
5. After each election, the secretary of state shall order a random testing of the voting system programming for one precinct in each county of the state according to logic and accuracy testing procedures detailed in subsection 2 and as may be further defined by the secretary of state in writing. This test is to be conducted before the meeting of the county canvassing board.

16.1-06-16. County auditor to provide and distribute ballots – Other election supplies delivered at same time.

For each election precinct in the county, the county auditor shall provide the number of ballots the auditor determines to be necessary. Each county auditor shall:

1. Have the ballots printed at least fifteen days before the election and available for public inspection at the auditor’s office.
2. Deliver to the inspector in each precinct or cause to be delivered in a secure manner to the polling place no later than the day before the election the number of ballots, pollbooks, ballot boxes, voting equipment, forms of oaths, and other election supplies as the county auditor determines necessary.

16.1-06-17. County auditor to provide ballots and other electronic voting system supplies.

At the same time as other election supplies are provided and distributed, the county auditor shall provide to each precinct in the county using an electronic voting system:

1. A sufficient number of electronic voting system devices and ballots if the electronic voting system employs ballots.
2. One facsimile diagram of the entire face of the electronic voting system device as it will appear on election day.
3. Appropriate instruction material for the use of the electronic voting system devices.
4. All other materials required to carry out the election process through the use of electronic voting systems.

16.1-06-18. Delivery of ballots.

County auditors shall deliver, or cause to be delivered, by mail or other reliable method, to the inspector of elections in each precinct the official ballots, if available. The ballots must be delivered in sealed packages marked plainly with the precinct for which the ballots are intended. The county auditor also shall deliver or cause to be delivered a suitable seal for the purpose of sealing the wrapper containing the ballots as provided in section 16.1-15-08.

16.1-06-19. Instructions, advertisements, maps, and ballots posted in polling places.

Each county auditor shall have posters printed, in large type, containing full instructions to electors on obtaining and voting ballots and a copy of section 16.1-01-12, any federal laws regarding prohibitions on acts of fraud and misrepresentations, and general information on voting rights under applicable federal and state laws, including instructions on how to contact the appropriate officials if these rights are alleged to have been violated. The county auditor shall furnish at least one such poster to the election inspector in each election polling place who, before the opening of the polls, shall conspicuously post at least one poster in the polling place. The county auditor, at the time of delivering the ballots to the inspector of elections in each polling place, shall deliver at least five copies of the newspaper publication or other copy of the complete text of any constitutional amendment or initiated or referred measure to such inspector of elections. One of the newspaper publications or copies must be posted conspicuously in the polling place on the morning of the election. Each county auditor shall furnish the election inspector in each polling place with four copies of a map showing the election precinct’s boundaries and information regarding the date of the election and the hours during which polling places will be open. The inspector shall, before the opening of the polls, post the maps and information regarding the date of the election and the hours during which polling places will be open at the entry to and in other conspicuous places around the polling place.

16.1-06-20. Election inspector and judges to display material and provide instruction.

In addition to other duties provided by law, the election inspector and judges shall provide adequate instruction on the use of the electronic voting device to each voter before the voter enters the voting booth.

16.1-06-21. Pollbooks delivered by county auditor – Contents – Inspector of elections to deliver.

The county auditor shall see that one paper or electronic pollbook is delivered to the election inspector in each election precinct or polling place in the county.
The election inspector shall deliver the pollbook, or cause the pollbook to be delivered, to the clerks of election in the inspector’s polling place on election day before the opening of the polls.

16.1-06-22. County to provide ballot boxes.

The board of county commissioners, at the expense of the county, shall provide suitable ballot boxes for each election polling place in the county.

16.1-06-23. Secretary of state to send instructions to county auditor to make returns.

The secretary of state shall send instructions for generating reports for all returns of votes required to be made to the secretary of state’s office.

16.1-06-24. Voting machines – Violations – Penalty.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 171, § 33.

16.1-06-25. Electronic voting systems – Violations – Penalty.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter relating to electronic voting systems, who tampers with or injures any electronic voting system or device to be used or being used in any election, or who prevents the correct operation of any such system or device to be used or being used in any election is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

16.1-06-26. Secretary of state to adopt rules for the purpose of certifying and decertifying electronic voting systems and electronic counting machines.

The secretary of state may adopt rules according to subsection 3 of section 16.1-01-01 for certifying and decertifying electronic counting machines authorized in section 16.1-06-10.1 and electronic voting systems authorized in section 16.1-06-11, including any software, hardware, and firmware components used as a part of an electronic voting system or electronic counting machine for use and procurement in the state. The rules may:

1. Establish criteria and standards with which all electronic voting systems and electronic counting machines must comply.
2. Describe the procedures for electronic voting systems and electronic counting machines, any single device of an electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, and any update and enhancement made to them, to be certified and decertified for procurement and use in the state.
3. Define what constitutes a vote on each electronic voting system and electronic counting machine which has been certified for procurement in the state.
4. Describe the procedures for the secretary of state to follow when defining what constitutes a vote on any new electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, any single device of an electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, and any update and enhancement made to them.

An electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, a single device of an electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, and an update and enhancement made to them, in use by a county prior to August 1, 2003, must be reviewed by the secretary of state according to rules adopted under this section by April 1, 2004, and must meet the requirements of the rules, or must be replaced by another electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, a single device of an electronic voting system and electronic counting machine, and an update and enhancement made to them, that meets the requirements of the rules by January 1, 2006.

CHAPTER 16.1-07 – ABSENT VOTERS’ BALLOTS AND ABSENTEE VOTING

16.1-07-01. Absent voter.

Any qualified elector of this state may vote an absent voter’s ballot at any general, special, or primary state election, any county election, or any city or school district election. An elector who votes by absentee ballot may not vote in person at the same election.

16.1-07-02. Elector may vote before leaving – No voting in person upon return.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 192, § 5.

16.1-07-03. Preparation and printing of ballots.

Repealed by S.L. 2011, ch. 154, § 19.

16.1-07-04. When ballots furnished proper officials.

The county auditor, or any other officer required by law to prepare any general, special, or primary state election ballots or any county election ballots, shall prepare, have printed, and deliver to the county auditor at least forty days before the holding of any general, special, or primary state election a sufficient number of absent voter ballots for the use of all voters likely to require such ballots for that election. In city or school elections, the auditor or clerk of the city, the business manager of the school district, or any other officer required by law to prepare city or school election ballots shall prepare and have printed and available for distribution to the public at least forty days before the holding of any city or school election a sufficient number of absent voter’s ballots for the use of all voters likely to require such ballots for that election. Officers authorized to distribute absent voter’s ballots under this chapter shall ensure all ballots used as absent voter’s ballots are secure at all times and accessible only to those persons under the officer’s supervision for distribution. If an election official personally distributes and collects an absent voter’s ballot outside the election official’s office, appointed election judges from an election board shall accompany the election official along with the ballot to and from the voter’s location and be present while the voter is marking the ballot.

16.1-07-05. Time for applying for ballot – Emergency situations – Sufficient time for application and ballot return.

1. At any time in an election year, any qualified elector may apply to the county auditor, the auditor or clerk of the city, or the business manager of the school district, as the case may be, by personal delivery, facsimile, electronic mail or otherwise, for an official ballot to be voted at that election. A voter may obtain an application form approved by the secretary of state, for an absent voter’s ballot for a general, special, primary, county, city, or school election from the secretary of state, a county or city auditor, a candidate, a political party, or a political committee. The application form must include a space for the applicant to indicate whether the application is for all statewide elections in the calendar year or only for the election that is immediately after the date of the application.
2. No auditor or clerk may issue ballots for absentee voters on the day of the election except to individuals prevented from voting in person on the day of the election due to an emergency. An individual requesting an absentee ballot on the day of the election due to an emergency must do so through an agent as set forth in this chapter. An agent may represent only one individual. The absentee ballot must be returned to the county auditor’s office by four p.m. on the day of the election.
3. A completed application must be submitted to the appropriate election official in a timely manner so as to allow the applicant to receive, complete, and mail the absent voter’s ballot before the day of the election.

16.1-07-06. Application form.

1. Application for an absent voter’s or mail ballot must be made on a form, prescribed by the secretary of state, to be furnished by the proper officer of the county, city, or school district in which the applicant is an elector, on any form, approved by the secretary of state, or any blank containing the following:

a. The applicant’s name.
b. The applicant’s current or most recent North Dakota residential address.
c. The applicant’s mailing address.
d. The applicant’s current contact telephone number, if available.
e. The election for which the ballot is being requested.
f. The date of the request.
g. An affirmation that the applicant has resided, or will reside, in the precinct for at least thirty days next preceding the election and will be a qualified elector of the precinct.
h. The applicant’s signature.
i. The designation of the individual’s status as a citizen of this country and resident of this state living outside the United States, a uniformed service member living away from the individual’s North Dakota residence, or an immediate family member of the uniformed service member living away from the individual’s North Dakota residence.
j. The applicant’s date of birth.
k. The identification number from one of the applicant’s valid forms of identification, a copy of the applicant’s long-term care certificate, and, if necessary, a copy of the applicant’s supplemental identification under section 16.1-01-04.1.

2. If the applicant is unable to sign the applicant’s name to the application, the applicant shall mark (X) or use the applicant’s signature stamp on the application in the presence of a disinterested individual. The disinterested individual shall print the name of the individual marking the X or using the signature stamp below the X or signature stamp and shall sign the disinterested individual’s own name following the printed name together with the notation “witness to the mark”.
3. If the applicant does not possess or cannot secure an approved form of identification as provided for under section 16.1-01-04.1 due to a disability with which the individual lives and which prevents the individual from traveling to obtain, the application also must be signed by another qualified elector who, by signing, certifies that the applicant is a qualified elector. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of the certification required under this subsection. An individual may not certify the qualifications of more than four applicants in an election.
4. The application for a uniformed service member or an immediate family member temporarily stationed away from the individual’s residence in this state, or a resident of the state temporarily living outside the country must include the following additional information if the individual desires to access the ballot by electronic means:

a. Facsimile telephone number; or
b. Electronic mail address.

5. An incomplete application must be returned to the applicant for completion and resubmission.
6. Except for the applicant’s date of birth, identification card number, and any supplemental documentation provided under section 16.1-01-04.1, the application is an open record under section 44-04-18.

16.1-07-07. Delivering application form for ballot.

The officers specified in section 16.1-07-05, upon request, shall mail an application form for an absent voter’s ballot to the voter or may deliver the application form to the voter upon a personal application made at the officer’s office. The officers may also make available or distribute the applications, prescribed by the secretary of state, to the public without any specific request being made for the applications.

16.1-07-08. Delivering ballots – Envelopes accompanying – Affidavit on envelope – Challenging electors voting by absentee ballot – Inability of elector to sign name.

1. Upon receipt of an application for an official ballot properly filled out and duly signed, or as soon thereafter as the official ballot for the precinct in which the applicant resides has been prepared, the county auditor, city auditor, or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, shall send to the absent voter by mail, at the expense of the political subdivision conducting the election, one official ballot, or personally deliver the ballot to the applicant or the applicant’s agent, which agent may not, at that time, be a candidate for any office to be voted upon by the absent voter. The agent shall sign the agent’s name before receiving the ballot and deposit with the auditor or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, authorization in writing from the applicant to receive the ballot or according to requirements set forth for signature by mark. The auditor or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, may not provide an absent voter’s ballot to a person acting as an agent who cannot provide a signed, written authorization from an applicant. No person may receive compensation, including money, goods, or services, for acting as an agent for an elector, nor may a person act as an agent for more than four electors in any one election. A voter voting by absentee ballot may not require the political subdivision providing the ballot to bear the expense of the return postage for an absentee ballot.
2. If there is more than one ballot to be voted by an elector of the precinct, one of each kind must be included and a secrecy envelope and a return envelope must be enclosed with the ballot or ballots. The front of the return envelope must bear the official title and post-office address of the officer supplying the voter with the ballot and upon the other side a printed voter’s affidavit in substantially the following form:

Precinct ____________________________________

Name ______________________________________

Residential Address ____________________________

City __________________ ND Zip Code ____________

Under penalty of possible criminal prosecution for making a false statement, I swear that I reside at the residential address provided above, that I have resided in my precinct for at least thirty days next preceding the election, and this is the only ballot I will cast in this election.
Applicant’s Signature ____________________________
Date ________________________________________

If the absent voter is unable to sign the voter’s name, the voter shall mark (X) or use the applicant’s signature stamp on the affidavit in the presence of a disinterested individual. The disinterested individual shall print the name of the individual marking the X or using the signature stamp below the X or signature stamp and shall sign the disinterested individual’s own name following the printed name together with the notation “witness to the mark”.
3. Each individual requesting an absent voter’s ballot under this chapter must be provided a set of instructions, prescribed by the secretary of state, sufficient to describe the process of voting by absent voter’s ballot. The voting instructions must contain a statement informing the individual that the individual is entitled to complete the absent voter’s ballot in secrecy.
4. Each individual requesting an absent voter’s ballot under this chapter who cannot read the English language or who because of blindness or other disability is unable to mark the voter’s ballot, upon request, may receive the assistance of any individual of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer, an officer or agent of the voter’s union, a candidate running in that election, or a relative of a candidate as described in subsection 2 of section 16.1-05-02, in marking the voter’s ballot.

16.1-07-08.1. Procedures for voting with special write-in or federal write-in absentee ballot.

Repealed by S.L. 2011, ch. 154, § 19.

16.1-07-09. Canvassing of mailed absent voter’s ballots received late.

In the case of congressional, state, county, city, or school district elections, if an envelope postmarked or otherwise officially marked by the United States postal service or other mail delivery system before the date of election and containing an absent voter’s ballot is received by the officer too late to be forwarded to a polling place of the proper voting precinct in time to be tabulated, the ballot must be tallied by the canvassing board of the county, the governing body of the city, or the school board of the school district, as the case may be, at the time the returns are canvassed. Any envelope without a postmark or other official marking by the United States postal service or other mail delivery system or with an illegible postmark or other official marking and containing an absentee voter’s ballot must be received by mail by the proper officer prior to the meeting of the canvassing board. An absent voter may personally deliver the absent voter’s ballot to the appropriate officer’s office at any time before five p.m. on the day before the election. Any envelope containing an absent voter’s ballot with a postmark or official date stamp on the day of election or thereafter may not be tallied with the ballots timely submitted for the election. Before forwarding any ballot to a canvassing board pursuant to this section, the officer forwarding the ballot shall print the date of receipt on the envelope. Upon receipt, the canvassing board shall determine that the elector was qualified to vote in that precinct, that the elector did not previously vote in that precinct on the date of the election, and that the signatures on the absentee ballot application and the voter’s affidavit were signed by the same person before allowing the ballot to be tallied.

16.1-07-10. Care and custody of ballot – Submitted ballot may not be returned.

Upon receipt of an envelope containing the absent voter’s ballot, the proper officer immediately shall attach the application of the absent voter and file the ballot with other absentee ballots from the same precinct. After submission to the appropriate election officer, a marked absent voter’s ballot may not be returned to the voter for any reason other than to complete any missing information required on the affidavit on the back of the return envelope. Before delivering the absentee ballots to a polling place of the proper precinct, the proper officer shall package the ballots in a manner so the ballots are sealed securely. The package must be endorsed with the name of the proper voting precinct, the name and official title of the officer, and the words “This package contains an absent voter’s ballot and must be opened only according to the processing provisions of section 16.1-07-12.” The officer shall keep the package safely in the officer’s office until it is delivered by the officer as provided in this chapter.

16.1-07-11. Submitting ballot to inspector of elections.

If the envelope containing the absent voter’s ballot is received by the county auditor, auditor or clerk of the city, or business manager of the school district, as the case may be, prior to that individual’s delivery of the sealed package containing the official ballots to the inspector of elections of a polling place of the precinct in which the absent voter resides, the ballot, after having been enclosed with the application in an envelope as required by section 16.1-07-10, must be enclosed in the package and delivered to the inspector of the polling place. If the official ballots for the precinct have been delivered to the election inspector at the time of receipt by the proper officer of the absent voter’s ballot, the officer or the officer’s designee shall personally deliver it to the inspector prior to the close of the polls on election day. Any absent voter’s ballot sent to the wrong polling place by the official whose duty it is to forward the ballots, or any absent voter’s ballot received by the inspector from the appropriate officer too late to be counted at the polling place, must be returned to the official by the election inspector, and must be tallied by the county canvassing board, the governing body of the city, or the school board, as the case may be, with other absent voters’ ballots received too late to be counted on election day.

16.1-07-12. Opening ballot – Voting or rejecting – Depositing in ballot box – Preserving.

At any time beginning on the day before election day and the closing of the polls on election day, the election clerks and board members of the relevant polling place first shall compare the signature on the application for an absent voter’s ballot with the signature on the voter’s affidavit provided for in section 16.1-07-08 to ensure the signatures correspond. If the applicant is then a duly qualified elector of the precinct and has not voted at the election, they shall open the absent voter’s envelope in a manner as not to destroy the affidavit thereon. They shall take out the secrecy envelope with the ballot or ballots contained therein without unfolding the same, or permitting the same to be opened or examined and indicate in the pollbook of the election that the elector has voted. The election board members not participating in the comparing of signatures and entering voters into the pollbook shall remove the ballot or ballots from the secrecy envelope, unfold and initial the same, and deposit in the proper ballot box for tabulation. The votes from these cast ballots may not be tallied and the tabulation reports may not be generated until the polls have closed on election day. If the affidavit on the outer envelope of a returned absentee ballot is found to be insufficient, or that the signatures on the application and affidavit do not correspond, or that the applicant is not then a duly qualified elector of the precinct, the vote may not be allowed, but without opening the absent voter’s envelope, the election inspector or election judge shall mark across the face thereof “rejected as defective” or “rejected as not an elector”, as the case may be. These rejected ballots are then turned over to the county canvassing board for final determination of eligibility. The subsequent death of an absentee voter after having voted by absentee ballot does not constitute grounds for rejecting the ballot.

16.1-07-12.1. Absentee ballot precinct – Election board appointment – Ballot counting.

1. For any primary, general, or special statewide, district, or county election, the board of county commissioners may create a special precinct, known as an absentee ballot precinct, for the purpose of counting all absentee ballots cast in an election in that county. The election board of the absentee ballot precinct must be known as the absentee ballot counting board. The county auditor shall supply the board with all necessary election supplies as provided in chapter 16.1-06.
2. If the board of county commissioners chooses to establish an absentee ballot precinct according to this section, the following provisions apply:

a. The county auditor shall appoint the absentee ballot counting board that consists of one independent representative to act as the inspector and an equal number of representatives from each political party represented on an election board in the county, as set forth in section 16.1-05-01, to act as judges. Each official of the board shall take the oath required by section 16.1-05-02 and must be compensated as provided in section 16.1-05-05.
b. The county auditor shall have the absentee ballots delivered to the inspector of the absentee ballot counting board with the election supplies, or if received later, then prior to the closing of the polls.
c. The absentee ballot counting board shall occupy a location designated by the county auditor which must be open to any individual for the purpose of observing the counting process.
d. The absentee ballots must be opened and handled as required in section 16.1-07-12. The county auditor shall designate a location for the closing, counting, and canvassing process under chapter 16.1-15, which location must be open to any person for the purpose of observing. The board shall comply with the requirements of sections 16.1-15-04 through 16.1-15-12, as applicable.

16.1-07-13. Registration of absent voters’ ballots on electronic voting systems.

At polling places using electronic voting systems, absent voters’ ballots, if any, must be entered in secrecy by the two election judges. The absentee electronic voting system ballots prepared pursuant to this section must be deposited in the ballot boxes and counted as other ballots. If the electronic voting system in use so provides, the actual electronic voting system ballot may be used as the absentee ballot.

16.1-07-14. Penalty.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

16.1-07-15. Early voting precinct – Election board appointment – Closing and canvassing.

1. For any primary, general, or special statewide, district, or county election, the board of county commissioners may, before the sixty-fourth day before the day of the election, create a special precinct, known as an early voting precinct, to facilitate the conduct of early voting in that county according to chapters 16.1-13 and 16.1-15. At the determination of the county auditor, more than one polling place may be utilized for the purposes of operating the early voting precinct. The election board of the early voting precinct must be known as the early voting precinct election board. The county auditor shall supply the board with all necessary election supplies as provided in chapter 16.1-06.
2. If the board of county commissioners establishes an early voting precinct according to this section, the following provisions apply:

a. Early voting must be authorized during the fifteen days immediately before the day of the election. The county auditor shall designate the business days and times during which the early voting election precinct will be open and publish notice of the early voting center locations, dates, and times in the official county newspaper once each week for three consecutive weeks immediately before the day of the election.
b. The county auditor shall appoint the early voting precinct election board for each early voting polling place that consists of one independent representative to act as the inspector and an equal number of representatives from each political party represented on an election board in the county, as set out in section 16.1-05-01, to act as judges. Each official of the board shall take the oath required by section 16.1-05-02 and must be compensated as provided in section 16.1-05-05.
c. The county auditor, with the consent of the board of county commissioners, shall designate each early voting polling place in a public facility, accessible to the elderly and the physically disabled as provided in section 16.1-04-02. With respect to polling places at early voting precincts, “election day” as used in sections 16.1-10-03 and 16.1-10-06.2 includes any time an early voting precinct polling place is open.
d. At the close of each day of early voting, the inspector, along with a judge from each political party represented on the board, shall secure all election-related materials, including:

(1) The pollbooks and access to any electronically maintained pollbooks.
(2) The ballot boxes containing voted ballots.
(3) Any void, spoiled, and unvoted ballots.

e. Ballot boxes containing ballots cast at an early voting polling place may not be opened until the day of the election except as may be necessary to clear a ballot jam or to move voted ballots to a separate locked ballot box in order to make room for additional ballots.
f. Each early voting polling place may be closed, as provided in chapter 16.1-15, at the end of the last day designated for early voting in the county. Results from the early voting precinct may be counted, canvassed, or released under chapter 16.1-15 as soon as any precinct within the county, city, or legislative district closes its polls on the day of the election. The county auditor shall designate a location for the closing, counting, and canvassing process under chapter 16.1-15, which location must be open to any person for the purpose of observing.
g. The early voting precinct election board shall comply with the requirements of chapters 16.1-05, 16.1-13, and 16.1-15, as applicable.

16.1-07-16. Secretary of state to provide information regarding absentee voting for military and overseas voters.

The secretary of state is designated as the official responsible for providing information regarding absentee voting by military and overseas citizens eligible to vote in the state according to section 702 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1]. The secretary of state shall develop and provide uniform procedures for county auditors to follow when transmitting and receiving applications for absentee ballots to and from military and overseas voters.

16.1-07-17. Notification of rejected absentee ballots cast by military and overseas voters.

The secretary of state shall establish a uniform procedure for county auditors to follow when notifying a military or overseas voter that the voter’s absentee ballot was rejected. The procedure must provide that the notice include the reason why the voter’s absentee ballot was rejected as provided by section 707 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [Pub. L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1].

16.1-07-18. Definitions.

In sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33:

1. “Covered voter” means:

a. A uniformed-service voter whose voting residence is in this state;
b. An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
c. An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or
d. Any other overseas voter who was born outside the United States and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements, if:

(1) The last place where a parent or legal guardian of the voter was, or under this Act would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state; and
(2) The voter has not previously registered to vote or voted in any other state.

2. “Dependent” means an individual recognized as a dependent by the applicable uniformed service.
3. “Military-overseas ballot” means:

a. A federal write-in absentee ballot described in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [103, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-2];
b. A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with sections 16.1-07-19 through 16.1-07-33; or
c. A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with sections 16.1-07-19 through 16.1-07-33.

4. “Overseas voter” means a United States citizen who is outside the United States.
5. “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
6. “Uniformed service” means:

a. Active and reserve components of the army, navy, air force, marine corps, and coast guard of the United States;
b. The merchant marine, the commissioned corps of the public health service, and the commissioned corps of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration of the United States; and
c. The national guard and state militia units.

7. “Uniformed-service voter” means an individual who is qualified to vote and is:

a. A member of the active or reserve components of the army, navy, air force, marine corps, or coast guard of the United States who is on active duty;
b. A member of the merchant marine, the commissioned corps of the public health service, or the commissioned corps of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration of the United States;
c. A member of the national guard or state militia unit who is on activated status; or
d. A spouse or dependent of a member referred to in this subsection.

16.1-07-19. Elections covered.

The voting procedures in sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 apply to:

1. A general, special, or primary election for federal office.
2. A general, special, or primary election for statewide or state legislative office or state ballot measure.
3. A general, special, or primary election for political subdivision office or political subdivision ballot measure.

16.1-07-20. Role of secretary of state.

1. The secretary of state is responsible for implementing sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 and the state’s responsibilities under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.].
2. The secretary of state shall make available to covered voters information regarding procedures for casting military-overseas ballots.
3. The secretary of state shall establish an electronic transmission system through which covered voters may apply for and receive documents and other information under sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33.
4. The secretary of state shall develop standardized absentee-voting materials, including privacy and transmission envelopes and electronic equivalents, authentication materials, and voting instructions, to be used with the military-overseas ballot of a voter authorized to vote in any jurisdiction in this state and, to the extent reasonably possible, shall do so in coordination with other states.
5. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form and content of a declaration for use by a covered voter to swear or affirm specific representations pertaining to the voter’s identity, eligibility to vote, status as a covered voter, and timely and proper completion of an overseas-military ballot. The declaration must be based on the declaration prescribed to accompany a federal write-in absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [103, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-2], as modified to be consistent with sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33. The secretary of state shall ensure that a form for the execution of the declaration, including an indication of the date of execution of the declaration, is a prominent part of all balloting materials for which the declaration is required.

16.1-07-21. Methods of applying for military-overseas ballot.

1. A covered voter may apply for a military-overseas ballot using either the absentee ballot application under this chapter or the federal postcard application, as prescribed under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff (b) (2)] or the application’s electronic equivalent if approved under guidelines established by the secretary of state.
2. The secretary of state shall ensure that the electronic transmission system described in section 16.1-07-20 is capable of accepting the submission of both a federal postcard application and any other approved electronic military-overseas ballot application sent to the appropriate election official. The voter may use the electronic transmission system or any other method approved under guidelines established by the secretary of state to apply for a military-overseas ballot.
3. A covered voter may use the declaration accompanying the federal write-in absentee ballot, as prescribed under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff-2] as an application for a military-overseas ballot simultaneously with the submission of the federal write-in absentee ballot, if the declaration is received by the appropriate election official by midnight on the day before the election.
4. To receive the benefits of sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33, a covered voter must inform the appropriate election official that the voter is a covered voter. Methods of informing the appropriate election official that a voter is a covered voter include:

a. The use of a federal postcard application or federal write-in absentee ballot;
b. The use of an overseas address on a ballot application; and
c. The inclusion on a ballot application of other information sufficient to identify the voter as a covered voter.

16.1-07-22. Timeliness and scope of application for military-overseas ballot.

An application for a military-overseas ballot is timely if received by the appropriate election official before the close of business on the day before the election. An application for a military-overseas ballot for a primary election, whether or not timely, is effective as an application for a military-overseas ballot for the general election.

16.1-07-23. Transmission of unvoted ballots.

1. For all covered elections for which this state has not received a waiver under the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1(g)(2)] not later than forty-five days before the election or, if the forty-fifth day before the election is a weekend or holiday, not later than the business day preceding the forty-fifth day, the appropriate election official shall transmit ballots and balloting materials to all covered voters who by that date submit a valid military-overseas ballot application.
2. A covered voter who requests a ballot and balloting materials be sent to the voter by electronic transmission may choose facsimile transmission, electronic mail, or other electronic delivery approved by the secretary of state. The election official charged with distributing a ballot and balloting materials shall transmit the ballot and balloting materials to the voter using the means of transmission chosen by the voter.
3. If a ballot application from a covered voter arrives after the election official begins transmitting ballots and balloting materials to voters, the official shall transmit them to the voter not later than two business days after the application arrives.

16.1-07-24. Timely casting of ballot.

To be valid, a military-overseas ballot must be submitted for mailing or other authorized means of delivery not later than 11:59 p.m. on the day before the election at the place where the voter completes the ballot. A military-overseas ballot must be received by the appropriate election official before the canvassing board meeting.

16.1-07-25. Federal write-in absentee ballot.

A covered voter may use the federal write-in absentee ballot, in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff-2], to vote for all offices and ballot measures in a covered election.

16.1-07-26. Receipt of voted ballot.

1. A valid military-overseas ballot cast in accordance with section 16.1-07-24 must be counted if it is delivered before the canvassing board meets to canvas the returns.
2. If, at the time of completing a military-overseas ballot and balloting materials, the voter has affirmed under penalty of perjury under section 16.1-07-27 that the ballot was timely submitted, the ballot may not be rejected on the basis that it has a late postmark, an unreadable postmark, or no postmark.

16.1-07-27. Declaration.

Each military-overseas ballot must include or be accompanied by a declaration signed by the voter declaring that a material misstatement of fact in completing the document may be grounds for a conviction of perjury under the laws of the United States or this state.

16.1-07-28. Confirmation of receipt of application and voted ballot.

The secretary of state, in coordination with local election officials, shall implement an electronic free-access system by which a covered voter may determine by telephone, electronic mail, or internet access whether:

1. The voter’s military-overseas ballot application has been received and accepted; and
2. The voter’s military-overseas ballot has been received and the current status of the ballot.

16.1-07-29. Use of voter’s electronic mail address.

1. A covered voter who provides an electronic mail address to a local election official may request that the voter’s application for a military-overseas ballot be considered a standing request for electronic delivery of a ballot for all elections held through December thirty-first of the year following the calendar year of the date of the application or another shorter period the voter specifies. An election official shall provide a military-overseas ballot to a voter who makes a request for each election to which the request is applicable. A covered voter entitled to receive a military-overseas ballot for a primary election under this subsection also is entitled to receive a military-overseas ballot for the general election.
2. An electronic mail address provided by a covered voter is a confidential record. An election official may use the address only to communicate with the voter about the voting process, including transmitting military-overseas ballots and election materials if the voter has requested electronic transmission, and verifying the voter’s mailing address and physical location, as needed.

16.1-07-30. Publication of election notice.

1. Not later than one hundred days before a regularly scheduled election to which sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 apply, and as soon as practicable in the case of a special election, the secretary of state and each local election official charged with printing and distributing ballots and balloting materials for that election shall prepare an election notice, to be used in conjunction with the federal write-in absentee ballot described in section 16.1-07-25. The election notice must contain a list of all of the ballot measures and federal, state, and local offices that as of that date the secretary of state and the local election official expect to be on the ballot on the date of the election. The notice also must contain specific instructions for how a voter is to indicate on the federal write-in absentee ballot the voter’s choice for each office to be filled and for each ballot measure to be contested. Upon publication of the election notice, the secretary of state shall provide the local election officials of the state with the location of the notice on the secretary of state’s website.
2. A covered voter may request a copy of an election notice. The officials charged with preparing the election notice shall send the notice to the voter by facsimile, electronic mail, or regular mail, as the voter requests if the voter is not able to obtain that same notice from the secretary of state’s website.
3. At least fifty-five days before an election, the officials charged with preparing the election notice shall update the notice with the certified candidates for each office and ballot measure questions and make the updated notice publicly available.
4. A local election official who maintains an internet website shall make updated versions of its election notices regularly available on the website.

16.1-07-31. Prohibition of nonessential requirements.

1. If a voter’s mistake or omission in the completion of a document under sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 does not prevent determining whether a covered voter is eligible to vote, the mistake or omission does not invalidate the document. Failure to satisfy a nonessential requirement, such as using paper or envelopes of a specified size or weight, does not invalidate a document submitted under this chapter. In any write-in ballot authorized by law, if the intention of the voter is discernable, as provided under the Help America Vote Act [42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(6)], an abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate or a political party must be accepted as a valid vote.
2. Notarization is not required for the execution of a document under sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33. An authentication, other than the declaration specified in section 16.1-07-27 or the declaration on the federal postcard application and federal write-in absentee ballot, is not required for execution of a document under sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33. The declaration and any information in the declaration may be compared against information on file to ascertain the validity of the document.

16.1-07-32. Issuance of injunction or other equitable relief.

A court may issue an injunction or grant other equitable relief appropriate to ensure substantial compliance with, or enforce, sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 on application by:

1. A covered voter alleging a grievance under sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33; or
2. An election official in this state.

16.1-07-33. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

Sections 16.1-07-18 through 16.1-07-33 modify, limit, and supersede the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act [15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.] but do not modify, limit, or supersede section 101(c) of that Act [15 U.S.C. 7001(c)] or authorized electronic delivery of any of the notices described in section 103(b) of that Act [15 U.S.C. 7003(b)].

16.1-07-34. Emergency procedures to facilitate absentee voting.

If an international, national, state, or local disaster or emergency or other situation arises which makes substantial compliance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act [42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.] impossible or impracticable, as confirmed by the existence of armed conflict involving the armed forces of the United States or the mobilization of those forces, including national guard and reserve component members of this state, by the occurrence of a natural disaster or the existence of a state of emergency, civil unrest, war, or other exigency in a foreign country, or by an official declaration by the governor that a state of disaster or emergency exists, the secretary of state may prescribe special procedures or requirements as may be necessary to facilitate absentee voting by those absent uniformed services voters or overseas voters directly affected and who are eligible to vote in this state.

CHAPTER 16.1-08 – CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

[Repealed by S.L. 1995, ch. 207, § 20]

CHAPTER 16.1-08.1 – CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION STATEMENTS

16.1-08.1-01. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Affiliate” means an organization that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another organization. For purposes of this definition, control means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of an organization, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract other than a commercial contract for goods or nonmanagement services, or otherwise. Control is presumed to exist if an organization, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing fifty percent or more of the voting securities of any other organization.
2. “Association” means any club, association, union, brotherhood, fraternity, organization, or group of any kind of two or more persons, including labor unions, trade associations, professional associations, or governmental associations, which is united for any purpose, business, or object and which assesses any dues, membership fees, or license fees in any amount, or which maintains a treasury fund in any amount. The term does not include corporations, cooperative corporations, limited liability companies, political committees, or political parties.
3. “Candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination for election or election to public office, and includes:

a. An individual holding public office;
b. An individual who has publicly declared that individual’s candidacy for nomination for election or election to public office or has filed or accepted a nomination for public office;
c. An individual who has formed a campaign or other committee for that individual’s candidacy for public office;
d. An individual who has circulated a nominating petition to have that individual’s name placed on the ballot; and
e. An individual who has, in any manner, solicited or received a contribution for that individual’s candidacy for public office, whether before or after the election for that office.

4. “Conduit” means a person that is not a political party, political committee, or candidate and which receives a contribution of money and transfers the contribution to a candidate, political party, or political committee when the contribution is designated specifically for the candidate, political party, or political committee and the person has no discretion as to the recipient and the amount transferred. The term includes a transactional intermediary, including a credit card company or a money transfer service that pays or transfers money to a candidate on behalf of another person.
5. “Contribution” means a gift, transfer, conveyance, provision, receipt, subscription, loan, advance, deposit of money, or anything of value, made for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election, or election, of any person to public office or aiding or opposing the circulation or passage of a statewide initiative or referendum petition or measure. The term also means a contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make a contribution for any of the above purposes. The term includes funds received by a candidate for public office or a political party or committee which are transferred or signed over to that candidate, party, or committee from another candidate, party, or political committee or other source including a conduit. The term “anything of value” includes any good or service of more than a nominal value. The term “nominal value” means the cost, price, or worth of the good or service is trivial, token, or of no appreciable value. The term “contribution” does not include:

a. A loan of money from a bank or other lending institution made in the regular course of business.
b. Time spent by volunteer campaign or political party workers.
c. Money or anything of value received for commercial transactions, including rents, advertising, or sponsorships made as a part of a fair market value bargained-for exchange.
d. Money or anything of value received for anything other than a political purpose.
e. Products or services for which the actual cost or fair market value are reimbursed by a payment of money.
f. An independent expenditure.
g. The value of advertising paid by a political party, multicandidate political committee, or caucus which is in support of a candidate.
h. In-kind contributions from a candidate to the candidate’s campaign.

6. “Cooperative corporations”, “corporations”, and “limited liability companies” are as defined in this code, and for purposes of this chapter “corporations” includes nonprofit corporations. However, if a political committee, the only purpose of which is accepting contributions and making expenditures for a political purpose, incorporates for liability purposes only, the committee is not considered a corporation for the purposes of this chapter.
7. “Expenditure” means:

a. A gift, transfer, conveyance, provision, loan, advance, payment, distribution, disbursement, outlay, or deposit of money or anything of value, except a loan of money from a bank or other lending institution made in the regular course of business, made for a political purpose or for the purpose of influencing the passage or defeat of a measure.
b. A contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make any expenditure.
c. The transfer of funds by a political committee to another political committee.
d. An independent expenditure.

8. “Expenditure categories” means the categories into which expenditures must be grouped for reports under this chapter. The expenditure categories are:

a. Advertising;
b. Campaign loan repayment;
c. Operations;
d. Travel; and
e. Miscellaneous.

9. “Independent expenditure” means an expenditure made for a political purpose or for the purpose of influencing the passage or defeat of a measure if the expenditure is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, committee, or political party.
10. “Patron” means a person who owns equity interest in the form of stock, shares, or membership or maintains similar financial rights in a cooperative corporation.
11. “Person” means an individual, partnership, political committee, association, corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, or other organization or group of persons.
12. “Personal benefit” means a benefit to the candidate or another person which is not for a political purpose or related to a candidate’s responsibilities as a public officeholder, and any other benefit that would convert a contribution to personal income.
13. “Political committee” means any committee, club, association, or other group of persons which receives contributions or makes expenditures for political purposes and includes:

a. A political action committee not connected to another organization and free to solicit funds from the general public, or derived from a corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or an association that solicits or receives contributions from its employees or members or makes expenditures for political purposes on behalf of its employees or members;
b. A candidate committee established to support an individual candidate seeking public office which solicits or receives contributions for political purposes;
c. A political organization registered with the federal election commission, which solicits or receives contributions or makes expenditures for political purposes;
d. A multicandidate political committee, including a caucus, established to support multiple groups or slates of candidates seeking public office, which solicits or receives contributions for political purposes; and
e. A measure committee, including an initiative or referendum sponsoring committee at any stage of its organization, which solicits or receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of aiding or opposing a measure sought to be voted upon by the voters of the state, including any activities undertaken for the purpose of drafting an initiative or referendum petition, seeking approval of the secretary of state for the circulation of a petition, or seeking approval of the submitted petitions.

14. “Political party” means any association, committee, or organization which nominates a candidate for election to any office which may be filled by a vote of the electors of this state or any of its political subdivisions and whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such association, committee, or organization.
15. “Political purpose” means any activity undertaken in support of or in opposition to the election or nomination of a candidate to public office and includes using “vote for”, “oppose”, or any similar support or opposition language in any advertisement whether the activity is undertaken by a candidate, a political committee, a political party, or any person. In the period thirty days before a primary election and sixty days before a special or general election, “political purpose” also means any activity in which a candidate’s name, office, district, or any term meaning the same as “incumbent” or “challenger” is used in support of or in opposition to the election or nomination of a candidate to public office. The term does not include activities undertaken in the performance of a duty of a public office or any position taken in any bona fide news story, commentary, or editorial.
16. “Public office” means every office to which an individual can be elected by vote of the people under the laws of this state.
17. “Subsidiary” means an affiliate of a corporation under the control of the corporation directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries.

16.1-08.1-02. Contributions statement required of candidate committees, candidates, and candidates for legislative office.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-02.1. State political party convention revenue and expense statement required.

1. State political parties shall establish separate and segregated accounts for the management of state nominating conventions. All revenue obtained and expenditures made for the planning and running of a state convention must be accounted for in these accounts.
2. A postconvention statement must be filed with the secretary of state sixty days after the close of the state nominating convention. The reporting period for the postconvention statement begins on the first day of January of the reporting year and ends thirty days after the close of the state nominating convention.
3. A year-end statement covering the entire calendar year must be filed with the secretary of state before February first of the following year even if no convention revenue was received or expenditures made within the calendar year.
4. The statement filed according to this section must show the following:

a. The balance of the filer’s convention accounts at the start and close of the reporting period;
b. The total of all revenue received and expenditures made of two hundred dollars, or less;
c. The total of all revenue received and expenditures made in excess of two hundred dollars;
d. For each aggregated revenue received from a person in excess of two hundred dollars:

(1) The name of each person;
(2) The mailing address of each person;
(3) The date of the most recent receipt of revenue from each person; and
(4) The purpose or purposes for which the aggregated revenue total was received from each person;

e. For each aggregated expenditure made to a person in excess of two hundred dollars:

(1) The name of each person or entity;
(2) The mailing address of each person or entity;
(3) The date of the most recent expense made to each person or entity; and
(4) The purpose or purposes for which the aggregated expenditure total was disbursed to each person or entity; and

f. For each aggregated revenue from an individual which totals five thousand dollars or more during the reporting period, the occupation, employer, and principal place of business of the individual must be disclosed.

5. If a net gain from the convention is transferred to the accounts established for the support of the nomination or election of candidates, the total transferred must be reported as a contribution in the statements required by section 16.1-08.1-02.4.
6. If a net loss from the convention is covered by a transfer from the accounts established for the support of the nomination or election of candidates, the total transferred must be reported as an expenditure in the statements required by section 16.1-08.1-02.4.

16.1-08.1-02.2. State political party building fund statement required.

A state political party or nonprofit entity affiliated with or under the control of a state political party which receives a donation for purchasing, maintaining, or renovating a building shall file a statement with the secretary of state before February first of each calendar year. Any income or financial gain generated from a building purchased, maintained, or renovated from donations must be deposited in the building fund and must be disclosed when the political party or nonprofit entity files the statement required under this section. Money in the fund may be used only by the state political party or nonprofit entity affiliated with or under the control of a state political party for purchasing, maintaining, or renovating a building including the purchase of fixtures for the building. The statement may be submitted for filing beginning on January first and must include:

1. The balance of the building fund on January first;
2. The name and mailing address of each donor;
3. The amount of each donation;
4. The date each donation was received;
5. The name and mailing address of each recipient of an expenditure;
6. The amount of each expenditure;
7. The date each expenditure was made; and
8. The balance of the fund on December thirty-first.

16.1-08.1-02.3. Pre-election, supplemental, and year-end campaign disclosure statement requirements for candidates, candidate committees, multicandidate committees, and nonstatewide political parties.

1. Prior to the thirty-first day before a primary, general, or special election, a candidate or candidate committee formed on behalf of the candidate, a multicandidate political committee, or a political party other than a statewide political party soliciting or accepting contributions shall file a campaign disclosure statement that includes all contributions received from January first through the fortieth day before the election. A candidate whose name is not on the ballot and who is not seeking election through write-in votes, the candidate’s candidate committee, and a political party that has not endorsed or nominated any candidate in the election is not required to file a statement
under this subsection. The statement may be submitted for filing beginning on the thirty-ninth day before the election. The statement must include:

a. For each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals in excess of two hundred dollars received during the reporting period:

(1) The name and mailing address of the contributor;
(2) The total amount of the contribution; and
(3) The date the last contributed amount was received;

b. The total of all aggregated contributions from contributors which total in excess of two hundred dollars during the reporting period;
c. The total of all contributions received from contributors that contributed two hundred dollars or less each during the reporting period; and
d. For a statewide candidate, a candidate committee formed on behalf of a statewide candidate, and a statewide multicandidate committee, the balance of the campaign fund on the fortieth day before the election and the balance of the campaign fund on January first.

2. Beginning on the thirty-ninth day before the election through the day before the election, a person that files a statement under subsection 1 must file a supplemental statement within forty-eight hours of the start of the day following the receipt of a contribution or aggregate contribution from a contributor which is in excess of five hundred dollars. The statement must include:

a. The name and mailing address of the contributor;
b. The total amount of the contribution received during the reporting period; and
c. The date the last contributed amount was received.

3. Prior to February first, a candidate or candidate committee, a multicandidate political committee, or a nonstatewide political party soliciting or accepting contributions shall file a campaign disclosure statement that includes all contributions received and expenditures, by expenditure category, made from January first through December thirty-first of the previous year. The statement may be submitted for filing beginning on January first. The statement must include:

a. For a statewide candidate, a candidate committee formed on behalf of a statewide candidate, and a statewide multicandidate committee, the balance of the campaign fund on January first and on December thirty-first;
b. For each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals in excess of two hundred dollars received during the reporting period:

(1) The name and mailing address of the contributor;
(2) The total amount of the contribution; and
(3) The date the last contributed amount was received;

c. The total of all aggregated contributions from contributors which total in excess of two hundred dollars during the reporting period;
d. The total of all contributions received from contributors that contributed two hundred dollars or less each during the reporting period; and
e. The total of all other expenditures made during the previous year, separated into expenditure categories.

4. A person required to file a statement under this section, other than a candidate for judicial office, county office, or city office, or a candidate committee for a candidate exempted under this subsection, shall report each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals five thousand dollars or more during the reporting period. For these contributions from individuals, the statement must include the contributor’s occupation, employer, and the employer’s principal place of business.
5. A candidate for city office in a city with a population under five thousand and a candidate committee for the candidate are exempt from this section.
6. A candidate for county office and a candidate committee for a candidate for county office shall file statements under this chapter with the county auditor. A candidate for city office who is required to file a statement under this chapter and a candidate committee for such a candidate shall file statements with the city auditor. Any other person required to file a statement under this section shall file the statement with the secretary of state.
7. The filing officer shall assess and collect fees for any reports filed after the filing deadline.
8. To ensure accurate reporting and avoid commingling of campaign and personal funds, candidates shall use dedicated campaign accounts that are separate from any personal accounts.

16.1-08.1-02.4. Pre-election, supplemental, and year-end campaign disclosure statement requirements for statewide political parties and certain political committees.

