General Overview

North Carolina’s 100 county boards of elections conduct local elections, operate voting sites, maintain voter registration lists and handle many other aspects of elections administration. The State Board works with county boards of elections offices to ensure elections are conducted lawfully and fairly.

For county board contact information, please use the County Board of Elections Search.

Makeup of County Boards of Elections

Each of North Carolina’s 100 counties has a county board of elections with five members who are registered voters in that county. The State Board of Elections appoints four members – two Democrats and two Republicans – to each county board of elections. The state chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties recommend three registered voters to the State Board.

The State Board chooses two members from each party to serve on each county board. They serve two-year terms.

The governor appoints the chair of each county board.

Every county board member must take the following oath:

“I, ____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States; and that I will well and truly execute the duties of the office of member of the ____ County Board of Elections to the best of my knowledge and ability, according to law; so help me God.”

The State Board of Elections may remove any member of a county board for incompetency, neglect or failure to perform duties, fraud, or for any other satisfactory cause. 

Duties of County Boards of Elections

Among other duties, county boards:

  • Make and issue rules, regulations, and instructions necessary for the guidance of election officers and voters.
  • Appoint chief judges, judges, assistants, and other elections officials, and determine where they will serve. The county board also removes officials if the need arises.
  • Investigate irregularities, nonperformance of duties, and violations of laws by election officers and other persons, and report violations to the State Board. 
  • Contract for the printing of ballots and other supplies used in registration and elections; and provide for the delivery of ballots, pollbooks, and other required papers and materials to voting places.
  • Buy and maintain voting booths, ballot boxes, registration and pollbooks, maps, flags, cards of instruction, and other forms, papers, and equipment used in elections.
  • Count absentee and provisional ballots and other official ballots required to be counted. 
  • Certify results in all ballot items on the official ballot in the county.
  • Order a recount in any ballot item where necessary to complete the canvass.
  • Conduct any recount ordered by the county board or State Board.
  • Conduct hearings on election protests.

For more on the duties of county boards of elections, please refer to Powers and duties of county boards of elections. N.C.G.S. § 163-33, Summary of officials’ duties under this Article. N.C.G.S. § 163-182.17(c), and Duties of county board of elections. N.C.G.S. § 163-166.1.