Website Search

Saturday, April 3, 2010

NC Law: Public hearing required before participation in NC's instant runoff voting pilot

In 2009, legislation was passed to ensure that citizens had a say in whether their city participated in the Instant Runoff Voting Pilot Program. This was to remedy an oversight. Previously, city officials and county Board of Elections could volunteer for this voting method without seeking public input.

In 2007, the cities of Cary and Hendersonville NC volunteered and participated in IRV, without public input. Then in 2009, only Hendersonville chose to use instant runoff voting again, and as before, did not seek public input. Cary NC's city council did provide the public a chance to comment, and subsequently abandoned the use of IRV.

Here is the section of law pertaining to requirement for at least one public hearing:

Session Law 2009-541 SL2009-0541

SECTION 30.(a) Section 3(a) of S.L. 2008-150 reads as rewritten:
"SECTION 3.(a) The State Board of Elections is authorized to select elections for offices of local government in which to use instant runoff voting in up to 10 local jurisdictions in each of the following years: 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The selection of jurisdictions and administration of instant runoff voting shall follow the provisions of Section 1(a) of Session Law 2006-192, except that the local governing board that is the subject of the election must approve participation in the pilot and must hold at least one public hearing on the pilot before approving it, with notice of the hearing published at least 10 days before the hearing. The local governing board also must agree to cooperate with the county board of elections and the Board in the development and implementation of a plan to educate candidates and voters about how to use the runoff voting method. In a multiseat contest, the Board shall modify the method used for instant runoff voting in single-seat contests to apply its essential principles suitably to that election. In the case of a board of education election where the "local governing board" must be asked to authorize instant runoff voting because nonpartisan plurality elections are normally used, the "local governing board" is the board of education itself. If instant runoff voting is used in place of the nonpartisan election and runoff method as described in G.S. 163-293, the county board of elections, with the approval of the local governing board, may hold the election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The State Board of Elections, in consultation with the School of Government at the University of North Carolina, shall by January 1, 2009, develop for the pilot program authorized in this section goals, standards consistent with general election law, and criteria for implementation and evaluation. The pilot program shall be conducted according to those goals, standards, and criteria. The term "ranked choice voting" shall have the same meaning as, and may be used as a substitute for, the term "instant runoff voting" in describing the pilot."

SECTION 30.(b) This section is effective when it becomes law. The requirement for holding a public hearing applies only to primaries and elections held on and after January 1, 2010, but a local governing board may give notice of and conduct a public hearing to satisfy the requirement before January 1, 2010

Session law 2009-541 [pdf]

SL2009-541 [HTML]

To receive updates by email visit this link