1. Prior to the thirty-first day before a primary, general, or special election, a statewide political party or a political committee not required to file statements under section 16.1-08.1-02.3 which is soliciting or accepting contributions shall file a campaign disclosure statement that includes all contributions received and expenditures made from January first through the fortieth day before the election. A political party that has not endorsed or nominated a candidate in an election is not required to file a statement under this subsection. A statement required to be filed under this subsection may be submitted for filing beginning on the thirty-ninth day before the election. The statement must include:

a. For each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals in excess of two hundred dollars received during the reporting period:

(1) The name and mailing address of the contributor;
(2) The total amount of the contribution; and
(3) The date the last contributed amount was received;

b. The total of all aggregated contributions from contributors which total in excess of two hundred dollars during the reporting period;
c. The total of all contributions received from contributors that contributed two hundred dollars or less each during the reporting period;
d. For each recipient of an expenditure from campaign funds in excess of two hundred dollars in the aggregate:

(1) The name and mailing address of the recipient;
(2) The total amount of the expenditure made to the recipient; and
(3) The date the last expended amount was made to the recipient;

e. The aggregate total of all expenditures from campaign funds in excess of two hundred dollars;
f. The aggregate total of all expenditures from campaign funds of two hundred dollars or less; and
g. The balance of the campaign fund on the fortieth day before the election and balance of the campaign fund on January first.

2. Beginning on the thirty-ninth day before the election through the day before the election, a person that files a statement under subsection 1 must file a supplemental statement within forty-eight hours of the start of the day following the receipt of a contribution or aggregate contribution from a contributor which is in excess of five hundred dollars. The statement must include:

a. The name and mailing address of the contributor;
b. The total amount of the contribution received during the reporting period; and
c. The date the last contributed amount was received.

3. Prior to February first, a statewide political party or a political committee that is not required to file a statement under section 16.1-08.1-2.3 shall file a campaign disclosure statement that includes all contributions received and expenditures made from January first through December thirty-first of the previous year. The statement may be submitted for filing beginning on January first. The statement must include:

a. For each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals in excess of two hundred dollars received during the reporting period:

(1) The name and mailing address of the contributor;
(2) The total amount of the contribution; and
(3) The date the last contributed amount was received;

b. The total of all aggregated contributions from contributors which total in excess of two hundred dollars during the reporting period;
c. The total of all contributions received from contributors that contributed two hundred dollars or less each during the reporting period;
d. For each recipient of an expenditure from campaign funds in excess of two hundred dollars in the aggregate:

(1) The name and mailing address of the recipient;
(2) The total amount of the expenditure made to the recipient; and
(3) The date the last expended amount was made to the recipient;

e. The aggregate total of all expenditures from campaign funds in excess of two hundred dollars;
f. The aggregate total of all expenditures from campaign funds of two hundred dollars or less; and
g. The balance of the campaign fund on January first and December thirty-first.

4. A person required to file a statement under this section shall disclose each aggregated contribution from a contributor which totals five thousand dollars or more during the reporting period. For these contributions from individuals, the statement must include the contributor’s occupation, employer, and the employer’s principal place of business.
5. Statements under this section must be filed with the secretary of state.
6. The secretary of state shall assess and collect fees for any reports filed after the filing deadline.

16.1-08.1-03. Contributions statement required of political parties.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.1. Special requirements for statements required of persons engaged in activities regarding ballot measures.

1. For each reportable contribution and expenditure under section 16.1-08.1-02.4, the threshold for reporting is one hundred dollars for any person engaged in activities described in subdivision e of subsection 13 of section 16.1-08.1-01.
2. For contributions received from an out-of-state contributor, a person engaged in activities described in subdivision e of subsection 13 of section 16.1-08.1-01 shall include the following information regarding each subcontributor that has stated a contribution is for the express purpose of furthering the passage or defeat of a ballot measure in the statements required under section 16.1-08.1-02.4:

a. A designation as to whether any person contributed in excess of one hundred dollars of the total contribution;
b. The name and mailing address of each subcontributor that contributed in excess of one hundred dollars of the total contribution;
c. The contribution amounts of each disclosed subcontributor; and
d. The occupation, employer, and address for the employer’s principal place of business of each disclosed subcontributor.

3. An initiative and referendum sponsoring committee also shall file a disclosure statement by the date the secretary of state approves the petition for circulation, and shall file an additional statement on the date the petitions containing the required number of signatures are submitted to the secretary of state for review. The statements required under this subsection must be in the same form as the year-end statements under section 16.1-08.1-02.4.
4. A sponsoring committee shall file a statement regarding its intent to compensate circulators before paying for petitions to be circulated.

16.1-08.1-03.2. Political committee and candidate registration.

1. A political committee as defined in section 16.1-08.1-01 shall register its name and contact information, its agent’s name and contact information, and a designation as to
whether the committee is incorporated solely for the purpose of liability protection, with the secretary of state. A candidate who does not have a candidate committee shall register the candidate’s name and contact information and, if the candidate has an agent, the agent’s name and contact information with the secretary of state. The registration required under this section for a candidate or political committee that has not previously registered with the secretary of state must be submitted within fifteen business days of the receipt of any contribution or expenditure made.
2. A candidate or political committee required to be registered under this section must register with the secretary of state each year during which the candidate holds public office or during which the political committee receives contributions, makes expenditures for political purposes, or has a balance in the campaign account. An individual who no longer holds public office or an individual who no longer seeks public office must register with the secretary of state each year in which contributions are received, expenditures are made for political purposes, or has a balance in the campaign account.
3. A political committee that organizes and registers according to federal law and makes an independent expenditure or makes a disbursement in excess of two hundred dollars to a nonfederal candidate seeking public office, a political party, or political committee in this state is not required to register as a political committee according to this section if the political committee reports according to section 16.1-08.1-03.7.
4. Registration by a political committee under this section does not reserve the name for exclusive use nor does it constitute registration of a trade name under chapter 47-25.

16.1-08.1-03.3. Campaign contributions by corporations, cooperative corporations, limited liability companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and associations – Violation – Penalty – Political action committees authorized.

1. A corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association may establish, administer, and solicit contributions to a separate and segregated fund to be utilized for political purposes by the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association. It is unlawful for:

a. The person or persons controlling the fund to make contributions or expenditures utilizing money or anything of value secured by physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals, or the threat of them; or utilize money from dues, fees, treasury funds, or other money required as a condition of membership in an association, or as a condition of employment; or utilize money obtained in any commercial transaction. Moneys from fees, dues, treasury funds, or money obtained in a commercial transaction may, however, be used to pay costs of administration of the fund.
b. Any person soliciting an employee, stockholder, patron, board member, or member for a contribution to the fund to fail to inform the employee or member of the political purposes of the fund at the time of the solicitation or of the general political philosophy intended to be advanced through committee activities.
c. Any person soliciting an employee or member for a contribution to the fund to fail to inform the employee or member at the time of the solicitation of the right to refuse to contribute without any reprisal.
d. Any contribution to be accepted without keeping an accurate record of the contributor and amount contributed and of amounts expended for political purposes.
e. Any contribution to be accepted from any person not an employee, a stockholder, a patron, a board member or a member of the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association maintaining the political action committee, except a corporation may accept a contribution from an employee, a stockholder, a patron, a board member, or a member of an affiliate or a subsidiary of the corporation.
f. Any expenditure made for political purposes to be reported under this section before control of the expenditure has been released by the political action committee except if there is a contract, a promise, or an agreement, expressed or implied, to make such expenditure.

2. A person may not make a payment of that person’s money or of another person’s money to any other person for a political purpose in any name other than that of the person that supplies the money and a person may not knowingly receive the payment nor enter nor cause the payment to be entered in that person’s account or record in any name other than that of the person by which it actually was furnished.
3. If an officer, employee, agent, attorney, or other representative of a corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association makes any contribution prohibited by this section out of corporate, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association funds or otherwise violates this section, it is prima facie evidence of a violation by the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association.
4. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the county where the contribution is made or in any county in which it has been paid or distributed.
5. It is a class A misdemeanor for an officer, director, stockholder, manager, governor, member, attorney, agent, or representative of any corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association to violate this section or to counsel or consent to any violation. Any person that solicits or knowingly receives any contribution in violation of this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
6. Any officer, director, stockholder, manager, governor, member, attorney, agent, or representative who makes, counsels, or consents to the making of a contribution in violation of this section is liable to the company, corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association for the amount so contributed.

16.1-08.1-03.4. Person not excused from testifying as to violation – Prosecution or penalty waived upon testifying.

No person may be excused from attending and testifying or producing any books, papers, or other documents before any court upon any investigation, proceeding, or trial for a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, upon the grounds that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of the person may tend to incriminate or degrade the person. No person may be prosecuted nor subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which the person may testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, and no testimony so given or produced may be used against the person in any criminal investigation or proceeding.

16.1-08.1-03.5. Corporate contributions and expenditures – Statement required.

1. Corporations, cooperative corporations, limited liability companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and associations may make expenditures and contributions for promoting any general political philosophy or belief deemed in the best interest of the employees, stockholders, patrons, or members of the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association other than a “political purpose” as defined by this chapter. A corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association may not make a contribution for a political purpose.
2. A corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association may make a donation of property or money to a state political party or nonprofit entity affiliated with or under the control of a state political party for deposit in a separate and segregated building fund.
3. A corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association may make an expenditure to a measure committee as described in section 16.1-08.1-01 for the purpose of promoting the passage or defeat of an initiated or referred measure or petition or make an expenditure to any other person that makes an independent expenditure. A corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association may make an independent expenditure for a political purpose, including political advertising in support of or opposition to a candidate, political committee, or a political party, or for the purpose of promoting passage or defeat of initiated or referred measures or petitions. The corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association shall file a statement disclosing any expenditure made under this subsection with the secretary of state within forty-eight hours after making the expenditure. The statement must include:

a. The full name of the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association;
b. The complete address of the corporation, cooperative corporation, limited liability company, affiliate, subsidiary, or association;
c. The name of the recipient of the expenditure;
d. If the expenditure is related to a measure or petition, the title of the measure or petition and whether the expenditure is made in support of or opposition to the measure or petition;
e. If the expenditure is related to a measure, the election date on which the measure either will appear or did appear on the ballot;
f. The amount of the expenditure;
g. The cumulative total amount of expenditures since the beginning of the calendar year which are required to be reported under this subsection;
h. The telephone number and the printed name and signature of the individual completing the statement, attesting to the statement being true, complete, and correct; and
i. The date on which the statement was signed.

16.1-08.1-03.6. Contributions from federal campaign committee accounts or from contributions made to other candidates or former candidates limited.

Repealed by S.L. 2001, ch. 202, § 7.

16.1-08.1-03.7. Political committees that organize and register according to federal law that make independent expenditures or disbursements to nonfederal candidates, political parties, and political committees.

A political committee that organizes and registers according to federal law and makes an independent expenditure or makes a disbursement in excess of two hundred dollars to a nonfederal candidate seeking public office or to a political party or political committee in this state shall file a copy of that portion of the committee’s federal report detailing the independent expenditure or the disbursement made. The political committee shall file a copy of the committee’s federal report with the secretary of state at the time of filing the report with the applicable federal agency. The report must include:

1. The name, mailing address, and treasurer of the political committee;
2. The recipient’s name and mailing address; and
3. The date and amount of the independent expenditure or disbursement.

16.1-08.1-03.8. Contributions statement required of multicandidate political committees.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.9. Contribution statements of judicial district candidates or a candidate committee for a judicial district candidate.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.10. Contribution statements of county office candidates or a candidate committee for a county office candidate.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.11. Contribution statements of city office candidates or a candidate committee for a city office candidate in cities with a resident population of five thousand or more as determined by the last federal decennial census.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.12. Contribution statements of incidental committees and other political committees.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.13. Contribution statements required of initiated or referendum petition sponsoring committees – Statement of petition sponsors.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-03.14. Conduit required to provide detailed contribution information to recipient.

A conduit that transfers any contribution to a candidate, political party, or political committee shall provide the recipient of the contribution a detailed statement that lists the name and address of each individual contributor, the amount of each contribution, and the date each contribution was received. The conduit also shall include on the statement the occupation, employer, and principal place of business of each contributor, or the political committee if not already registered according to state or federal law, which contributed five thousand dollars or more in the aggregate during a reporting period applicable to the candidate, political party, or political committee. The conduit shall provide the statement to the candidate, political party, or political committee in a manner to allow the candidate, political party, or political committee to file any statement required to be filed under this chapter.

16.1-08.1-03.15. Contributions from and expenditures by foreign nationals prohibited.

1. A foreign national may not make or offer to make, directly or indirectly, a contribution or expenditure in connection with any election.
2. A candidate, candidate committee, political party, or any other person may not solicit, accept, or receive, directly or indirectly, a contribution from a foreign national.
3. For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “foreign national” means a person that is:

a. A foreign government;
b. A foreign political party;
c. A foreign corporation, partnership, association, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country;
d. An individual with foreign citizenship; or
e. An individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States and is not admitted lawfully to the United States for permanent residence.

16.1-08.1-04. Supplemental statement required on large contributions received after original statement – Filing time.

Repealed by S.L. 2017, ch. 155, §13.

16.1-08.1-04.1. Personal use of contributions prohibited.

A candidate may not use any contribution received by the candidate, the candidate’s candidate committee, or a multicandidate political committee to:

1. Give a personal benefit to the candidate or another person;
2. Make a loan to another person;
3. Knowingly pay more than the fair market value for goods or services purchased for the campaign; or
4. Pay a criminal fine or civil penalty.

16.1-08.1-05. Audit by secretary of state – Requested audits – Reports.

1. If a substantial irregularity is evident or reasonably alleged, the secretary of state may arrange an audit of any statement filed pursuant to this chapter, to be performed by a certified public accountant of the filer’s choice, subject to approval by the secretary of state. If an audit of a statement arranged by the secretary of state under this subsection reveals a violation of this chapter, the candidate, political party, political committee, or other person filing the statement shall pay a fine to the secretary of state equal to two hundred percent of the aggregate of contributions and expenditures found to be in violation or an amount sufficient to pay the cost of the audit, whichever is greater. If an audit of a statement arranged by the secretary of state under this subsection does not reveal a violation of this chapter, the cost of the audit must be paid for by the secretary of state.
2. If a substantial irregularity is reasonably alleged, the secretary of state may arrange an audit of any statement filed pursuant to this chapter, performed by a certified public accountant of the filer’s choice, subject to approval by the secretary of state, upon written request by any interested party made to the secretary of state within thirty days following receipt of a statement by the secretary of state. The request must be made in writing, recite a substantial irregularity and a lawful reason for requesting an audit, and be accompanied by a bond in an amount established by the secretary of state sufficient to pay the cost of the audit. If an audit of a statement arranged by the secretary of state under this subsection reveals a violation of this chapter, the candidate, political party, or political committee filing the statement shall pay a fine to the secretary of state equal to two hundred percent of the aggregate of contributions and expenditures found to be in violation or an amount sufficient to pay the cost of the audit, whichever is greater, and the bond shall be returned to the person submitting it. If an audit of a statement arranged by the secretary of state under this subsection does not reveal a violation of this chapter, the cost of the audit must be satisfied from the bond filed with the secretary of state.
3. An audit may not be made or requested of a statement for the sole reason that it was not timely filed with the secretary of state. An audit made or arranged according to this section must audit only those items required to be included in any statement, registration, or report filed with the secretary of state according to this chapter. The secretary of state may collect any payment obligation arising out of this section by civil action or by assignment to a collection agency, with any costs of collection to be added to the amount owed and to be paid by the delinquent filer. Any remaining moneys collected by the secretary of state after an audit is paid for under this section must be deposited in the state’s general fund. This section does not apply to statements filed by candidates or candidate committees for candidates for county or city offices.

16.1-08.1-06. Contributions and expenditure statement requirements.

1. Any statement required by this chapter to be filed with the secretary of state must be:

a. Filed electronically with the secretary of state and must be within the prescribed time and in the format established by the secretary of state. If the secretary of state does not receive a statement, an electronic duplicate of the statement must be promptly filed upon notice by the secretary of state of its nonreceipt. After a statement has been filed, the secretary of state may request or accept written clarification along with an amended statement from a candidate, political party, or political committee filing the statement when discrepancies, errors, or omissions on the statement are discovered by the secretary of state, the candidate, political party, or political committee filing the statement, or by any interested party reciting a lawful reason for requesting clarification and an amendment be made. When requesting an amended statement, the secretary of state shall establish a
reasonable period of time, not to exceed ten days, agreed to by the candidate, political party, or political committee, for filing the amended statement with the secretary of state.
b. Preserved by the secretary of state for a period of ten years from the date of the filing deadline. The statement is to be considered a part of the public records of the secretary of state’s office and must be open to public inspection on the internet.

2. In determining the amount of individual contributions from any contributor, all amounts received from the same contributor during the reporting period must be aggregated to report an overall total contribution for the purposes of the statements required by this chapter. Aggregate contributions must reference the date of the most recent contribution. Contributions made separately by different persons from joint accounts are considered separate contributions for reporting purposes.
3. In reporting a contribution received through a conduit, a candidate, political party, or political committee shall list each reportable contribution identifying the person that submitted the contribution to the conduit and provide the required information regarding the contribution from that person rather than identifying the conduit as the contributor.
4. Any statement and data filed with the secretary of state must be made available on the internet to the public free of charge within twenty-four hours after filing.

16.1-08.1-06.1. Filing officer to charge and collect fees for late filing.

1. If a statement or report required to be filed according to this chapter is not filed within the prescribed time, the filing officer to whom the report was to be filed is authorized to charge and collect a late fee as follows:

a. Within six days after the prescribed time, twenty-five dollars;
b. Within eleven days after the prescribed time, fifty dollars; and
c. Thereafter, one hundred dollars.

2. A filing officer may require an amendment to be filed for any statement or report that is incorrect or incomplete. The amendment must be filed with the filing officer within ten business days after the amendment has been requested in writing. If an amendment is not filed within the prescribed time, the filing officer is authorized to charge and collect a late fee as follows:

a. Within six days after the date the amendment was due, fifty dollars;
b. Within eleven days after the date the amendment was due, one hundred dollars; and
c. Thereafter, two hundred dollars.

3. The filing officer may collect any payment obligation arising out of this section by civil action or by assignment to a collection agency, with any costs of collection to be added to the amount owed and to be paid by the delinquent filer.

16.1-08.1-06.2. Secretary of state to provide instructions and conduct training.

The secretary of state shall provide instructions and conduct training for the purpose of promoting uniform application of campaign finance and disclosure requirements and the uniform filing of statements, registrations, or reports according to this chapter.

16.1-08.1-07. Penalty.

Except as otherwise provided, any person who willfully violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

CHAPTER 16.1-09 – STATEMENT OF INTERESTS

16.1-09-01. Declaration of policy.

The legislative assembly declares that public office is a public trust, and in order to continue the faith and confidence of the people of the state in that trust and in their government, the people have a right to be assured that the interest of holders of or candidates for public office present no conflict with the public trust.

16.1-09-02. Statement of interests to be filed.

Every candidate for elective office shall sign and file the statement of interests as required by this chapter. In a year when a president and vice president of the United States are to be chosen, presidential and vice presidential candidates shall file with the secretary of state either a statement of interests as required by this chapter or a copy of the personal disclosure statement that is required by the federal election commission. Candidates for elective office who are required to file such statements shall do so with the filing officer for that election at the time of filing a certificate of nomination, a certificate of endorsement, a petition of nomination, or a certificate of write-in candidacy, pursuant to chapter 16.1-11, 16.1-12, or 40-21, as is appropriate. An individual who has filed a statement as the result of candidacy in a primary election need not refile before running in the following general election. A write-in candidate who is not required to file a certificate of write-in candidacy shall file the statement of interests after the candidate’s election at the time of filing the required oath of office. Every individual who is appointed by the governor to a state agency, board, bureau, commission, department, or occupational or professional licensing board shall file a statement of interests as required by this chapter with the secretary of state simultaneously with announcement of the appointment. A filing officer may not include a candidate’s name on the ballot if an error is discovered on the statement and the candidate is unable to or refuses to make the necessary correction before the sixty-fourth day before the election.

16.1-09-03. Contents of statement of interests.

The statement of interests required to be filed under this chapter applies to the candidate or appointee and that person’s spouse and must include:

1. The name of the business or employer and an identification of the principal source of income, defined in the state income tax return as “principal occupation”, of both the candidate or appointee and that person’s spouse.
2. The name of each business or trust, not the principal source of income, in which the person making the statement, and that person’s spouse, have a financial interest.
3. A list of the associations or institutions with which the person making the statement, and that person’s spouse, are closely associated, or for which they serve as a director or officer, and which may be affected by legislative action, in the case of a statement submitted by a legislative candidate, or action by the candidate or appointee in that person’s capacity as an officeholder.
4. The identity by name of all business offices, business directorships, and fiduciary relationships the person making the statement, and that person’s spouse, have held in the preceding calendar year.

16.1-09-04. Powers and duties of the secretary of state.

The secretary of state shall:

1. Prescribe the forms for statements of interests required to be filed under this chapter and furnish such forms, on request, to persons subject to this chapter.
2. Prepare and publish guidelines setting forth recommended uniform methods of reporting for use by persons required to file statements under this chapter.
3. Adopt such rules and regulations, in the manner prescribed by chapter 28-32, as may be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

16.1-09-05. Powers and duties of the secretary of state and county and city auditors.

The secretary of state, or the county or city auditor, when appropriate shall:

1. Accept and file any statement submitted pursuant to this chapter.
2. Make statements filed available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours. A reasonable fee may be charged to cover the cost of copying. Proceeds from any fees charged must be deposited in the general fund of the appropriate governmental entity.
3. Preserve statements filed under this chapter for the term of office to which the person making disclosure is elected or appointed or until a new statement is filed and preserve statements filed pursuant to this chapter by those candidates who are not elected or appointed for a period of one year after the date of receipt.

16.1-09-06. Procedure for enforcement – Investigation by attorney general or state’s attorney.

Upon a complaint, signed under penalty of perjury, by any person, or upon the motion of the attorney general or a state’s attorney, the attorney general or state’s attorney shall investigate any alleged violation of this chapter. The investigation and its proceedings are confidential until a determination has been reached by the investigating officer that enough incriminating evidence exists to bring an action and such action is commenced in the appropriate district court.

16.1-09-07. Effect of intentional violation of chapter – Penalty.

Any person who intentionally violates a provision of this chapter is guilty of a class B misdemeanor and that person’s appointment, nomination, or election, as the case may be, must be declared void. Any vacancy that may result from the intentional violation of this chapter must be filled in the manner provided by law. This section does not remove from office a person who is already in office and who has entered upon the discharge of the person’s duties where such office is subject to the impeachment provisions of the Constitution of North Dakota.

CHAPTER 16.1-10 – CORRUPT PRACTICES

16.1-10-01. Corrupt practice – What constitutes.

A person is guilty of corrupt practice within the meaning of this chapter if the person willfully engages in any of the following:

1. Expends any money for election purposes contrary to the provisions of this chapter.
2. Engages in any of the practices prohibited by section 12.1-14-02 or 12.1-14-03.
3. Is guilty of the use of state services or property or the services or property of a political subdivision of the state for political purposes.

16.1-10-02. Use of state or political subdivision services or property for political purposes.

1. No person may use any property belonging to or leased by, or any service which is provided to or carried on by, either directly or by contract, the state or any agency, department, bureau, board, commission, or political subdivision thereof, for any political purpose.
2. The following definitions must be used for the purposes of this section:

a. “Political purpose” means any activity undertaken in support of or in opposition to a statewide initiated or referred measure, a constitutional amendment or measure, a political subdivision ballot measure, or the election or nomination of a candidate to public office and includes using “vote for”, “oppose”, or any similar support or opposition language in any advertisement whether the activity is undertaken by a candidate, a political committee, a political party, or any person. In the period thirty days before a primary election and sixty days before a special or general election, “political purpose” also means any activity in which a candidate’s name, office, district, or any term meaning the same as “incumbent” or “challenger” is used in support of or in opposition to the election or nomination of a candidate to public office. The term does not include activities undertaken in the performance of public office or a position taken in any bona fide news story, commentary, or editorial. Factual information may be presented regarding a ballot question solely for the purpose of educating voters if the information does not advocate for or against or otherwise reflect a position on the adoption or rejection of the ballot question.
b. “Property” includes motor vehicles, telephones, typewriters, adding machines, postage or postage meters, funds of money, and buildings. However, nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit any candidate, political party, committee, or organization from using any public building for such political meetings as may be required by law, or to prohibit such candidate, party, committee, or organization from hiring the use of any public building for any political purpose if such lease or hiring is otherwise permitted by law.
c. “Services” includes the use of employees during regular working hours for which such employees have not taken annual or sick leave or other compensatory leave.

16.1-10-03. Political badge, button, or insignia at elections.

No individual may buy, sell, give, or provide any political badge, button, or any insignia within a polling place or within one hundred feet [30.48 meters] from the entrance to the room containing the polling place while it is open for voting. No such political badge, button, or insignia may be worn within that same area while a polling place is open for voting.

16.1-10-04. Publication of false information in political advertisements – Penalty.

A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if that person knowingly, or with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity, publishes any political advertisement or news release that contains any assertion, representation, or statement of fact, including information concerning a candidate’s prior public record, which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading, whether on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, initiated measure, referred measure, constitutional amendment, or any other issue, question, or proposal on an election ballot, and whether the publication is by radio, television, newspaper, pamphlet, folder, display cards, signs, posters, billboard advertisements, websites, electronic transmission, or by any other public means. This section does not apply to a newspaper, television or radio station, or other commercial medium that is not the source of the political advertisement or news release.

16.1-10-04.1. Certain political advertisements to disclose name of sponsor – Name disclosure requirements.

Every political advertisement by newspaper, pamphlet or folder, display card, sign, poster, or billboard, website, or by any other similar public means, on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, designed to assist, injure, or defeat the candidate by reflecting upon the candidate’s personal character or political action, or by a measure committee as described in section 16.1-08.1-01, or a corporation making an independent expenditure either for or against a measure, must disclose on the advertisement the name of the person, as defined in section 16.1-08.1-01, or political party paying for the advertisement. If the name of a political party, association, or partnership is used, the disclaimer must also include the name of the chairman or other responsible individual from the political party, association, or partnership. The name of the person paying for any radio or television broadcast containing any advertising announcement for or against any candidate for public office must be announced at the close of the broadcast. If the name of a political party, association, or partnership is used, the disclaimer must also include the name of the chairman or other responsible individual from the political party, association, or partnership. In every political advertisement in which the name of the person paying for the advertisement is disclosed, the first and last name of any named individual must be disclosed. An advertisement paid for by an individual candidate or group of candidates must disclose that the advertisement was paid for by the individual candidate or group of candidates. The first and last name or names of the candidates paying for the advertisement are not required to be disclosed. This section does not apply to campaign buttons.

16.1-10-05. Paying owner, editor, publisher, or agent of newspaper to advocate or oppose candidate editorially prohibited.

No person may pay or give anything of value to the owner, editor, publisher, or agent of any newspaper or other periodical, or radio or television station, to induce the person to advocate editorially or to oppose any candidate for nomination or election, and no such owner, editor, publisher, or agent may accept such inducement.

16.1-10-06. Electioneering within boundary of an open polling place.

1. An individual may not ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade, any voter within a polling place or within one hundred feet [30.48 meters] from the entrance to the room containing a polling place while it is open for voting to vote or refrain from voting for any candidate or the candidates or ticket of any political party or organization, or any measure submitted to the people. The display upon motor vehicles of adhesive signs which are not readily removable and which promote the candidacy of any individual, any political party, or a vote upon any measure, and political advertisements promoting the candidacy of any individual, political party, or a vote upon any measure which are displayed on fixed permanent billboards, may not, however, be deemed a violation of this section.
2. A vehicle or movable sign of any type containing a political message as described in subsection 1 may be allowed to remain within the restricted area only for the period of time necessary for the owner or operator of the vehicle or sign to complete the act of voting.
3. Except as provided in subsection 1, a sign placed on private property which displays a political message may not be restricted by a political subdivision, including a home rule city or county, unless the political subdivision demonstrates a burden to the public safety.

16.1-10-06.1. Paying for certain election-related activities prohibited.

No person may pay any individual for:

1. Any loss or damage due to attendance at the polls;
2. Registering;
3. The expense of transportation to or from the polls; or
4. Personal services to be performed on the day of a caucus, primary election, or any election which tend in any way, directly or indirectly, to affect the result of such caucus or election.

16.1-10-06.2. Sale or distribution at polling place.

A person may not approach a person attempting to enter a polling place, or who is in a polling place, for the purpose of selling, soliciting for sale, advertising for sale, or distributing any merchandise, product, literature, or service. A person may not approach a person attempting to enter a polling place, who is in a polling place, or who is leaving a polling place for the purpose of gathering signatures for any reason. These prohibitions apply in any polling place or within one hundred feet [30.48 meters] from any entrance leading into a polling place while it is open for voting.

16.1-10-07. Candidate guilty of corrupt practice to vacate nomination of office.

If any person is found guilty of any corrupt practice, the person must be punished by being deprived of the person’s government job, or the person’s nomination or election must be declared void, as the case may be. This section does not remove from office a person who is already in office and who has entered upon the discharge of the person’s duties when such office is subject to the impeachment provisions of the Constitution of North Dakota.

16.1-10-08. Penalty for violation of chapter.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter, for which another penalty is not specifically provided, is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

CHAPTER 16.1-11 – NOMINATIONS FOR OFFICE – PRIMARY ELECTION

16.1-11-01. Primary election – When held – Nomination of candidates – Nomination for special elections.

On the second Tuesday in June of every general election year, a primary election must be held for the nomination of candidates for the following offices in the years of their regular election: United States senators, member of the United States house of representatives, members of the legislative assembly, elected state officials, judges of the supreme court and district court, county officers, and county commissioners. In special elections the nominations for the officers enumerated in this section must be made as provided in this title.

16.1-11-02. Presidential preference contest – Time for holding.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 174, § 6.

16.1-11-02.1. Presidential preference contest conduct – Mail ballot election.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 174, § 6.

16.1-11-02.2. Presidential preference contest – Requirements.

Expired under S.L. 1995, ch. 209, § 13.

16.1-11-02.3. Presidential preference contest – Rules.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 174, § 6.

16.1-11-03. Political parties authorized to conduct presidential preference contest.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 174, § 6.

16.1-11-03.1. 2000 presidential caucus.

Expired pursuant to S.L. 1999, ch. 207, § 6.

16.1-11-04. Presidential preference contest.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 174, § 6.

16.1-11-05. Secretary of state to give notice to county auditor of officers to be nominated.

Repealed by S.L. 2015, ch. 158, § 5.

16.1-11-05.1. Participation in endorsements for nomination.

No person may participate directly or indirectly in the endorsement for nomination of more than one person for each office to be filled, except a person may sign a petition for placement of a candidate’s name on the primary ballot:

1. For more than one person for each office for an office not under party designation.
2. For more than one person for each office for an office under party designation only if all the candidates for whom the person signs a petition for an office are running under the same party designation.

Except for persons allowed to seek nomination to more than one office pursuant to section 16.1-12-03, no person may accept endorsement for nomination by certificate or petition to more than one office. No political party is entitled to endorse for nomination by certificate more than one set of nominees.

16.1-11-06. State candidate’s petition or political party certificate of endorsement required to get name on ballot – Contents – Filing.

1. Every candidate for United States senator, United States representative, a state office, including the office of state senator or state representative, and judges of the supreme and district courts shall present to the secretary of state, between the first date candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions according to this chapter and before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day before any primary election, either:

a. The certificate of endorsement signed by the state chairman of any legally recognized political party containing the candidate’s name, post-office address, and telephone number, the title of the office to which the candidate aspires, and the party which the candidate represents; or
b. The nominating petition containing the following:

(1) The candidate’s name, post-office address, and telephone number, and the title of the office to which the candidate aspires, the appropriate district judgeship number if applicable, and whether the petition is intended for nomination for an unexpired term of office if applicable.
(2) The name of the party the candidate represents if the petition is for an office under party designation.
(3) The signatures of qualified electors, the number of which must be determined as follows:

(a) If the office is under party designation, the signatures of three percent of the total vote cast for the candidates of the party with which the candidate affiliates for the same position at the last general election. However, no more than three hundred signatures may be required.
(b) If there was no candidate of a party for a position at the preceding general election, at least three hundred signatures.
(c) If the office is under the no-party designation, at least three hundred signatures.
(d) If the office is a legislative office, the signatures of at least one percent of the total resident population of the legislative district as determined by the most recent federal decennial census.

(4) The mailing address and the date of signing for each signer.

2. If the petition or certificate of endorsement is for the office of governor and lieutenant governor, the petition or certificate must contain the names and other information required of candidates for both those offices. If the petition or certificate of endorsement is mailed, it must be in the possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day before the primary election.

16.1-11-07. Presidential candidates on ballot – Filing time.

Repealed by S.L. 2007, ch. 197, § 9.

16.1-11-08. Reference to party affiliation in petition and affidavit prohibited for certain offices.

No reference may be made to a party ballot or to the party affiliation of a candidate in a petition and affidavit filed by or on behalf of a candidate for nomination in the primary election to an elective county office, the office of judge of the supreme court, judge of the district court, or superintendent of public instruction.

16.1-11-09. Form of certificate of endorsement.

A certificate of endorsement filed with the proper officer as provided in this chapter must be in substantially the following form:

CERTIFICATE OF ENDORSEMENT

I, _______________, do certify that I am the state (district) chairman of the
______________ political party of the _____________ legislative district (if appropriate) of the state of North Dakota and that _____________ (insert name of endorsee), residing at ______________, was duly endorsed for nomination to the office of _______________ on the _______________ day of __________, by the ________________ political party of the ________________ legislative district (if appropriate), duly convened and organized in accordance with the bylaws of the ________________ political party and the laws of this state, and do hereby request _______________ name be printed upon the ballot as a candidate for nomination to the office of ________________ at the forthcoming primary election to be held on _____________ of this year.
Dated this _____________ day of ________.

___________________________

(signature of state or district chairman)

16.1-11-10. Applicant’s name placed upon ballot – Affidavit to accompany petition.

Upon receipt by the secretary of state of the petition or certificate of endorsement provided for in section 16.1-11-06 accompanied by the following affidavit, the secretary of state shall place the applicant’s name upon the primary election ballot in the columns of the applicant’s party as hereinafter provided. The affidavit must be substantially as follows:
State of North Dakota       )

) ss.

County of ________       )
I,______________, being sworn, say that I reside at ____________, in the city of
_____________, in the county of ______________ of North Dakota; and zip code of _________________; that I am a candidate for nomination to the office of _____________to be chosen at the primary election to be held on ___________, ______, and I request that my name be printed upon the primary election ballot as provided by law, as a candidate of the ___________ party for said office. I am requesting that my name be listed on the ballot as I have identified my ballot name below. I understand that nicknames are allowed as part of my ballot name, but titles and campaign slogans are not permissible. I have reviewed the requirements to hold office and I certify that I am qualified to serve if elected.

______________________________

Ballot name requested

______________________________

Candidate’s signature

Subscribed and sworn to before me on ______________, ________.

______________________________

Notary Public

NOTARY SEAL                                                                           My Commission Expires _______________________

16.1-11-11. County candidates’ petitions – Filing – Contents.

Every candidate for a county office shall present, between the first date candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions according to this chapter and before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day before any primary election, to the county auditor of the county in which the candidate resides, a petition containing the following:

1. The candidate’s name, post-office address, and telephone number, the title of the office to which the candidate aspires, the appropriate district number if applicable, and whether the petition is intended for nomination for an unexpired term of office if applicable.
2. The signatures of qualified electors, the number of which must be determined as follows:

a. If the office is a county office, the signatures of not less than two percent of the total vote cast for the office at the most recent general election at which the office was voted upon.
b. If the office is a county office and multiple candidates were elected to the office at the preceding general election at which the office was voted upon, the signatures of not less than two percent of the votes cast for all candidates divided by the number of candidates that were to be elected to that office.
c. If the office is a county office and no candidate was elected or no votes were cast for the office at any general election, the number of signers equal to the percentage as provided in paragraph 1 applied to the total average vote cast for the offices of sheriff and county auditor at the most recent general election at which those officers were elected in the petitioner’s county. This average must be determined by dividing by two the total vote cast for those offices.
d. In no case may more than three hundred signatures be required.

3. The residential address, mailing address (if different from residential address), and date of signing for each signer. A post office box does not qualify as a residential address. In those areas of the state where street addresses are not available, a description of where the residential address is located shall be used.

If the petition or certificate of endorsement is mailed, it must be in the possession of the county auditor before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the primary election.

16.1-11-11.1. Deadline for placing county and city measures on primary, general, or special election ballots.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a county may not submit a measure for consideration of the voters at a primary, general, or special statewide, district, or county election after four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election. A city that has combined its regular or a special election with a primary, general, or special county election, according to the provisions set forth in section 40-21-02, may not submit a measure for consideration of the voters at that election after four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election.

16.1-11-12. County auditor to place applicant’s name on ballot.

Upon receipt of the petition or certificate of endorsement provided for in section 16.1-11-11 by the county auditor and when accompanied by an affidavit as provided in section 16.1-11-10, the county auditor shall place the name of the applicant upon the primary election ballot in the party or appropriate column, as the case may be.

16.1-11-13. Filing petition or certificate of endorsement when legislative district composed of more than one county – Certificate of county auditor.

Repealed by S.L. 2013, ch. 175, § 11.

16.1-11-14. Application by other persons to place name on ballot – Petition – Affidavit.

Repealed by S.L. 1995, ch. 207, § 20.

16.1-11-15. Nominating petition not to be circulated prior to January first – Special election.

No nominating petition provided for in sections 16.1-11-06 and 16.1-11-11 may be circulated or signed prior to January first preceding the primary election. Any signatures to a petition secured before that time may not be counted. A nominating petition for a special election may not be circulated or signed more than thirty days before the time when a petition for the special election must be filed.

16.1-11-16. Form of nominating petitions.

1. Each nominating petition circulated by candidates for any state, district, county, or other political subdivision office must include or have attached the following information, which must be made available to each signer at the time of signing:

a. The candidate’s name, address, and telephone number and the title of the office to which the candidate aspires, including the appropriate district number if applicable, or whether the petition is intended for an unexpired term of office if applicable.
b. The name of the party the candidate represents if the petition is for an office under party designation.
c. The date of the election at which the candidate is seeking nomination or election.

2. Only qualified electors of the state, district, county, or other political subdivision, as the case may be, may sign nominating petitions. In addition to signing the person’s name, petition signers shall include the following information:

a. The date of signing.

b. Complete residential address. A post office box does not qualify as a residential address. In those areas of the state where street addresses are not available, a description of where the residential address is located shall be used.
c. Complete mailing address if different from residential address.

3. Incomplete signatures or accompanying information of petition signers which do not meet the requirements of this section invalidate such signatures. The use of ditto marks to indicate that the information contained on the previous signature line carries over does not invalidate a signature. Signatures that are not accompanied by a complete date are not invalid if the signatures are preceded and followed by a signature that is accompanied by a complete date.

16.1-11-17. Filling vacancy in party primary election ballot permissible – Petition – Affidavit.

Repealed by S.L. 1995, ch. 207, § 20.

16.1-11-18. Party committees to fill vacancy occurring in nomination for party office.

1. If a vacancy occurs in any party certificate of endorsement at the primary election for any state or legislative district office, the proper state or district executive committee of the political party may fill the vacancy by filing another certificate of endorsement with the proper officer as provided in sections 16.1-11-06 and 16.1-11-11.
2. If no party endorsement has been made by certificate and a vacancy occurs in a slate of candidates seeking party nomination by petition at the primary election, the proper state or district executive committee may fill the vacancy by filing a certificate of endorsement with the proper officer as provided in sections 16.1-11-06 and 16.1-11-11.
3. If party endorsements by certificate have been made for any state or district office and a vacancy occurs in the slate of persons seeking nomination at the primary election because of the unavailability of the person who is seeking nomination by petition, that vacancy may not be filled except by petition.
4. If a vacancy occurs in a slate of statewide candidates after the candidates have been nominated at the primary election, the proper state executive committee may fill any vacancy by filing a certificate of nomination with the secretary of state. The chairman and secretary of the committee shall make and file with the secretary of state a certificate setting forth the cause of the vacancy, the name of the person for whom the new nominee is to be substituted, the fact that the committee was authorized to fill vacancies, and any further information as may be required to be given in an original certificate of nomination. When such a certificate is filed, the secretary of state shall certify the new nomination and the name of the person who has been nominated to fill the vacancy in place of the original nominee to the various auditors. If the secretary of state already has forwarded the certificate, the secretary of state forthwith shall certify to the auditors the name and address of the new nominee, the office the new nominee is nominated for, the party or political principle the new nominee represents, and the name of the person for whom the new nominee is substituting. Failure to publish the name of a new nominee does not invalidate the election.
5. If a vacancy occurs in a slate of legislative candidates after the candidates have been nominated at the primary election, the proper district executive committee may fill the vacancy by filing a certificate of nomination with the secretary of state. The chairman and secretary of the committee shall make and file with the secretary of state a certificate setting forth the cause of the vacancy, the name of the person for whom the new nominee is to be substituted, the fact that the committee was authorized to fill vacancies, and any further information as may be required to be given in an original certificate of nomination. When the certificate is filed, the secretary of state shall certify the new nomination to the various county auditors affected by the change by forwarding to them the name of the person who has been nominated to fill the vacancy in place of the original nominee. The certification must include the name and address of the new nominee, the office the new nominee is nominated for, the party or political principle the new nominee represents, and the name of the person for whom the new nominee is substituting. Failure to publish the name of a new nominee does not invalidate the election.
6. A vacancy in a nomination following a primary election may not be filled according to subsection 4 or 5 unless the nominated candidate:

a. Dies;
b. Would be unable to serve, if elected, as a result of a debilitating illness;
c. Ceases to be a resident of the state or an individual nominated for legislative office will not be a resident of the legislative district at the time of the election; or
d. Ceases to be qualified to serve, if elected, as otherwise provided by law.

Vacancies to be filled according to the provisions of this section may be filled not later than the sixty-fourth day prior to the election.

16.1-11-19. Filling vacancy existing on no-party ballot – Petition required – Time of filing.

If a vacancy exists on a no-party ballot for a state office or for judge of a district court, the vacancy may be filled by filing with the secretary of state, before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the primary election, a written petition as provided in section 16.1-11-06, stating that the petitioner desires to become a candidate for nomination to the office for which a vacancy exists. If the petition is mailed, it must be in the possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the primary election. The petition for the nomination of any person to fill the vacancy must be signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least two percent of the total vote cast for governor at the most recent general election in the state or district at which the office of governor was voted upon, but in no case may more than three hundred signatures be required.
If a vacancy exists on a no-party ballot in a county or district within a county, the vacancy may be filled by filing with the county auditor, before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day prior to the primary election, a written petition as provided in section 16.1-11-11, stating that the petitioner desires to become a candidate for nomination to the office for which a vacancy exists. If the petition is mailed, it must be in the possession of the county auditor before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the primary election. The petition for the nomination of any person to fill the vacancy must be signed by qualified electors as provided in subdivision c of subsection 2 of section 16.1-11-11. A vacancy in the no-party ballot must be deemed to exist when a candidate who was qualified by filing a petition pursuant to section 16.1-11-06 or 16.1-11-11 dies, resigns, or otherwise becomes disqualified to have the candidate’s name printed on the ballot.

16.1-11-20. Certified list of nominees transmitted to county auditor by secretary of state.

At least fifty-five days before any primary election, the secretary of state shall electronically transmit to each county auditor a certified list containing the names of each person for whom nomination papers have been filed in the secretary of state’s office and who are entitled to be voted for at the primary election. A designation of the office for which each is a candidate, and if applicable, the party or principle represented by each must be included.

16.1-11-21. County auditor to publish sample primary election ballot and notice of time and place of election.

The county auditor shall publish in the official county newspaper, and if no newspaper is published in the county then in a newspaper published in an adjoining county in the state, the following:

1. A copy of the sample ballot of the primary election, as arranged by order and direction of the county auditor. The form of the sample ballot must conform in all respects to the form prescribed for the sample primary ballot by the secretary of state. The county auditor shall publish the sample ballot in all forms appropriate for the method or methods of voting in the county. Absent voters’ ballots may not be considered in determining which form of voting is used. Candidates from each legislative district that falls within the boundaries of the county must be listed in a separate box or category within the sample ballot by legislative district number to enable the voters in each legislative district to ascertain the legislative candidates in their specific district.
2. The date of the primary election.
3. The hours during which the polls will be open.
4. The statement that the primary election balloting will be held in the regular polling place in each precinct.

The notice must be published in the official county newspaper once each week for two consecutive weeks before the primary election and include a statement in substantially the following format:
The arrangement of candidate names appearing on ballots in your precinct may vary from the published sample ballots, depending upon the precinct and legislative district in which you reside.

16.1-11-22. Primary election ballot – Form – Voters to vote for candidates of only one political party.

At the primary election there may be only one ballot for all parties or principles. The ballot must be in the following form:

1. The ballot must be entitled the “consolidated primary election ballot”.
2. Each political party or principle having candidates at the primary election must have a separate section on the ballot.
3. At the head of each column must be printed the name of the political party or principle which it represents.
4. Spanning the columns containing the political party ballot and prior to the party names or principle titles must be printed: “In a Political Party Primary Election, you may only vote for the candidates of one political party. This ballot contains the number of political parties or principles and a description of where the political parties or principles are to be found in the columns below. If you vote in more than one political party’s section, your Political Party Ballot will be rejected; however, all votes on the No Party and Measure Ballots will still be counted.”
5. Immediately below the warning against voting for candidates of more than one political party must be printed: “To vote for the candidate of your choice, you must darken the oval next to the name of that candidate. To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, you must darken the oval next to the blank line provided and write that person’s name on the blank line.”
6. The offices specified in section 16.1-11-26 must be arranged in each section with the name of each office in the center of each political party section at the head of the names of all the aspirants for the office.
7. Immediately under the name of each office must be printed: “Vote for no more than ____________ name (or names).”
8. Immediately preceding and on the same line as the name of each aspirant must be printed an oval in which the voter is to mark the voter’s choice by darkening the oval next to the name of the candidate chosen.
9. The political party or principle which cast the largest vote for governor at the most recent primary election at which the office of governor was voted upon must have the first section, and the political party or principle casting the next largest vote must have the second section, and so on.

The judges and the inspector of elections shall inform each elector at the primary, before voting, that if the voter votes for candidates of more than one political party the voter’s political party ballot will be rejected.

16.1-11-23. Presidential preference contest ballots.

Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 185, § 18.

16.1-11-24. No-party primary ballot – Contents.

There must be a separate ballot at all primary elections which must be entitled “no-party primary ballot”. The names of aspirants for nomination to each office must be arranged on the no-party primary ballot in separate groups in their order. The separate ballot may be on the same paper or electronic ballot, but the list of offices and candidates must be entitled “no-party primary ballot” in a manner to indicate clearly the separation of the no-party list of offices and candidates from the party list of offices and candidates. The names of all candidates for any of the offices mentioned in section 16.1-11-08 must be placed on the ballot without party designation. Immediately under the name of each office must be placed the language: “Vote for no more than name (or names).” The number inserted must be the number to be elected to the office at the next succeeding general election.

16.1-11-25. Preparation, printing, distributing, canvassing, and returning of no-party ballot.

The no-party ballot must be prepared, printed, distributed, canvassed, and returned in the same manner provided for other primary election ballots.

16.1-11-26. Order in which names of offices shall appear on ballot.

The primary election ballot for party nominations shall contain the following offices in the following order under each party column:

1. Congressional:

United States senator

representative in Congress

2. Legislative:

state senator ___________ district
state representative ___________district

3. State offices:

governor and lieutenant governor

secretary of state
state auditor

state treasurer

attorney general
insurance commissioner

agriculture commissioner

public service commissioner

tax commissioner

16.1-11-27. Arrangement of names on ballots.

Sample ballots used for publication purposes must be arranged using the rotation of the ballot in the precinct in the county which cast the highest total vote for governor at the last general election at which the office of governor was filled. In the event that this determination is no longer possible due to changes in precinct boundaries, the precincts are to be ordered according to the precincts with the greatest voting age population to the least. This information is to be provided by the North Dakota state data center or based on the best available data as determined by the county auditor. On the official ballot used at the election, including electronic voting system ballots, the names of candidates beside or under headings designating each office to be voted for must be alternated in the following manner:

1. The ballot must first be arranged with all the names for each office on the ballot in an order determined by lot by the county auditor and prepared by the county auditor for all state, district, and county offices. The position of names that require alternating under the provisions of this section must be alternated by an algorithm approved by the secretary of state designed to ensure to the extent possible that each name on the ballot for an office is listed in each position order on an equal number of precinct ballots spread across the county. There must be a different alternation sequence for each of the following, based on the geographical area by which the office is filled:

a. Offices to be filled by the electors of the state, the entire county, or any district which includes the entire county.
b. Offices to be filled by the electors of districts smaller than the county, with a different rotation for each of those districts.

2. Although the names are to be alternated within the offices on the ballot, the name order for an office is to be the same for all ballots within a precinct.

16.1-11-28. Piling, cutting, and blocking ballots.

Repealed by S.L. 1999, ch. 209, § 2.

16.1-11-29. Preparation of ballot.

Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the primary election ballot must be prepared as provided in chapter 16.1-06.

16.1-11-30. Separate section on primary election ballot required for each political party.

Any party that had printed on the ballot at the last preceding presidential election the names of a set of presidential electors pledged to the election of the party’s candidates for president and vice president or a candidate for governor and those candidates for presidential electors or governor received at least five percent of the total vote cast for presidential electors or the office of governor within this state at that election; any party that had printed on the ballot at the last preceding nonpresidential election a candidate for attorney general or secretary of state, and the candidate received at least five percent of the total vote cast for the office the candidate was seeking at the election; or any party that has organized according to all the requirements of chapter 16.1-03 must be provided with a separate section on primary election ballots.
Any other political organization is entitled to endorse candidates or have candidates petition to be included on the primary ballot in a separate section of the consolidated primary election ballot, if a petition signed by at least seven thousand qualified electors of this state is filed with the secretary of state before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day before a primary or special election, naming the political organization, stating the platform principles of the party, and requesting the names of its candidates to be included on the state’s primary ballot in a separate section. Political organizations that are granted ballot access under this section are allowed ballot access only for those offices for which the organization has identified candidates. Regardless of the means by which the petition is delivered, the original must be in the possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to a primary or special election. Candidates of that party are entitled to the same rights and privileges as those of other parties. Petitions circulated according to this section must be filed with the secretary of state in accordance with section 1-01-50.
A political organization that had printed on the ballot at the last preceding presidential election the names of a set of presidential electors pledged to the election of the party’s candidates for president and vice president or a candidate for governor and those candidates for presidential electors or governor received at least five percent of the total vote cast for presidential electors or the office of governor within this state at that election, and any political organization that has printed on the ballot at the last preceding nonpresidential election a candidate for attorney general or secretary of state, and the candidate received at least five percent of the total vote cast for the office the candidate was seeking at the election are entitled to organize according to the requirements of chapter 16.1-03.

16.1-11-31. Precinct election reports.

Optical scan ballot tabulation machines must print reports detailing the election results from the precinct after the close of the polls.

16.1-11-32. Poll lists kept by clerks of elections.

The clerks of primary elections shall keep either one paper or one electronic list of the names of all persons voting at each primary election. The clerks must return the list, which must be a part of the records and filed with other election returns. Only one complete list of voters may be kept whether or not a special election is held simultaneously with the primary election.

16.1-11-33. Judges of election to run report of primary election – Contents.

The judges of a primary election in each precinct shall run a separate report for each political party or principle, containing the names of all persons voted for at the primary election, the number of votes cast for each candidate, and for what office. The report must be subscribed by the election judges and must be filed with the returns in the office of the county auditor.

16.1-11-34. Counting and canvassing of votes in presidential preference contest.

Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 185, § 18.

16.1-11-35. Nominations by write-in.

The provisions of this title do not prevent any elector from writing on the paper ballot, or in the case of direct-recording electronic voting system devices, entering by touchscreen or other data entry device, the name of any person for whom the elector desires to vote, and such vote must be counted according to the provisions for the counting of write-in votes found in section 16.1-12-02.2.

16.1-11-36. Vote required at primary election for nomination.

A person may not be deemed nominated as a candidate for any office at any primary election unless that person receives a number of votes equal to the number of signatures required, or which would have been required had the person not had the person’s name placed on the ballot through a certificate of endorsement, on a petition to have a candidate’s name for that office placed on the primary ballot.

16.1-11-37. Vote required for nomination on no-party ballot – Partisan nominations prohibited.

The number of persons to be nominated as candidates for any one no-party office must be that number of persons who receive the highest number of votes and who total twice the number of available positions for the office if that many persons are candidates for nomination. Provided, however, that a person may not be deemed nominated as a candidate for any no-party office at any primary election unless the number of votes received by the person equals the number of signatures of qualified electors required to be obtained on a petition to have a candidate’s name for the office placed on the primary ballot. No partisan nominations may be made for any of the offices mentioned in section 16.1-11-08.

16.1-11-38. Tie vote determination.

In case of a tie vote the nominee or nominees must be determined by a drawing of names in the presence of the candidates upon at least five days’ notice to each candidate, by the canvassing board or boards concerned, at a time and place designated by the board. A candidate involved in a tie vote may withdraw the candidate’s name from consideration if the candidate is willing to sign a statement to that effect in the presence of and witnessed by the filing officer of the election. If no candidates remain, the office is to be filled according to the rules of filling an office when a vacancy exists.

16.1-11-39. Persons nominated in accordance with provisions of chapter eligible as candidates in general election.

All persons nominated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter are eligible as candidates to be voted for at the ensuing general election.

16.1-11-40. Primary election and ballot governed by general election provisions.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the primary election ballot must be arranged, and the primary election must be provided for, conducted, and the expenses thereof paid as in the case of a general election.

CHAPTER 16.1-11.1 – MAIL BALLOT ELECTIONS

16.1-11.1-01. Counties may conduct mail ballot elections – Polling places – Records.

1. The board of county commissioners of a county may conduct an election by mail ballot. The mail ballot election must include city elections administered by the county auditor and may include any other election administered by the county auditor pursuant to an agreement with the governing body of a political subdivision within the county. The board shall designate one or more polling places in the county to be open on the day of the election for voting in the usual manner. The county auditor shall place a notice at all polling places in the county used at the last statewide election which states the location of the polling places open for the election. The county auditor shall keep a record of each mail ballot provided to qualified electors and provide to the election board at each polling place open on the day of the election a list of every person who applied for a mail ballot.
2. The board of county commissioners of a county may conduct an election partially by mail ballot. If the board of county commissioners chooses to conduct an election partially by mail ballot, the commission may use mail ballots for any precinct in which fewer than four hundred votes were cast for the office of governor at the last general election at which that office was on the ballot.

16.1-11.1-02. Application for mail ballots.

The county auditor shall mail an application form for a mail ballot to each individual listed in the central voter file for the county on one date no sooner than the fiftieth day before the election and no later than the fortieth day before the election. The county auditor, for two consecutive weeks after the date on which the mail ballot applications are mailed, shall publish in the official newspaper of the county an application form for a mail ballot and a notice that additional mail ballot applications may be obtained from the election official. The application form for a mail ballot must be in substantially the form provided in section 16.1-07-06.

16.1-11.1-03. Mail ballot distribution.

The county auditor shall mail an official mail ballot with a return identification envelope, voter’s affidavit, and instructions according to section 16.1-07-08.

16.1-11.1-04. Voting by electors.

Upon receipt of a mail ballot, an elector shall mark it, sign the return identification envelope, and comply with the instructions provided with the ballot. The elector may return the completed ballot to the county auditor by mail or, before five p.m. on the day before the election, to any other place of deposit designated by the auditor. If the elector returns the ballot by mail, the elector shall provide the postage, and the ballot must be postmarked no later than the day before the election.

16.1-11.1-05. Replacement ballots.

An elector may obtain a replacement ballot if a mail ballot is destroyed, spoiled, lost, or not received by the elector. The elector seeking a replacement ballot shall make the elector’s request of the county auditor or appropriate election officer no later than four p.m. on the day before the election. After submission to the appropriate election officer, a voter’s marked mail ballot may not be returned to the voter for any reason other than to complete any missing information required on the affidavit on the back of the return envelope.

16.1-11.1-06. Canvass of votes – Mail ballot precinct.

The county auditor shall appoint a mail ballot precinct election board for the purpose of counting mail ballots in the same manner as prescribed in section 16.1-07-12.1. The board may begin scanning the ballots at any time beginning on the day before election day and the closing of the polls on election day. Results from the mail ballot precinct may be counted, canvassed, or released under chapter 16.1-15 as soon as any precinct within the county, city, or legislative district closes its polls on the day of the election. The county auditor shall designate a location for the closing, counting, and canvassing process under chapter 16.1-15, which location must be open to any person for the purpose of observing. The board shall comply with the requirements of sections 16.1-15-04 through 16.1-15-12 as applicable. A county conducting a mail ballot election constitutes one voting area, and ballots need not be sorted according to precinct or ward unless necessary for the administration of the election.

16.1-11.1-07. Counting of mail ballots.

A mail ballot may be counted only if:

1. The ballot is returned in the return identification envelope with a postmark or official date stamp of at least the day before the election and received prior to the meeting of the canvassing board;
2. The envelope is signed by the elector to whom the ballot is issued; and
3. The signature has been verified by the election board with the signature on the elector’s mail ballot application form.

16.1-11.1-08. Election laws applicable.

When applicable, all election procedures provided in this title must be followed.

CHAPTER 16.1-12 – CERTIFICATES OF NOMINATION – VACANCIES

16.1-12-01. Certificate of nomination – Party and independent.

A certificate of nomination must be either:

1. The certificate of nomination required to be executed by the state or a county canvassing board pursuant to sections 16.1-15-40 and 16.1-15-21, respectively, for party nominations.
2. The certificate of nomination by petition for independent nominations provided for by this chapter.

16.1-12-02. Certificates of nomination by petition – Form and contents.

Certificates of nomination for nominees for an office to be filled at a general or special election, except for an office appearing on the no-party ballot, may be made as provided by this section. Except for nominees for president of the United States, names of nominees so nominated must appear on the ballot as independent nominations. The names of nominees for president of the United States may appear on the ballot with a designation, not to exceed five words, that names the organization or political party to which the presidential candidate affiliates. The designation may not falsely indicate an affiliation with or the support of any political party organized in accordance with this title or include any substantive word or phrase that is profane or that is already included in or resembles the name of a political party entitled to a separate column under section 16.1-11-30. Except for candidates for the office of president of the United States, each certificate of nomination by petition must meet the specifications for nominating petitions set forth in section 16.1-11-16. A political party or organization desiring to submit to the secretary of state the name of a qualified candidate for the office of the president of the United States may begin gathering the signatures for the certificate of nomination on the first day of January of a presidential election year and shall submit the petition to the secretary of state before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the general election. The signatures on the petition must be in the following number:

1. Except as provided in subsection 3, if the nomination is for an office to be filled by the qualified electors of the entire state, there must be no fewer than one thousand signatures.
2. If the nomination is for an office to be filled by the qualified electors of a district less than the entire state, the number of signatures must be at least two percent of the resident population of the district as determined by the most recent federal decennial census, but in no case may more than three hundred signatures be required.
3. If the nomination is for the office of president, there must be no fewer than four thousand signatures and the petition must contain the names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates along with the names of the North Dakota presidential electors selected from the qualified electors of North Dakota.
4. If the petition is for the office of governor or lieutenant governor, it must contain the names and other required information of candidates for both those offices.

16.1-12-02.1. Applicant’s name placed upon ballot – Affidavit to accompany petition.

Upon receipt by the secretary of state of the certificate of nomination provided for in section 16.1-12-02 accompanied by the following affidavit, the secretary of state shall place the applicant’s name upon the general election ballot. The affidavit must be substantially as follows:
State of North Dakota  )

        ) ss.

County of ________ )
I, ________________, being sworn, say that I reside at ____________, in the city of _______________, in the county of ______________, state of North Dakota; and zip code of ________; that I am a candidate for nomination to the office of ________________ to be chosen at the general election to be held on _____________, _______, and I request that my name be printed upon the general election ballot as provided by law, as a candidate of __________ party for said office. I am requesting that my name be listed on the ballot as I have identified my ballot name below. I understand that nicknames are allowed as part of my ballot name, but titles and campaign slogans are not permissible. I have reviewed the requirements to hold office and I certify that I am qualified to serve if elected.

______________________________

Ballot name requested

Date _______________

______________________________

Candidate’s signature

Subscribed and sworn to before me on ____________, _______.

______________________________

Notary Public

NOTARY SEAL                   My Commission Expires __________________

16.1-12-02.2. Counting of write-in votes – Certificate of candidacy by write-in candidates.

1. An election board or canvassing board may not count or be required to officially report any write-in vote for any:

a. Individual who is required to file a certificate of write-in candidacy under this section but who has not filed a certificate of candidacy and been certified as a write-in candidate.
b. Fictitious person or individual clearly not eligible to qualify for the office for which the vote was cast.
c. Statement concerning the candidates.
d. Name written or printed by the voter for an office that did not also include the darkening of the oval next to the write-in line, except that a write-in candidate for a nonfederal office may make a timely written demand to a county canvassing board to identify and preserve any write-in vote cast for the office sought by the write-in candidate for canvass by the board. The candidate shall deliver the demand to the county auditor and a copy to the county recorder no later than thirty-six hours before the time the county canvassing board is scheduled to meet. A demand only may be made if the unofficial election results maintained by the county auditor demonstrate that the write-in candidate’s known vote total is within the pertinent percentage limits provided in subsection 1 or 2 of section 16.1-16-01 and a statement to that effect is included in the demand. After delivery of the ballots as provided by section 16.1-15-08, the canvassing board shall review the ballots to identify any ballot that contains a write-in vote. The county canvassing board shall tally and canvass any write-in vote in the same manner as lawful or qualifying write-in votes if the canvassing board is able to clearly ascertain the intent of the voter from examining the ballot because the write-in candidate’s name has been written on the ballot opposite the office to be voted for or because of any other cogent evidence of intent.
e. Write-in votes which constitute five percent or less of the votes cast by the voters for the candidate receiving the most votes for that office, except in the case of a primary election in which enough votes were cast as write-in votes to qualify a name for the general election ballot. This percentage is to be calculated based on the total number of write-in votes tabulated by the voting equipment in the precincts of the county in which that office was on the ballot.
f. Candidate receiving fewer than three write-in votes unless the number of votes received qualifies the candidate to be nominated or elected.

2. Write-in votes that do not need to be individually canvassed based on the requirements of subsection 1 must be listed on the official canvass report as “scattered write-ins”.
3. An individual who intends to be a write-in candidate for president of the United States or for statewide or judicial district office at any election shall file a certificate of write-in candidacy with the secretary of state by four p.m. on the twenty-first day before the election. The certificate must contain the name and address of the candidate and be signed by the candidate. Before the thirteenth day before the election, the secretary of state shall certify the names of the candidates to each county auditor as write-in candidates.
4. An individual who intends to be a write-in candidate at the general election for president of the United States shall file a certificate of write-in candidacy with the secretary of state by four p.m. on the twenty-first day before the general election. The certificate must contain the names and addresses of the candidates for presidential electors for that presidential candidate and a certification of acceptance signed by each candidate for elector. The candidate shall sign the certificate. The certificate may also include the name and address of a candidate for vice president of the United States and a certification of acceptance signed by that candidate. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of the certificate of write-in candidacy and the certification of acceptance. Before the thirteenth day before the election, the secretary of state shall certify the names of the presidential candidates and the presidential electors to each county auditor as write-in candidates.
5. An individual who intends to be a write-in candidate for any legislative district office shall file a certificate of write-in candidacy with the secretary of state. The certificate must contain the name, address, and signature of the candidate. Certificates must be filed by four p.m. on the fourth day before the election.
6. A certificate under this section is not required when:
a. No names will appear on the ballot for an office;
b. The number of candidates appearing on the ballot for an office is less than the number to be elected; or
c. The number of candidates appearing on the ballot for a party office is less than the number of nominations a party is entitled to make.
7. An individual required to file a certificate of write-in candidacy may not seek more than one office appearing on the primary and general election ballots.

16.1-12-02.3. Nominating petition for an independent candidate not to be circulated more than one hundred fifty days before filing time – Special election.

A petition provided for in this chapter may not be circulated or signed more than one hundred fifty days before the date when any petition must be filed under this chapter. Any signatures to a petition obtained more than one hundred fifty days before that date may not be counted. A nominating petition for a special election may not be circulated or signed more than thirty days before the date when the petition must be filed.

16.1-12-03. Certificate of nomination to contain only one name – Person to participate in only one nomination – Exception.

No certificate of nomination provided for by this chapter, except in the case of presidential electors, may contain the name of more than one nominee for each office to be filled. A person elected or appointed to an office appearing on the no-party ballot or seeking nomination and election to a no-party office may also seek nomination to legislative office and may serve in the legislative assembly, unless the no-party office is the office of district court judge, or a statewide elective office. Except as may be permitted in this section, no person may participate directly or indirectly in the nomination of more than one person for each office to be filled on the general election ballot, except a person may sign a certificate of nomination by petition for more than one person for each office, and no person may accept a nomination to more than one office on the general election ballot. No political party is entitled to more than one set of nominees on the official general election ballot.

16.1-12-04. Certificates of nomination – Time and place of filing.

1. Certificates of nomination for nominees for offices to be filled by the qualified electors of the entire state must be filed with the secretary of state. Not less than fifty-five days before any general or special election to fill any statewide office, the secretary of state shall electronically transmit a certified list to each county auditor the names and addresses of the persons nominated for statewide office according to this chapter as shown on the certificates of nomination filed in the secretary of state’s office.
2. Certificates of nomination for nominees for county offices must be filed with the county auditor of the county in which the candidate resides.
3. Certificates of nomination must, without regard to the means of delivery, be filed and in the actual possession of the appropriate officer not later than four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the day of election.
4. The secretary of state and the county auditors shall keep on file for six months all certificates of nomination filed with them under this chapter and all certificates of nomination must be open to public inspection during regular business hours.

16.1-12-05. Secretary of state to certify nominations to county auditor – Duty of county auditor.

Repealed by S.L. 1997, ch. 200, § 4.

16.1-12-06. Person nominated by more than one party – Column in which name placed.

When one person has been nominated for the same office by more than one body of electors qualified to make nominations for public office, the nominee shall file with the secretary of state or before the last day fixed by law for filing certificates of nomination for the office, a signed statement designating the column on the official ballot in which the nominee desires the nominee’s name to appear. The column so designated must be the column allotted to one of the bodies of electors by whom the person was nominated. In the absence of a timely written designation as provided by this section, the secretary of state shall place the person’s name in the column allotted to the body of electors from which was first received notice of the person’s nomination.

16.1-12-07. If nominee declines – Certificate void.

Any person intending to decline a nomination shall do so by filing written notice of that intention with the officer with whom the certificate nominating the person is filed. If the written notice is filed with the appropriate officer before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election, the nomination is void. If written notice is mailed, it must be in the physical possession of the appropriate officer before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day before the election.

16.1-12-08. Vacancy occurring on ballot before election day but after ballots are printed – Stickers used.

Repealed by S.L. 2001, ch. 203, § 9.

16.1-12-09. Filling vacancy existing on no-party ballot – Petition required – Time of filing.

Whenever a vacancy exists on a no-party ballot for a state office or for judge of a district court, such vacancy may be filled by filing with the secretary of state, before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day, a written petition as provided in section 16.1-11-06, stating that the petitioner desires to become a candidate for election to the office for which a vacancy exists. If the petition is mailed, it must be in the physical possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the general election. The petition for the nomination of any person to fill such vacancy must be signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least two percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor in the state or district, at the most recent general election at which the office of governor was voted upon, but in no case may more than three hundred signatures be required.
Whenever a vacancy exists on a no-party ballot in a county or district within a county, the vacancy may be filled by filing with the county auditor before four p.m. of the sixty-fourth day a written petition as provided in section 16.1-11-11, stating that the petitioner desires to become a candidate for election to the office for which a vacancy exists. If such petition is mailed or otherwise delivered, it must be in the possession of the county auditor before four p.m. on the sixty-fourth day prior to the general election. The petition for the nomination of any person to fill the vacancy must be signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least thirty percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the most recent general election in the county or district at which the office of governor was voted upon, but in no case may more than three hundred signatures be required.
A vacancy in the no-party ballot must be deemed to exist when:

1. A candidate nominated at the primary election dies, resigns, or otherwise becomes disqualified to have the candidate’s name printed on the ballot at the general election.
2. No candidates were nominated at the primary election because the office did not yet exist.
3. The timing of the vacancy in an office makes it impossible to have it placed on the primary ballot.

CHAPTER 16.1-13 – GENERAL ELECTIONS

16.1-13-01. Date of general election.

The general election must be held in all the election districts of this state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year.

16.1-13-02. Officers to be elected at general election.

All elective state, district, and county officers, and the United States senators, and the members of the United States house of representatives, must be elected at the general election next preceding the expiration of the term of each such officer. In a year when a president and vice president of the United States are to be chosen, a number of presidential electors equal to the number of senators and representatives to which this state is entitled in the Congress of the United States must be elected at such general election.

16.1-13-03. Secretary of state to give notice to county auditor of officers to be elected.

Repealed by S.L. 2015, ch. 158, § 5.

16.1-13-04. Candidates’ names placed on official general election ballot.

The names of all candidates of each political party or principle or no-party designation, who are shown to have been nominated for the several offices in accordance with the certificates of nomination filed in the secretary of state’s office, must be placed by the secretary of state on the official ballot to be voted for at the next general election.

16.1-13-05. Notice of election – Contents – Publication with sample ballot.

Notice of all general elections must be published by the county auditor in the official county newspaper at the same time as, and as a part of, the publication of the sample ballot preceding the election. The notice must be substantially as follows:
Notice is given that on Tuesday, November _________, _____, at the polling places in the various precincts in the county of _____________, an election will be held for the election of state, district, and county officers, which election will be opened at ______ a.m. and will continue open until ________ p.m. of that day with the following exceptions:

______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________
Dated ____________, _______

Signed ________________________________

County Auditor

The county auditor shall publish a copy of the sample ballot of the general election once each week for two consecutive weeks before the election in the official county newspaper. If no newspaper is published in the county, the publication must be in a newspaper published in an adjoining county in the state. The form of the sample ballot as ordered and arranged by the county auditor must conform in all respects to the form prescribed by the secretary of state for the sample general election ballot. The county auditor shall publish the sample ballot in all forms appropriate for the method or methods of voting in the county. Absentee voter ballots may not be considered in determining which form of voting is used. Candidates from each legislative district which falls within the boundaries of the county must be listed in a separate box or category within the sample ballot by legislative district number to enable the voters in each legislative district to ascertain the legislative candidates in their specific district. Sample ballots used for publication purposes must be arranged using the rotation of the ballot in the precinct in the county which cast the highest total vote for governor at the last general election at which the office of governor was filled. The notice must include a statement in substantially the following format:

The arrangement of candidate names appearing on ballots in your precinct may vary from the published sample ballots, depending upon the precinct and legislative district in which you reside.

16.1-13-06. Defeated primary candidate ineligible to have name printed on general ballot – Exception.

Except to fill a vacancy occurring on the ballot, an individual who was a candidate for nomination by any party or a candidate for a no-party office at any primary election in any year and who was defeated for the nomination may not have that individual’s name printed upon the official ballot at the ensuing general election for the same office.

16.1-13-07. Preparation, printing, distributing, canvassing, and returning of no-party ballot.

The no-party ballot must be prepared, printed, distributed, canvassed, and returned in the same manner provided for other general election ballots.

16.1-13-08. Filling vacancy in office of United States senator.

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator from this state, the governor shall call a special election to be held within ninety-five days to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy occurs within ninety-five days of the expiration of the term of office for that office, no election may be held to fill the vacancy.

16.1-13-08.1. Special election to fill a vacancy in the United States House of Representatives due to a catastrophic circumstance.

If a vacancy occurs in the office of representative in Congress due to a catastrophic circumstance in which one hundred or more representatives across the United States are no longer able to serve and the next regular or special election is more than seventy-five days in the future, the governor shall immediately issue a writ of election calling a special election to fill the vacancy. The date of the election shall be forty-nine days from the date of the proclamation and the following deadlines shall apply:

1. Certificate of endorsement as described in section 16.1-11-09, affidavits of candidacy described in section 16.1-11-10, and statements of interest described in section 16.1-09-03 for those candidates nominated by political parties currently established in the state shall be filed with the secretary of state by four p.m. on the fortieth day before the election.
2. If the election occurs in an election year, the precincts previously established by the county shall be utilized.
3. If the election occurs in a year without a scheduled election, the board of county commissioners must establish the precinct boundaries by the fortieth day before the election.
4. The secretary of state shall certify to the county auditors the names of the candidates for the election on the thirty-ninth day before the election.
5. Absentee ballots shall be made available to qualified electors by the thirtieth day before the election.

16.1-13-09. Resignation of members of legislative assembly after certificate of election.

Any person who receives a certificate of election as a member of the legislative assembly may resign such office although the person may not have entered upon the execution of the duties thereof nor taken the requisite oath of office.

16.1-13-10. Vacancy existing in office of member of legislative assembly.

1. If a vacancy in the office of a member of the legislative assembly occurs, the county auditor of the county in which the former member resides or resided shall notify the chairman of the legislative management of the vacancy. The county auditor need not notify the chairman of the legislative management of the resignation of a member of the legislative assembly when the resignation was made under section 44-02-02. Upon receiving notification of a vacancy, the chairman of the legislative management shall notify the district committee of the political party that the former member represented in the district in which the vacancy exists. The district committee shall hold a meeting within twenty-one days after receiving the notification and select an individual to fill the vacancy. If the former member was elected as an independent candidate or if the district committee does not make an appointment within twenty-one days after receiving the notice from the chairman of the legislative management, the chairman of the legislative management shall appoint a resident of the district to fill the vacancy. Except as provided in subsection 2, if eight hundred twenty-eight days or more remain until the expiration of the term of office for that office, the individual appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve until a successor is elected at and qualified following the next general election or special election called by the governor according to subsection 2 to serve for the remainder of the term of office for that office.
2. The qualified electors of a legislative district in which a vacancy in the legislative assembly occurs may petition for a special election to be called by the governor to fill the vacancy. The petition must include the signatures of qualified electors equal in number to four percent of the resident population of the legislative district as determined by the last federal decennial census and must be presented to the secretary of state within thirty days following an appointment being made according to subsection 1. If the secretary of state determines the petition contains the required number of signatures of qualified electors of the affected legislative district, the secretary of state shall notify the governor that a special election is required to be called to fill the vacancy. Upon receiving such notice, the governor shall issue a writ of election directed to the county auditor of each affected county commanding the county auditor to hold a special election to fill the vacancy at a time designated by the governor. A special election under this section must conform to the applicable election deadlines found in this title and may be called to coincide with a regularly scheduled primary or general election provided the special election is called by the fifteenth day before the deadline for candidates to file for office before a regularly scheduled primary or general election. A special election under this section may not be scheduled to occur during the time from a general election through eighty days following the adjournment of the next ensuing regular session of the legislative assembly.
3. The secretary of state must be notified of an appointment made by a district committee or the chairman of the legislative management according to this section. Upon notification, the secretary of state shall issue the appointee a certificate of appointment and an oath of office for the appointee to complete and file with the secretary of state.

16.1-13-11. Vacancy occurring in legislative assembly during session – Duty of governor.

Repealed by S.L. 2001, ch. 209, § 3.

16.1-13-12. Notice of special election.

A notice of a special election and the copy of the sample ballot must be issued and published in substantially the form and manner prescribed by section 16.1-13-05.

16.1-13-13. Canvassing and returning votes cast at elections to fill vacancies.

Votes cast at special elections must be canvassed and returned as provided for primary and general elections, and the county auditor within eight days shall forward to the secretary of state the abstracts of the same.

16.1-13-14. Special election to fill vacancies – Party committee to call convention to nominate – Individual nominations.

If a special election is called to fill a vacancy in any office for which a party nomination may be made, the proper party committee shall call a convention to make a party nomination for such office, and the precinct committeemen of the district must be duly convened and shall elect the required number of delegates to such convention. Individual nominations for special elections must be made in accordance with the provisions of chapter 16.1-12.

16.1-13-15. Notice of holding convention for special election – Manner of giving.

Public notice of such a nominating convention must be given at least six days before the holding of the convention by publication in the official newspaper in the county or counties in which the election will be held. Such nomination must be made by delivering to and leaving with the officer charged with directing the printing of the ballots upon which the name is to be placed, within the time prescribed in this title, a certificate of nomination for each candidate.

16.1-13-16. Basis of representation at convention – How determined.

The basis of representation of delegates to a convention, unless otherwise provided by law, must be fixed and determined by the authorized district or state committee of each political party entitled by law to make nominations for office by delegate convention.

16.1-13-17. Certificate of nomination by convention – Contents – Delivery.

All nominations made by a convention as provided in this chapter must be certified. The certificates of nomination must be in writing and must contain all of the following:

1. The name of each person nominated, that person’s post-office address, telephone number, the office for which that person is nominated, the legislative district number if applicable, and whether the certificate is intended for an unexpired term of office if applicable.
2. A designation in not more than five words of the party or principle which the convention represents.
3. The signature, post-office address, and verification of the presiding officer and secretary of the convention.
The certificate as prescribed in this section must be delivered by the secretary or president of the convention by registered or certified mail or in person, without charge, to the secretary of state or the county auditor, as the case may be.

16.1-13-18. Two or more organizations filing certificates representing same party – Secretary of state to determine authorized organization – Review of determination.

If two or more organizations claiming or purporting to represent the same political party shall file certificates of nomination under the same party designation, or if the certificates indicate that the nominations were made by any person or organization representing the same political party, the secretary of state, within the time prescribed by law for certifying state nominations to the county auditor, shall determine from the best available sources of information which organization filing the certificates is the legally authorized representative of the party. The decision of the secretary of state in determining which organization is the legally authorized representative of the party is subject to review by the district court in a proper action instituted for such purpose.

16.1-13-19. Election not to be held in room where alcoholic beverages sold.

No election may be held in a room in which alcoholic beverages commonly are sold.

16.1-13-20. Examination of ballot box before opening of polls – Regulations for ballot box while polls are open.

Before declaring the polls open, the inspector and the election judges shall inspect the ballot box to assure that it is empty. The ballot box must then be locked. While the polls are open, the ballot box must remain locked except as may be necessary to clear a ballot jam or to move voted ballots to a separate locked ballot box to make room for additional ballots.

16.1-13-21. Producing, opening, and delivering ballots on election day.

Upon arrival at the poll of all election board members, or at the latest, upon the opening of the poll, the inspector of election shall produce the sealed package of official ballots and publicly open them.

16.1-13-22. Delivering ballot to elector – Initialing.

The inspector or one of the election judges shall deliver ballots to the qualified electors. The inspector or judge delivering the paper ballot shall inform each elector that if the ballot is not initialed by an election official it will be invalidated and to protect the elector’s right to vote the elector should verify that the ballot has been initialed. Before delivering any paper ballot to an elector, the inspector or judge shall initial the ballot. Failure to initial a paper ballot in the proper place does not invalidate the ballot, but a complete failure to initial a paper ballot does invalidate the ballot.

16.1-13-23. Preparation of ballot by elector – Depositing – Second-chance voting.

Upon receipt of a ballot within the provided secrecy sleeve, the elector, forthwith and without leaving the polling place, shall retire alone to one of the voting booths or compartments to prepare the elector’s ballot by darkening the oval opposite the name of each individual for whom the elector wishes to vote. In the case of a ballot containing a constitutional amendment, an initiated or referred measure, or any other question to be submitted to a vote of the people, the elector shall darken the oval opposite the word or words expressing the elector’s wish. After preparing the ballot, the elector shall place the ballot back in the provided secrecy sleeve so it is concealed and so the endorsement of the inspector or election judge may be seen. The elector then shall deposit the ballot in the optical scanning device and wait to determine if the ballot is deposited into the ballot box or if the optical scanning device has indicated a possibility for a second-chance voting condition. If a second-chance voting condition is indicated, a voter may spoil and receive up to two additional ballots. The voter’s third ballot must be cast as is and may not be returned to the voter even if errors exist causing certain votes not to be counted.

16.1-13-24. Voting on electronic voting system devices.

Except as provided in this section, voting procedures for electronic voting systems must be similar or as close as practicable to regular paper ballot voting. Voting procedures on direct-recording electronic voting system devices must follow as close as practicable the procedures for voting by paper ballot, with the exception of voting on a ballot display provided by electro-optical devices which shows the names and candidates and the questions to be voted on and which allows a voter to directly enter choices into electronic storage with the use of a touchscreen or other data entry device.

16.1-13-25. Elector may write name on ballot – Counting.

The provisions of this title do not prevent any elector from writing on the paper ballot, or in the case of direct-recording electronic voting system devices, entering by touchscreen or other data entry device, the name of any person for whom the elector desires to vote, and such vote must be counted according to the provisions for the counting of write-in votes found in section 16.1-12-02.2.

16.1-13-26. Name written or pasted on ballot evidence of vote without marking X.

Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 184, § 18.

16.1-13-27. Assistance to elector – Polling place accessibility.

Any elector may receive the assistance of any person of the elector’s choice, other than the elector’s employer, officer or agent of the elector’s union, a candidate running in that election, or a relative of a candidate as provided in subsection 2 of section 16.1-05-02, in marking the elector’s ballot. If the elector requests the assistance of a member of the election board, however, the elector shall receive the assistance of both election judges in the marking of the elector’s ballot. No one assisting any elector in marking a ballot under this chapter may give information regarding the ballot. No elector, other than one who requests assistance, may divulge to anyone within the polling place the name of any candidate for whom the elector intends to vote, nor ask, nor receive the assistance of any person within the polling place to mark the elector’s ballot. Parking facilities at polling places must be accessible to the elderly and the physically disabled and must be clearly marked.

16.1-13-28. Penalty for requesting voter to vote in certain manner.

Any person chosen to assist a voter who shall request the voter the person is assisting to vote for or against any person or any issue is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

16.1-13-29. Election booths or compartments – Number required – Expense.

The inspector of elections shall provide a sufficient number of voting booths or compartments in the inspector’s polling place, which must be designed to enable the elector to mark, or in the case of direct-recording electronic voting system devices, enter by touchscreen or other data entry device, the elector’s ballot screened from observation. The number of booths or compartments in precincts may not be less than one for each one hundred fifty electors or fraction thereof in the precinct. The expense of providing the booths or compartments must be paid in the same manner as other election expenses. One electronic voting system device must be provided in each precinct.

16.1-13-30. One person to occupy booth – Time limit in booth.

Not more than one person may be permitted to occupy any one voting booth or compartment at one time except when providing lawful assistance. A person may not remain in or occupy a booth or compartment longer than necessary to prepare the person’s ballot.

16.1-13-31. Removal of ballot from polling place before closing of polls – Prohibited.

No person may take or remove any ballot from the polling place before the close of the polls.

16.1-13-32. Securing new ballot upon spoiling of others.

If any elector spoils a ballot before casting the ballot in the ballot box, the elector may obtain others successively, one at a time, not exceeding three in all, upon returning each spoiled ballot. Each paper ballot returned must be canceled immediately and, together with those not distributed to the electors, must be preserved and secured in sealed packages and returned to the county recorder.

16.1-13-33. Electronic voting systems – Election laws apply.

All provisions of law relating to the conduct of elections apply as closely as possible to elections at which electronic voting systems are used.

16.1-13-34. Voters casting ballots after regular poll closings – Provisional ballots.

An individual who votes after the regular poll closing time in an election in which a federal office appears as a result of a federal or state court order or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls under state law in effect ten days before the date of that election may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. The ballot must be marked as a provisional ballot and must be separated and held apart from other ballots cast by those not affected by the order. The secretary of state shall approve the form of any provisional ballot and may prescribe any procedures the secretary of state determines to be necessary to facilitate the casting, secrecy, and counting of provisional ballots.

CHAPTER 16.1-14 – PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS

16.1-14-01. Canvassing votes for presidential electors – Tie vote.

The state canvassing board in examining and making a statement of the votes for, and in determining and certifying the persons chosen as, presidential electors shall proceed in the manner prescribed in this title for the canvass of votes for state officers. The secretary of state likewise shall file and record such statement and determination. In canvassing the returns for presidential electors, the group of electors having the greatest number of votes is to be declared elected. If two or more groups of electors are found to have an equal and the greatest number of votes, the election of one group must be determined by a drawing of names, with the governor drawing the names in the presence of the other members of the state canvassing board.

16.1-14-02. Secretary of state to prepare certificates of election.

The secretary of state shall prepare certificates of election for each presidential elector chosen at the election. Each certificate must be signed by the governor and the secretary of state and the great seal of the state must be affixed thereto. One certificate must be delivered to each of the electors chosen.

16.1-14-03. Proclamation of result by governor – Publishing – Certificate of election.

Within ten days after the state canvassing board completes the canvass of the votes cast for presidential electors, as certified by the auditors of the respective counties, the governor shall declare by proclamation, to be printed in the official county newspaper printed and published at the seat of government, the names of the persons who have received the highest number of votes returned for such office. If the election of such persons has not been contested by notice of contest having been filed with the governor within ten days after the date of such proclamation, then such persons must be deemed elected, and the governor shall transmit to each person so chosen a certificate of election.

16.1-14-04. Meeting of presidential electors.

Presidential electors shall meet at one p.m. in the office of the governor in the state capitol on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointments by election for the purpose of casting their ballots as members of the electoral college. The secretary of state shall notify the electors of the date of the meeting.

16.1-14-05. Filling of vacancy existing in office of presidential elector.

If a vacancy exists in the office of an elector for any reason, the electors present at the meeting provided for in section 16.1-14-04 shall first proceed to fill such vacancy by ballot by a plurality of the votes. When all the electors appear, or the vacancies have been filled as provided in this section, they shall proceed to perform the duties required of them by the constitution and laws of the United States.

16.1-14-06. Compensation of presidential electors.

The electors provided for in this chapter shall receive the same per diem and the same mileage as members of the legislative assembly.

16.1-14-07. Board for trial of contest of presidential electors – How constituted – Oath.

The board for the trial of contests of elections for presidential electors shall consist of the chief justice of the supreme court, who must be president of the board, and two judges of the district court designated by the governor. If the chief justice is unable to attend at such trial, the next senior judge on the supreme court shall preside in place of the chief justice. The secretary of state must be the clerk of the board, or in the secretary of state’s absence or inability to act, the clerk of the supreme court must be the clerk. Each member of the board, before entering upon the discharge of the member’s duties, shall take an oath, before the secretary of state or some other officer qualified to administer oaths, that without fear, favor, affection, or hope of reward, the member will, to the best of the member’s knowledge and ability, administer justice according to law and the facts of the case.

16.1-14-08. Contestant may apply to board.

A group of electors appearing, by the proclamation of the governor, to have received not less than one-fifth of the votes cast at an election for presidential electors, may apply to the board provided for in section 16.1-14-07 for a declaration of election as presidential electors.

16.1-14-09. Application to state grounds of contest.

The application provided for in section 16.1-14-08 must be made by petition in writing to be filed in the office of the secretary of state within ten days from the date of the proclamation provided for in section 16.1-14-03. The petition, regardless of its mode of delivery, must be in the possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. on the tenth day as provided in this section, and the secretary of state shall convene the board forthwith. The petition must set forth the names of the persons whose election is contested and the ground for such contest. The petitioner, before any proceedings are had upon the petition, except the convening of the board, shall file a bond to this state in a sum and with such surety as the board shall order, conditioned for the payment of all costs incurred in the prosecution of such contest in the case the contestants do not prevail.

16.1-14-10. Notice to persons contested.

Upon the filing of the petition and bond as provided in section 16.1-14-09, the board for the trial of an election contest shall order written notice of the petition to be given to the governor and to the persons whose election is contested. Notice must also be published in a newspaper as the board shall order. Notices provided for by this section must contain a concise statement of the facts alleged in the petition and a designation of the time and place fixed by the board for the hearing, which must be not less than three nor more than fifteen days from the filing of the petition.

16.1-14-11. Appearance by parties to contest.

At the time fixed for the hearing, the petitioners shall appear and produce their evidence, and the persons whose election is contested may appear and produce evidence in their behalf. Any party to the contest proceedings may appear in person or by attorney, and no other person is entitled to be made a party to the proceedings or to be heard personally or by counsel therein. If more than one petition is pending, the board, in its discretion, may order the contests to be heard together.

16.1-14-12. Hearing – How conducted.

The board shall hear the contest and decide all questions of law and fact involved. The burden of proof in each case must be upon the petitioners, and the hearing must be confined to the grounds stated in the petition, but the board in its discretion may allow the petition to be amended. No ex parte affidavits shall be competent evidence at the hearing. A person may not be excused from testifying or from producing papers or documents at the hearing on the grounds that such testimony will tend to incriminate the person, but no person so testifying may be subject to any suit or prosecution, civil or criminal, for any matter or cause in respect to which the person is examined or to which the person’s testimony relates. The board has the same power to compel the attendance of witnesses as the district courts of this state possess, and nothing contained in this chapter may be held to limit the power of the board to make such regulations as to the conduct of the proceedings as it may deem proper, not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter. The board has all powers necessary to the complete performance of the duties and authority conferred upon it by this chapter.

16.1-14-13. Certification of determination of board.

The board shall determine in each case which of the parties to the proceedings are entitled to the office of elector, and shall cause its determination to be entered of record in a manner and form as it shall direct, and shall certify the same to the governor and secretary of state. The certified determination is final and conclusive that the persons stated therein are duly elected. The governor shall transmit to such persons their certificates of election, and every such certificate must recite that it is issued pursuant to a determination under the provisions of this chapter.

16.1-14-14. Failure of petitioners to appear – Effect.

If any petitioners fail to appear and prosecute their petition against the persons who have been made respondents thereto, according to the requirements of this chapter and of any rules made by the board, the board shall determine that they have failed, and shall cause the determination to be entered of record in such manner and form as it shall direct, and forthwith shall certify the determination to the governor and secretary of state. The determination is a final and conclusive bar to the claim of the petitioners against such respondents as fully and completely as if the claim had been heard and determined on its merits, and the governor shall issue certificates of election as provided in section 16.1-14-13.

16.1-14-15. Costs – Taxation.

The costs of an election contest under the provisions of this chapter must be taxed under the direction of the board. If two or more cases are heard together, the costs must be apportioned as the board shall direct. In each case in which the petitioners do not prevail, the costs must be paid by them, and in each case in which the petitioners prevail, the costs must be paid by the state. If the costs are required to be paid by the state, the board shall certify the costs to the office of management and budget, which shall issue a warrant upon the state treasurer in payment of the same.

16.1-14-16. Determination of final hearing.

The final hearing and determination under the provisions of this chapter must be by a majority of the board, but any single member may exercise any of the other powers given to the board by this chapter.

16.1-14-17. Mileage and per diem of board members.

The members of the board trying the presidential election contest must be compensated in the same manner as state officers pursuant to sections 44-08-04 and 54-06-09.

16.1-14-18. Eligibility of new residents to vote.

Each citizen of the United States who, immediately prior to the citizen’s removal to this state, was a citizen of another state and who has been a resident of the precinct for less than thirty days prior to a presidential election, is entitled to vote for presidential electors at that election, but for no other offices, if:

1. The citizen otherwise possesses the substantive qualifications to vote in this state, except requirement of residence; and
2. The citizen complies with the provisions of sections 16.1-14-18 through 16.1-14-28.

16.1-14-19. Eligibility of former residents to vote.

Each citizen of the United States who was a qualified elector in this state immediately prior to establishing residence in another state and who has not qualified for voting purposes due to the residency requirement of that state may vote in North Dakota for president and vice president only, by applying for a separate ballot at least one day before the election in accordance with sections 16.1-14-20, 16.1-14-23, 16.1-14-24, 16.1-14-25, 16.1-14-26, and 16.1-14-27, provided the statements relative to new residents contained therein must, for this purpose, be changed by the county auditor and inspector of elections to comply with the provisions of this section.

16.1-14-20. Application for presidential ballot by new residents.

A person desiring to qualify to vote for presidential electors is not required to register but, not less than ten days in advance of the election, shall make an application in the form of an affidavit executed in duplicate in the presence of the county auditor substantially as follows:
State of North Dakota       )

) ss.

County of ________      )
I, _______________, do solemnly swear that:
1. I am a citizen of the United States.
2. Before becoming a resident of this state, I resided at _____________ street, in the (town) (township) (city) of _____________, county of in the state of ____________.
3. On the day of the next presidential election, I shall be at least eighteen years of age. I have been a resident of this state since ____________, ______, now residing at _________________ street, in the (town) (township) (city) of _____________, county of ____________________ in the state of North Dakota.
4. I have resided in _________ precinct for less than thirty days. I believe I am entitled under the laws of this state to vote at the presidential election to be held on November
_____________, ______.
5. I apply for a presidential election ballot. I have not voted and will not vote otherwise than by this ballot at that election.

Signed __________________
(Applicant)

________________________

(Applicant’s telephone number)

Subscribed and sworn to before me this __________ day of __________, ______.

Signed ___________________
(Title and name of officer

authorized to administer oaths)

16.1-14-21. Mailing duplicate application.

The county auditor shall immediately mail to the appropriate official of the state in which the applicant last resided the duplicate of the application.

16.1-14-22. Filing and indexing information from other states.

The county auditor shall file each duplicate application or other official information received by the county auditor from another state indicating that a former resident of this state has made application to vote at a presidential election in another state and shall maintain an alphabetical index thereof for a period of four months after the election.

16.1-14-23. Delivery of ballot to applicant.

If satisfied that the application is proper and that the applicant is qualified to vote at the presidential election, the county auditor shall deliver to the applicant a ballot for presidential electors no sooner than thirty days nor later than one day prior to the next presidential election.

16.1-14-24. Voting by new residents.

1. The applicant, upon receiving the ballot for presidential electors, shall immediately mark the ballot in the presence of the county auditor but in a manner that the official cannot know how the ballot is marked. The applicant shall then fold the ballot in the county auditor’s presence to conceal the markings and deposit and seal it in an envelope furnished by the county auditor.
2. The voter shall enclose the envelope containing the ballot in a carrier envelope which must be securely sealed. There must be imprinted on the outside of the carrier envelope a statement substantially as follows:

CERTIFICATION OF NEW RESIDENT VOTER

I have qualified as a new resident voter in this state to vote for presidential electors. I have not applied nor do I intend to apply for an absent voter’s ballot from the state from which I have removed. I have not voted and I will not vote otherwise than by this ballot.

Dated ____________________
Witness ___________________
County Auditor

_____________________________

(Signature of Voter)

The voter shall sign the certification upon the carrier envelope as set forth above and shall then deliver the sealed carrier envelope to the county auditor who shall keep the carrier envelope in the county auditor’s office until delivered by the county auditor to the inspector of elections of the precinct in which the applicant resides.

16.1-14-25. List of applicants open for public inspection.

The county auditor shall keep open to public inspection a list of all persons who have applied to vote as new residents with their names, addresses, and application dates for a period of two years.

16.1-14-26. Delivery and processing of presidential elector ballots.

1. The county auditor shall deliver the ballots for new residents to the inspector of elections in the manner prescribed by law for absentee ballots. The ballots must be processed in accordance therewith.
2. The inspector of elections shall record the new resident voter’s name with a notation designating the person as a new resident voting for presidential electors only.

16.1-14-27. Application of other statutes.

Except as provided in sections 16.1-14-18 through 16.1-14-27, the provisions of law relating to absent voters’ ballots apply also to the casting and counting of ballots of new residents, the furnishing of election supplies, ballots, canvassing of ballots, and making proper returns of the results of the election.

16.1-14-28. Definition of state.

As used in sections 16.1-14-18 through 16.1-14-27, “state” includes the District of Columbia.

CHAPTER 16.1-15 – CANVASS OF VOTES – CANVASSING BOARDS

16.1-15-01. Ballots void and not counted – Part of ballot may be counted.

1. In the canvass of the votes at any election, a ballot is void and may not be counted if:

a. It is not endorsed with the initials as provided in this title; or
b. It is impossible to determine the elector’s choice from the ballot or parts of a ballot, and in the case of electronic voting systems, based upon the criteria established by the secretary of state for counting votes on each electronic voting system authorized for procurement and use in the state according to section 16.1-06-26.

2. With the exception that a voter must, for paper ballots, darken the oval next to the preprinted name of a candidate or the name of a write-in candidate written on the ballot, if a ballot is marked so only a part of the voter’s intention can be determined, the election judges shall count such part. If an elector votes for more than the number of persons to be elected to any office, the elector’s ballot may be invalidated only insofar as the elector’s vote for such office is concerned, and the balance of the elector’s ballot, if otherwise proper, may not be invalidated. However, at primary elections only, a party ballot is void if the elector votes for candidates of more than one party.

16.1-15-02. Board of election to generate canvass reports – Location – Public may attend.

After the polls are closed, the inspector of elections and the judges shall immediately generate the canvass report from the electronic voting system. The ballots counted by the machine must be equal in number with the names on the poll clerks’ lists. If the numbers are not equal, the pollbooks are to be rechecked to find the discrepancy. The canvass shall continue without adjournment until completed and must be open to the public. Except in unusual and compelling circumstances, the canvass shall occur at the polling place. If good and substantial reasons exist for the removal of the ballots and election records to another location for canvass, the other location must be in the same precinct and the removal must be approved by the election board. In no case may the ballots be removed to another location prior to generating the canvass report after the ballot boxes have been opened. Upon approval of a change of location by the election board as provided in this section, the approximate time and location of the canvass must be prominently posted on the main entrance to the polling place, the ballots and records must be moved in the presence of the election board, and the canvass as provided in this chapter must proceed immediately upon arrival at the alternate location.

16.1-15-02.1. Alternative method for canvassing election for counties using or sharing electronic voting systems or electronic counting machines – County resolution board.

Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 191, § 28.

16.1-15-03. Manner of canvassing election.

Repealed by S.L. 2005, ch. 191, § 28.

16.1-15-04. Canvass report prepared by election board for county auditor.

The election board shall generate at least one canvass report from the electronic voting system. The ballots may not be sealed, nor may the canvass report be signed, by the election board or poll clerk until the counts in the poll clerks’ books and in the canvass report shows the same totals for ballots cast.
In the case of the absentee ballot precinct as authorized in section 16.1-07-12.1, early voting precincts as authorized in section 16.1-07-15, and mail ballot precinct as authorized in section 16.1-11.1-06, if the work of the election board is completed prior to close of the polls on election day, the election board shall create and sign a statement consisting of a reconciliation of the number of voters recorded in the pollbook and the number of ballots processed through the tabulators. The voting system must be secured in a manner prescribed by the county auditor that will protect the system and ballots from tampering. Prior to generating the canvass report from one of these three types of precincts, an election judge representing each political party, or two election judges in the case of an election that does not include a political party contest, shall verify that the system and ballots remain secure and the statement created by the election board is still accurate.

16.1-15-05. Oath required of members of election board upon completion of canvass – Contents.

At the conclusion of the canvass of the votes, each member of the election board shall sign an affidavit to the effect that the ballots have been counted and the votes canvassed as provided in this chapter and that the returns as disclosed by the canvass report agree with the number of ballots cast and are true and correct of the member’s own knowledge.

16.1-15-06. Canvass report and pollbooks sent to county auditor – Compensation for making returns.

Immediately following the canvass, except in cases of emergency or inclement weather, the inspector of elections, or one of the judges appointed by the inspector of elections, personally shall deliver the signed canvass report provided for in section 16.1-15-04 to the county auditor. The report, carefully sealed under cover, accompanied by the pollbook provided for in sections 16.1-02-13 and 16.1-06-21 with the oaths of the inspector and poll clerks affixed thereto, must be delivered properly to the county auditor. The individual making the return is entitled to receive compensation therefor in accordance with section 16.1-05-05. The compensation and mileage must be paid out of the county treasury on a warrant of the county auditor and is full compensation for returning all used or voided ballots to the proper official.

16.1-15-07. County auditor not to refuse election returns if delivered in undirected manner – Informality in holding election.

A county auditor may not refuse any election returns because they may have been returned or delivered to the auditor in a manner other than that directed by this chapter, nor may the auditor refuse to include any returns because of any informality in holding an election or in making returns thereof.

16.1-15-08. Wrapping and returning of ballots to county recorder – Ballots set aside to election official administering the election.

1. After generating the reports and poll lists provided for in section 16.1-15-06 for delivery to the county auditor, the election board shall cause the ballots containing lawful write-in votes cast at the election to be placed in a suitable wrapper to form a complete wrapper for the ballots. All ballots without write-in votes shall be wrapped in a similar manner. The ballots and wrappers must then be tightly secured at the outer end to completely envelop and hold the ballots together. Ballots that are void must be secured in a separate wrapper and must be marked “void”. Ballots that are spoiled must be separately secured and marked “spoiled”. In sealing ballots, the various classes of ballots must be kept separate. Each wrapper must be endorsed with the names or numbers of the precincts and the date on which the election was held. The wrappers must be sealed securely in a manner prescribed by the county auditor so the wrappers cannot be opened without an obvious and permanent breaking of the seal. The ballots, together with those found void or spoiled, and the opened envelopes from voted absentee ballots and the unopened envelopes of absentee ballots rejected as defective, must be returned in person to the county recorder. At the meeting of the county canvassing board, the county recorder shall deliver the ballots containing lawful write-in votes from all the precincts within the county if these votes were not canvassed by the polling place election board on election night according to section 16.1-12-02.2. At the meeting of the county canvassing board, the county recorder shall deliver each ballot that may contain a write-in vote referenced in a demand made under subsection 1 of section 16.1-12-02.2. Ballots used with any electronic voting system or counted by an electronic counting machine must be sealed and returned as provided in this section.
2. Each ballot within a sealed envelope set aside for an individual who was unable to provide a valid form of identification when appearing to vote in the election must be delivered to the election official responsible for the administration of the election so the envelope containing the ballot is available if the individual for whom the ballot was set aside appears in the official’s office to verify the individual’s eligibility as an elector. The verified and unverified ballots set aside must be delivered to the members of the canvassing board for proper inclusion or exclusion from the canvass of votes.

16.1-15-09. Electronic voting systems – Electronic counting machines – Returns.

1. Election officers shall generate reports of votes cast upon electronic voting systems and counted on electronic counting machines for all candidates and for any measures or questions in the same manner as now or hereafter provided by law or rule insofar as such provisions of law or rule are applicable.
2. Within the ability of an electronic counting machine to accurately do so, all votes are to be counted by the machine. After the election results have been accumulated centrally in the county auditor’s office, if the number or percentage of write-in votes for an office meet the criteria established in section 16.1-12-02.2, the county canvassing board shall canvass the votes for the write-in names for that office to determine final election results.
3. Votes cast upon a direct-recording electronic voting system must be tabulated from the voter’s choices stored in the system’s internal memory devices that are added to the choices of all other voters.
4. The county auditor shall designate the public place or places where electronic voting system ballots and ballots to be counted on electronic counting machines must be delivered by the election inspector and the two election judges to be counted in the presence of the election inspector and the two election judges. The county auditor shall designate the public place or places where votes cast upon direct-recording electronic voting systems are to be counted.
5. All counting centers used for counting votes cast upon electronic voting systems shall have tabulating equipment that has an element that generates a printed record at the beginning of its operation which verifies that the tabulating elements for each candidate position and each question and the public counter are all set at zero. The tabulating equipment must also be equipped with an element that generates a printed record at the end of its operation of the total number of voters whose ballots have been tabulated, the total number of votes cast for each candidate on the ballot, and the total number of votes cast for or against any measure appearing on the ballot. The election inspector and the two election judges must certify both printed records.
6. If any electronic voting system ballot or a ballot counted by an electronic counting machine is damaged or defective so that it cannot be properly counted by the automatic tabulating or electronic counting equipment, a true duplicate copy must be made by election officials of opposed interests and substituted for the damaged or defective ballot. All duplicate ballots must be clearly labeled duplicate, must bear a serial number that must be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot, and must be wrapped and delivered with other ballots to the county recorder.

16.1-15-10. Failure of automatic tabulating or electronic counting equipment – Counting by alternate method.

If the automatic tabulating or electronic counting equipment used as part of any electronic voting system, any electronic voting system device, or any electronic machine fails to operate during the ballot count at any election, the ballots must be counted by an alternate method.

16.1-15-11. Locking and examination of voting machines – Tally of voting machine votes – Certification to district judge or clerk of district court.

Repealed by S.L. 2003, ch. 171, § 33.

16.1-15-12. Care and custody of ballot boxes and voting machines.

Ballot boxes and voting machines are to be under the care and custody of the county auditor and assigned staff members.

16.1-15-13. County recorder to keep ballots – Exception – Use of ballots as evidence.

Immediately upon receiving the ballots as provided in section 16.1-15-08, the county recorder shall give a receipt to the election judges and shall place the ballots properly arranged in the order of the precinct number in boxes that shall be securely locked. The boxes must be placed in a fireproof vault and must be kept securely for forty-five days if the ballots do not contain federal offices and twenty-two months if the ballots contain federal offices. With the exception of the ballots containing lawful write-in votes that may be counted at the meeting of the county canvassing board, the ballots may not be opened nor inspected, except upon court order in a contested election, when it is necessary to produce them at a trial for any offense committed at an election, or to permit election officials to complete their duties. Either forty-five days or twenty-two months after the election dependent upon the retention schedule outlined in this section, upon determination by the county recorder that no contest is pending, the ballots must be destroyed. If any contest of the election of any officer voted for at the election or a prosecution under the provisions of this title is pending at the expiration of such time, the ballots may not be destroyed until the contest or prosecution is finally determined. The ballots returned to the county recorder as provided in this section must be received in evidence without introducing further foundation.

16.1-15-14. Failure to comply with formalities not to invalidate election – Evidence of compliance.

Failure by election board officers to comply with any of the formalities required by this chapter as to the return of the ballots does not invalidate any election nor cause any ballot otherwise regular to be disregarded. Any omission or irregularity in the manner of identifying or returning the ballots of any precinct may be obviated by proof under the ordinary rules of evidence.

16.1-15-15. County canvassing board – Composition.

The county canvassing board must be composed of the county recorder, county auditor, chairman of the board of county commissioners, and a representative of each of the two political parties that received the highest number of votes cast for governor at the most recent general election at which a governor was elected. An individual who served on an election board during the election may not serve as a political party representative on the canvassing board for that same election. The district chairmen of the political parties from each legislative district within the county shall appoint the respective political party representative. The county canvassing board must be comprised of at least five members, and both political parties must be represented. Each political party from each legislative district within a county may request representation on the canvassing board if there is equal representation from each of the political parties. For any special county election when the county is composed of more than one legislative district and the election does not involve any legislative or statewide office, the county canvassing board must be composed of the county recorder, county auditor, chairman of the board of county commissioners, and one representative as appointed by the state chairman for each of the two political parties that received the highest number of votes cast for governor at the most recent general election at which a governor was elected.

16.1-15-16. Qualifications of members of canvassing board – Replacements – Quorum.

A member of the county canvassing board who has anything of value bet or wagered on the result of the election may not serve on the board. When a member of the county canvassing board is a candidate or husband, wife, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, or sister, whether by birth or marriage, of the whole or the half-blood, of any candidate for any office for which that member canvasses the votes, the member must be removed from that portion of the canvass. If any of the members of the board other than the representatives of the two political parties are disqualified or cannot serve for any other reason, the county commissioners who would be qualified to serve on the board shall appoint alternates to serve in the place of those members of the board who are disqualified. If any of the representatives of the district committees of the two parties are disqualified or cannot serve for any other reason and if the party wishes to have representation, the district chairmen shall appoint an alternate from their respective district committees to act as a member of the county canvassing board. A majority of the confirmed members of the board or their duly appointed alternates constitute a quorum and may make the canvass provided for in this chapter and certify the results thereof.

16.1-15-17. Time of county canvassing board meeting – Oath required – Reconsideration of canvass.

On the sixth day following each election, the county canvassing board shall meet and, after taking the oath of office, shall proceed to open and publicly canvass the returns. After the initial meeting of the board as provided in this section, any two or more members may call a meeting of the board and upon approval of a majority of the members, the board shall recanvass the results of the election or any portion thereof and may correct any previous canvass or certification or both in regard to the election. Any correction of any previous certification of election results as provided in this section must be immediately dispatched to the secretary of state who shall call a meeting of the state canvassing board as provided in section 16.1-15-35 for the purpose of recanvassing and, if necessary, correcting any previous certification of the election results.

16.1-15-18. Compensation as members of board.

Each member of the county canvassing board who is not a paid official of the county, while serving as a member of the county canvassing board, shall receive compensation in accordance with section 16.1-05-05. The compensation and mileage must be audited, allowed, and paid by the board of county commissioners in each county.

16.1-15-19. County canvassing board to disregard technicalities, misspelling, and abbreviations – Ballots set aside – Write-in votes canvassed – Votes from unestablished precincts disregarded.

In canvassing the election returns, the county canvassing board shall disregard technicalities, misspelling, and the use of initial letters or abbreviations of the name of any candidate for office if it can be ascertained for whom the vote was intended. Under section 16.1-01-04.1, the board shall include in the canvass the votes from any ballot set aside and subsequently verified by the individual who marked the ballot, and review each envelope containing an unverified ballot forwarded to the board from the polling place election officials. The envelopes for all ballots set aside along with the envelopes containing uncounted ballots from unverified individuals must be kept with all other election materials for the required retention period under section 16.1-15-13. Under section 16.1-12-02.2, the board shall canvass all qualifying write-in votes. The board may not count votes polled in any place except at established precincts. The county canvassing board is authorized to initial all absentee ballots cast pursuant to section 16.1-07-09 that were not considered or counted by election boards and to make a final determination of eligibility for all ballots which were rejected at the various precincts in the county for the reasons provided in sections 16.1-07-11 and 16.1-07-12.

16.1-15-20. County canvassing board may subpoena members of election board to correct errors – Failure to obey subpoena is a contempt.

When the returns of the election board officers are made to the county canvassing board, if any provision of law relative to the duties of the election board officers has not been complied with by said officers and the provision of law is capable of correction by the election board, the county canvassing board may issue its subpoenas to the election board officers of the precinct wherein the defect occurs. The subpoenas must require the election board officers to appear forthwith before the county canvassing board to correct any omission or mistake according to the facts. The amended or corrected returns then must be acted upon by the board. If any election board officer, subpoenaed as provided in this section, neglects or refuses to obey the subpoena, the person so neglecting or refusing must be arrested upon a bench warrant issued out of the office of the clerk of the district court in the county where the proceedings occur. The person arrested must be brought before the county canvassing board and shall make the necessary correction. A refusal on the part of an election board officer to make a correction must be deemed a contempt of the district court.

16.1-15-21. Primary election statement prepared by county canvassing board – Contents.

The county canvassing board, upon canvassing the returns of a primary election, shall prepare an abstract signed by the members of the board and filed in the office of the county auditor. The abstract must contain all of the following:

1. The names of all candidates voted for at the primary election with the number of votes received by each and for what office. The abstract must be made separately for each political party or principle.
2. The names of the persons or candidates of each political party or principle who receive the highest number of votes for the respective offices. If more than one person is required to be elected to a given office at the next ensuing general election, there must be included in the abstract the names of so many of the candidates of the party receiving the next highest number of votes for that office as there are persons to be elected to the office at said ensuing general election. The abstract must be made separately for each political party.
3. The total number of ballots cast at the primary election.

A separate abstract of the votes cast must be transmitted to the secretary of state according to reporting instructions specified by the secretary of state.

16.1-15-22. County auditor to transmit abstract of votes to secretary of state after primary election.

The county auditor of each county shall provide to the secretary of state the certified abstract detailed in section 16.1-15-21, under separate political designation or principle, or no-party designation, as the case may be, of the total number of votes cast in the auditor’s county and the votes cast for every candidate for nomination according to reporting instructions specified by the secretary of state. The abstract must also include the total number of votes cast for initiated or referred measures and constitutional amendments. The certified abstract must be in the possession of the secretary of state before four p.m. on the eighth day after the primary election.

16.1-15-23. Notice of nomination given candidate for county office by county auditor – Publication of findings of canvassing board.

Upon the completion of the canvass of the returns of a primary election by the county canvassing board, the county auditor shall mail or deliver in person to each candidate nominated for any county office a certificate of the candidate’s nomination and notice that the candidate’s name will be placed on the official ballot. If the election results indicate that any candidate is entitled to a recount or to demand a recount pursuant to section 16.1-16-01, the county auditor may not prepare or deliver the certificate of nomination until the time to demand a recount has expired, or the recount results have been determined and the winner declared, whichever is later. Nomination notices for other than county offices must be given by the secretary of state pursuant to section 16.1-15-40. The county auditor shall cause a copy of the findings of the canvassing board to be published in the official newspaper of the county.

16.1-15-24. Abstracts of votes of general election made by county canvassing board – Contents.

The county canvassing board, when canvassing the returns of a general election, shall make abstracts of votes from the certified reports of the inspectors of elections according to the reporting instructions specified by the secretary of state.

16.1-15-25. County auditor to forward abstract of votes of general election to secretary of state – Contents – Abstract for presidential electors.

Within eight days and before four p.m. on the eighth day following any general election, the county auditor of each county shall provide to the secretary of state a certified abstract of the votes cast in the county at the election according to the reporting instructions specified by the secretary of state.

16.1-15-26. Notification of date of receiving returns in secretary of state’s office.

An electronic notification of the date of reception of all returns of votes in the secretary of state’s office must be made to each county auditor.

16.1-15-27. Abstract of votes – Secretary of state to record – Failure of county auditor to send – Messenger dispatched.

Upon receipt of the certified abstract of votes from the county auditors as provided in section 16.1-15-25, the secretary of state shall record the result of the election by counties and shall file and carefully preserve the certified abstracts received from the county auditors. If no certified abstract is received by the secretary of state from the county auditor of any county prior to the time specified for the meeting of the state canvassing board, the secretary of state shall dispatch a special messenger to obtain the abstract at the expense of the county. Upon demand, the county auditor shall make and deliver the required abstract to the special messenger who shall deliver it to the secretary of state to be recorded and filed as provided in this section. The messenger shall receive the same mileage expense as other state officers and employees. The state treasurer shall present a bill for the amount audited against the county failing to send returns as provided in this section, and the bill must be audited by the board of county commissioners of the county and paid by the county treasurer to the state treasurer.

16.1-15-28. Certificate of election for officers elected in county at general election.

Immediately after the canvass of the general election returns by the county canvassing board, the county auditor shall prepare a certificate of election for each of the persons having the highest number of votes for county offices and shall deliver the certificate to the person entitled thereto on the person’s making application to the county auditor therefor. If the election results indicate that any candidate is entitled to a recount or to demand a recount pursuant to section 16.1-16-01, the county auditor may not prepare or deliver the certificate of election until the time to demand a recount has expired or the recount results have been determined and the winner declared, whichever is later.

16.1-15-29. Determining tie vote in county offices.

If the requisite number of county officers are not elected because two or more persons have equal and the highest number of votes for one and the same office, a recount must be done pursuant to section 16.1-16-01. If a recount results in a tie vote, the county auditor shall give notice to the persons to appear at the county auditor’s office at a time appointed by the county auditor. The persons then shall publicly decide by a drawing of names which of them must be declared elected. The county auditor shall prepare and deliver to the person elected an election certificate as provided in this chapter.

16.1-15-30. Determining tie vote for legislative assembly.

If the requisite number of persons are not elected to the state senate or house of representatives because two or more persons have equal and the highest number of votes for one and the same office, a recount must be done pursuant to section 16.1-16-01. If a recount results in a tie vote, the county auditor, if the legislative district in question is within one county, shall notify the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall notify the persons with equal and the highest number of votes to appear in the office of the secretary of state at a time fixed by the secretary of state. The time fixed may not be more than five days from the date the tie is determined by the county auditor. On the date fixed, the persons notified to appear shall publicly decide by a drawing of names which of them must be declared elected, and the secretary of state shall prepare and deliver to the person elected a certificate of election as provided in this chapter. If the legislative district in question is within the boundaries of more than one county, the county auditor of the county which cast the greater number of votes for the office of governor at the last election at which a governor was elected shall proceed in accordance with this section.

16.1-15-31. County auditor to make certificate for payment of election officials – Payment.

Upon receipt of the returns of any election, the county auditor shall prepare the county auditor’s certificate stating the compensation to which the inspectors, judges, and clerks of election are entitled for their services. The county auditor shall deliver the certificate to the board of county commissioners at its next session and the board shall order the compensation to be paid out of the county treasury.

16.1-15-32. County auditor to publish returns of election.

The county auditor shall cause to be published in tabular form in the official county newspaper the vote by precincts for each officer and each proposition voted for at any primary, special, or general election. The publication must be paid for at a rate not to exceed the rate paid for publishing the proceedings of the board of county commissioners.

16.1-15-33. State canvassing board – Membership – Oath – Quorum – Compensation.

The clerk of the supreme court, the secretary of state, the state treasurer, and the chairman, or chairman’s designee, of the state committee of the two political parties which cast the highest vote for governor at the last general election at which a governor was elected shall constitute the state canvassing board. The duties of the state canvassing board consist of examining the returns of votes cast at the elections received from the various counties, verifying the computed final results in any reasonable manner adopted by the board and which may incorporate the use of any electronic technology or system approved by the secretary of state, and certifying the results on the basis of the canvass. After taking the oath required of civil officers, the board shall proceed to canvass publicly the election returns made by the county auditors. Three members of the board constitute a quorum and may make the canvass provided for in this chapter and certify to the result thereof. If less than a quorum attend on the day appointed for a meeting of the board, the members attending may summon other state officers until there is a sufficient number to constitute a quorum. Any other state officer, upon being notified by the members of the board, shall attend without delay and act as a member of the board. Members of the board may be compensated only for their expenses incurred in attending meetings in accordance with sections 44-08-04 and 54-06-09. The compensation must be paid from the appropriation to the secretary of state.

16.1-15-34. Member of state canvassing board – When disqualified.

A member of the state canvassing board who has anything of value bet or wagered on the result of the election may not serve on the board. When a member of the state canvassing board is a candidate or husband, wife, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, or sister, whether by birth or marriage, of the whole or the half-blood, of any candidate for any office for which that member canvasses the votes, the member must be removed from that portion of the canvass. If a quorum still exists, the remaining members shall canvass the votes for that office. If a quorum does not exist, another state officer, summoned according to the authorization granted the state canvassing board in section 16.1-15-33, shall canvass the votes for that office.

16.1-15-35. Meeting of state canvassing board.

Not later than seventeen days next following a primary, general, or special election, the state canvassing board shall meet at the office of the secretary of state for the purpose of canvassing and ascertaining the result of the election. The secretary of state shall notify the members of the board of the date and time of the meeting.

16.1-15-36. Returns to be canvassed by state canvassing board.

The state canvassing board, in canvassing to ascertain the result of any election, shall canvass only the regular returns made by the county canvassing board as provided in this chapter.

16.1-15-37. Examination of abstracts by state canvassing board – Messenger dispatched to county when error discovered.

After the state canvassing board is formed, it shall examine the certified abstracts of the county canvassing boards and verify the computed final results as provided in section 16.1-15-33 and if it appears that:

1. Any material mistake has been made in the computation of votes cast for any person; or
2. The county canvassing board in any county has failed to canvass the votes or any part thereof cast in any precinct in its county,
the board may dispatch a messenger to the county auditor of the county, at the expense of the county, with the board’s requirement in writing to the county auditor to certify the fact concerning the mistake or the reason why the votes were not canvassed. The county auditor, to whom the requirement is delivered, shall make a true and full answer thereto under the county auditor’s hand and official seal and shall deliver the answer with all convenient dispatch to the secretary of state.

16.1-15-38. Adjournment of state canvassing board.

The state canvassing board may adjourn from day to day, not exceeding three days in all, except that the board may adjourn for the time necessary to await the return of a messenger dispatched as provided in section 16.1-15-37.

16.1-15-39. Disagreements in canvassing returns by canvassing board – Disregarding technicalities, misspelled words, and abbreviations.

In canvassing the returns and verifying the computed final results received from the various counties, a majority of the members of the state canvassing board shall decide all matters of disagreement. The board shall disregard all technicalities, misspelling, the use of initial letters, and the abbreviations of the names of candidates if it can be ascertained from the returns for whom the votes were intended.

16.1-15-40. Abstract prepared by state canvassing board for primary election – Contents – Signing – Candidate notified of nomination.

The state canvassing board shall prepare the certified abstract required by subsections 1, 2, and 3 of section 16.1-15-21 for primary elections. The certificate must be signed by the members of the board and filed in the office of the secretary of state. Upon completion of the canvass, the secretary of state shall mail to each candidate nominated a notice of the candidate’s nomination stating that the candidate’s name will be placed upon the official ballot to be voted for at the ensuing general election. If the election results indicate that any candidate is entitled to a recount or to demand a recount pursuant to section 16.1-16-01, the secretary of state may not prepare or deliver the notice of nomination until the time to demand a recount has expired, or the recount results have been determined and the winner declared, whichever is later. The secretary of state shall file a copy of the findings of the board and shall publish those findings in a newspaper printed in Burleigh County.

16.1-15-41. Statements of general or special election prepared by state canvassing board – Contents.

Upon receiving the certified abstracts on file with the secretary of state, the state canvassing board shall proceed publicly to examine and make statements of the whole number of votes cast at any general or special election for all state or district offices. The statements must show the names of the individuals for whom the votes were cast for the offices and the whole number of votes for each, distinguishing the several districts and counties in which they were cast.

16.1-15-42. Certificate of result of general or special election by state canvassing board – Secretary of state to receive.

The statements provided for in section 16.1-15-41 must be certified by the members of the state canvassing board, who shall subscribe their names to the statements. The board then shall determine what persons have been duly elected to the offices and shall prepare and subscribe on each statement a certificate of that determination and shall deliver the same to the secretary of state. The candidate or candidates to be elected for each office receiving the highest number of votes must be duly elected to the office. A person who was entitled to have the person’s name appear on the primary election ballot, but whose name was not placed on the primary election ballot, may not be elected to a no-party office as a write-in candidate unless that person receives a number of votes equal to or more than the number of signatures which would have been required to have that person’s name placed on the primary election ballot.

16.1-15-43. When special election ordered.

If a certificate of election cannot be issued for a judicial district office or a state office because any two or more persons have equal and the highest number of votes, the governor, by proclamation, shall order a new election.

16.1-15-44. Secretary of state to record statement of general or special election, prepare certificates of election, publish abstract.

After receiving each certified statement and determination made by the state canvassing board, the secretary of state shall record the same in the secretary of state’s office and shall prepare, and transmit to each of the individuals declared to be elected, a certificate of election as provided in this chapter. If the election results indicate that any candidate is entitled to a recount or to demand a recount pursuant to section 16.1-16-01, the secretary of state may not prepare or deliver the certificate of election until the time to demand a recount has expired, or the recount results have been determined and the winner declared, whichever is later. The secretary of state shall cause a copy of the certified abstract and determination to be published in the official newspaper of Burleigh County.

16.1-15-45. Form of certificate of election for state officers – Signatures.

A certificate of election must be prepared by the secretary of state for each person elected to a state or a district office. The certificate, in substance, must be in the following form:

At an election held on ______________, ________, ____________________ was elected to the office of _______________ of this state for the term of _______ years from _________________, ________, (or, if to fill a vacancy, for the residue of the term ending on ____________, ______), and until a successor is duly elected and qualified.
Given at Bismarck on ______________, ________.

The certificate must be signed by the governor and the secretary of state, and must have the great seal of the state affixed, and must be attested by at least one of the other members of the state canvassing board.

16.1-15-46. Members of legislative assembly to receive certificates of election.

At the time election certificates are issued to state and district officers, the secretary of state shall issue certificates of election to all members of the legislative assembly.

16.1-15-47. Certificate of election to member of Congress – Signing – Delivering.

The certificate of election to a member of Congress must be signed by the governor with the great seal affixed and must be countersigned by the secretary of state. The governor shall cause the certificate to be delivered to the person elected.

16.1-15-48. Canvassing returns of constitutional amendment or other proposition – Certified abstract of result – Contents.

For the purpose of canvassing and ascertaining the result of the votes cast at any election upon any proposed amendment to the constitution, or any other proposition submitted to a vote of the people, the state canvassing board shall proceed to examine the abstracts received by the secretary of state from the county auditors to ascertain and determine the result. The board shall certify a statement of the whole number of votes cast for and the whole number of votes cast against an amendment or proposition, and it shall determine whether the amendment or proposition has been approved and ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon, and a certificate of that determination must be prepared and subscribed on the statement.

16.1-15-49. Certified statement and determination of results of constitutional amendments and propositions recorded by secretary of state – Publishing.

The certified statement and determination provided for in section 16.1-15-48 must be recorded by the secretary of state. If it appears that a constitutional amendment or other proposition has been approved, ratified, or adopted, the secretary of state shall arrange for the text of the amendment or proposition and a record of the votes cast for and against it to be published in the session laws published after the next succeeding session of the legislative assembly.

CHAPTER 16.1-16 – RECOUNTS AND CONTEST OF ELECTIONS

16.1-16-01. Election recounts.

A recount of any primary, special, or general election for nomination or election to a congressional, state, district, legislative, county, or city office, or for the approval or disapproval of any measure, question, or bond issue submitted to the qualified electors of this state or one of its political subdivisions must be conducted according to guidelines established by the secretary of state and as follows:

1. A recount must be conducted when:

a. Any individual failed to be nominated in a primary election by one percent or less of the highest vote cast for a candidate for the office sought.
b. Any individual failed to be elected in a general or special election by one-half of one percent or less of the highest vote cast for a candidate for that office.
c. A question, measure, or bond issue submitted to the qualified electors has been decided by a margin not exceeding one-fourth of one percent of the total vote cast for and against the question at any election.

2. A demand for a recount may be made by any of the following:

a. Any individual who failed to be nominated in a primary election by more than one percent and less than two percent of the highest vote cast for a candidate for the office sought.
b. Any individual who failed to be elected in a general or special election by more than one-half of one percent and less than two percent of the highest vote cast for a candidate for that office.

3. A demand for a recount must be made within three days after the canvass of the votes by the county canvassing board in the case of county elections and city elections that are combined with the county and by the state canvassing board in the case of presidential, congressional, state, judicial district, multicounty district, or legislative elections. The demand must be in writing, must recite one of the conditions in subsection 2 as a basis for the recount, must contain a bond in an amount previously established by the auditor or auditors doing the recount sufficient to pay the cost of the recount, and must be filed with:

a. The secretary of state when the recount is for a congressional, state, district, or legislative office.
b. The county auditor when the recount is for a county office or city office when a city election is combined with the county.

4. Within four days after the canvass of the votes by the state canvassing board in the case of presidential, congressional, state, judicial district, multicounty district, or legislative elections, the secretary of state shall notify all the county auditors to conduct recounts as required by subsection 1 and, when a timely recount demand is received and it is in proper form, as required by subsection 2. The secretary of state shall fix the date or dates of the recounts of legislative contests to be held within seven days after giving notice to the affected auditors that recounts must be conducted. The secretary of state shall fix the date or dates of the recounts of statewide races to be held within fourteen days after giving notice to the auditors that recounts must be conducted. Within four days after the canvass of votes by the county canvassing board or other political subdivision canvassing board, the county auditor or other political subdivision election official shall fix the date for recounts limited to the county, those cities within the county which combined the election with the county, or other political subdivision. The date must be within eight days after the canvass. In all recount proceedings, the county auditor or other election official, as appropriate, shall send notice of the date, place, and time of the recount to all candidates and petitioners involved by certified mail.
5. For recounts conducted by counties of federal, state, district, and county offices, measures, and questions, the county auditor must conduct the recount and may employ up to four qualified electors of the county to assist in the recount. The county
auditor shall review all paper and electronic voting system ballots and associated records, whether the ballots were counted at the precinct or the county canvass, and all absentee ballots cast pursuant to section 16.1-07-09 to determine which ballots were cast and counted according to the law, including that the ballots were properly initialed and that the initials found on the ballots are verified as those of the precinct election board members. The county auditor shall check the precinct count and the count of the county canvassing board. If the county auditor is a candidate involved in the recount, the county auditor is disqualified from acting thereon, and the county recorder shall perform the duties required of the county auditor by this section. For recounts conducted by political subdivisions other than counties of local offices, measures, and questions, the election officer in a political subdivision shall administer a recount in the same manner as is required under this subsection for counties with respect to political subdivision ballot measures, questions, or bond issues.
6.

a. The individuals entitled to participate at the recount are:

(1) Each candidate involved in the recount, either personally or by a representative.
(2) A qualified elector favoring each side of a question if the recount involves a question or proposition submitted to a vote of the electorate.

b. The individuals allowed to participate may challenge the acceptance or exclusion of any ballot. The individual challenging a ballot must state the reason for the challenge based upon the law, and the county auditor or other political subdivision election official shall count the challenged ballot as the auditor or election official determines proper and then shall set the ballot aside with a notation that it was challenged and how it was counted.

7. At the conclusion of the recount, the county auditor or other election official shall submit all challenged ballots to the recount board for decision. Except for political subdivision recounts other than counties, the recount board must be composed of the state’s attorney of the county, the chairman of the board of county commissioners, and the county recorder. Unless otherwise specified by law, for a political subdivision other than a county, the governing body of the political subdivision shall appoint the recount board. An individual may not serve on the recount board if the individual has anything of value bet or wagered on the result of the election, is a candidate for the office being recounted, or is the husband, wife, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, or sister, whether by birth or marriage, of the whole or the half-blood, of any candidate involved in the recount. If any of the members of the recount board are disqualified or cannot serve for any other reason, the members of the board of county commissioners or other political subdivision governing body who would be qualified to serve on the board shall appoint disinterested qualified electors of the county or other political subdivision to serve as alternates. The recount board shall review all challenged ballots and on majority vote shall decide how those ballots are counted. The recount board is authorized to initial all absentee ballots cast under section 16.1-07-09 that were not considered or counted at the various precincts in the county for the reasons provided in sections 16.1-07-11 and 16.1-07-12 or by the county canvassing boards as provided in section 16.1-15-19. The decision of the recount board is final, subject to the right to contest the election as provided in this chapter. If during the recount a recess is called, the county auditor or other political subdivision election official shall take appropriate steps to safeguard the ballots.
8. The county auditor or other election official shall certify the results of the recount no later than three days after the recount. The recount result is the official result of the election in the county or other political subdivision. The county auditor or other election official shall prepare a corrected abstract of the votes. In a recount limited to the county, city, or other political subdivision, if the corrected abstract shows no change in the outcome of the election, no further action may be taken. If the corrected abstract changes the outcome of the election, the county auditor or other election official shall issue certificates of nomination or election accordingly and shall certify the new result of a question submitted to the qualified electors. In the case of a city election that is combined with a county election, the county auditor shall certify the new results of the election to the city auditor who is responsible for issuing new certificates of election if applicable.
9. In presidential, congressional, statewide, judicial district, multicounty district, or legislative recounts, the county auditor, no later than three days after the recount, shall send by certified mail a certified copy of the corrected abstract to the secretary of state. The secretary of state immediately shall assemble the state canvassing board, who shall canvass the corrected abstracts and certify the election results. The secretary of state shall issue certificates of election or nomination or record the approval or disapproval of a question submitted to the qualified electors accordingly.
10. The expenses incurred in a recount of a county election must be paid by the county on a warrant by the county auditor. The expenses incurred in a recount of a political subdivision other than a county election must be paid by that political subdivision. The expenses incurred in a recount of a city election must be paid by the city on a warrant by the city auditor. The expenses incurred in a recount of a presidential, congressional, state, judicial district, multicounty district, or legislative election must be paid by the state from the general fund upon approval by the secretary of state of a statement of expenses received from the county auditors. The expenses incurred in a recount demanded under subsection 2 of section 16.1-16-01 must be paid by the secretary of state or county auditor from the bond submitted by the individual requesting the recount.
11. This section also applies to city elections that are not combined with the county except the city auditor, to the extent applicable, shall perform the duties of the county auditor.

16.1-16-02. Who may contest election.

A defeated candidate or ten qualified electors may contest the nomination or election of any person or the approval or rejection of any question or proposition submitted to a vote of the electorate, pursuant to chapters 16.1-04, 16.1-05, 16.1-06, 16.1-07, 16.1-08.1, 16.1-09, 16.1-10, and 16.1-11. In a county election to change the county seat or to change the boundaries of the county, the complaint must be filed against the board of county commissioners, who shall appear and defend the contest action.

16.1-16-03. Commencement of action – Parties – Status of contestee.

An action to contest an election must be commenced by service of a summons and verified complaint. The party instituting the action must be known as the contestant, and the party against whom the action is instituted must be known as the contestee. In a contest of an election, the person holding the certificate of election shall take possession and discharge the duties of the office until the contest action is finally decided.

16.1-16-04. Time for commencement of action.

Any action to contest an election must be commenced and the complaint must be filed in the district court of the contestee’s county of residence within five days after final certification of a recount by the appropriate canvassing board or within fourteen days after the final certification by the appropriate canvassing board if no recount is to be conducted. However, if the grounds for the action are the illegal payment of money or other valuable thing subsequent to the filing of any statement of expenses required by this title or if the contestee does not or cannot meet the qualifications to hold the office as required by law, the action may be commenced at any time. The contestee shall serve and file an answer within fourteen days after service of the contest summons and complaint.

16.1-16-05. Grounds for election contest.

An election contest may be commenced for any of the following causes:

1. If the contestee does not or cannot meet the qualifications to hold the office as required by law.
2. Because of illegal votes or erroneous or fraudulent voting, count, canvass, or recount of votes.

16.1-16-06. Election contest to be tried as civil action – Precedence on court calendar.

Election contest actions must be tried as civil actions to the court without a jury. The district court shall set the hearing on the contest action not more than ten days after the filing of the contest answer. Election contests must take precedence over regular court business so elections are determined as soon as practicable. The district court judge shall order a special term of the court if no term is in progress when the election contest complaint is filed.

16.1-16-07. Contest involving irregularity of ballots – Preservation of ballots.

Either the contestant or the contestee, within the time provided by this title for the preservation of ballots, may give notice by certified mail to the county recorder of any county where the contestant or the contestee desires the ballots preserved, that an election contest is pending in a designated court. Thereupon, it is the duty of the county recorder to preserve all the paper ballots and electronic voting system ballots and associated records until the contest has been finally determined.

16.1-16-08. Judgment in election contest action.

1. The judge in an election contest action shall pronounce judgment on which candidate was elected or nominated and whether any question or proposition was approved or rejected.
2. The appropriate officer shall issue a certificate to the person declared elected or nominated in accordance with the judgment. Any certificate of nomination or election previously issued that is in conflict with the judgment is annulled by the court’s judgment.
3. If the court declares that the election resulted in a tie, the election must be determined by law.
4. If the court declares that no one was elected or nominated and sets aside the election, the office must be deemed vacant and any certificate of election or nomination previously issued is annulled. The vacancy must be filled according to law. This subsection does not apply if an incumbent is in office and is entitled to serve until a successor is duly elected and qualified, in which event the incumbent may only be removed by impeachment.
5. In the discretion of the court, court costs may be awarded on the following bases:

a. If the contest action is dismissed for insufficient evidence or want of prosecution, or if the court confirms the election results, judgment for costs must be for the contestee and against the contestant.
b. If an election is annulled for errors or malfeasance of any election official during any part of the election procedure, the costs must be a charge against the state or political subdivision in which the election was held.
c. When an election is annulled on any other ground or when the contestant is declared elected, judgment for costs must be for the contestant and against the contestee.

6. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to authorize a nomination or election to be set aside because of illegal votes unless either of the following is shown, that:

a. The contestee had knowledge of or connived in the illegal votes.
b. If the number of illegal votes is taken from the contestee, it would reduce the number of the contestee’s legal votes below the number of votes cast for some other person for the same nomination or election, after deducting any illegal votes from the other person.

16.1-16-09. Appeal of election contest judgment.

An appeal to the supreme court of the judgment in an election contest action may be had by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the trial court within ten days of the date of the service of notice of entry of the judgment. Appeals of election contest actions must be conducted in the manner provided by the North Dakota Rules of Appellate Procedure. Election contest appeals must take precedence over regular court business so election results can be determined as soon as practicable. An appeal may be brought on for hearing before the supreme court at any time upon ten days’ notice by either party and must be determined in a summary manner.

16.1-16-10. Legislative contest of election.

Legislative election contests must be determined in court as provided in this chapter for other contests. No legislative election may be contested before either house of the legislative assembly.

16.1-16-11. Answer to legislative statement of contest.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-12. Depositions – Subpoenas – Time limits.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-13. Preservation of ballots.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-14. Testimony and records filed with secretary of state – Secretary of state to deliver to presiding officer.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-15. Determination of contest – Certificate of election.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-16. Fees of officers and witnesses.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.

16.1-16-17. Payment for prosecuting or defending legislative election contest prohibited.

Repealed by S.L. 1987, ch. 259, § 15.