Tuesday, January 2, 2024

State Board Finalizes Presidential Primary Candidates Selects 10 Counties for a Signature Matching Pilot Program

The State Board of Elections voted unanimously to finalize the list of presidential preference primary candidates for 2024.
Raleigh, N.C.
Jan 2, 2024

The bipartisan State Board of Elections on Tuesday voted unanimously to finalize the list of presidential preference primary candidates for 2024, deferring to the lists of candidates provided by the state’s political parties for their respective primary ballots. No candidates were added beyond what the parties requested for their primaries. 

During the presidential preference primary, eligible voters choose their preferred candidate for president. The results of the presidential preference primary determine how each party’s delegates will be allocated at the party’s national nominating convention next summer. 

At its Dec. 19 meeting, the State Board approved candidates for the Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican parties’ presidential preference primaries that were submitted by the political parties. The Green Party did not submit a list of presidential primary candidates and will therefore defer its delegate allocation to the national nominating convention. The No Labels Party will select its presidential primary candidate by convention and without a primary, per state law, because the 2024 general election is the first election after the party was recognized in North Carolina.

For the list of names to be included on primary ballots, see press release: State Board Approves Presidential Primary Candidates.

State law permits a candidate to be included on a party’s primary ballot by gathering sufficient petition signatures from North Carolina voters, but no such petitions were received by the State Board. Several additional candidates wrote to the State Board asking to add them to a party’s primary ballot, but the Board voted 5–0 to include only the names provided by the state’s recognized parties.

The primary election is March 5. Ballots are being designed, coded, and proofed in the coming days. Primary ballots will be sent to voters who requested them beginning Jan. 19, 2024.

[Full video of this meeting is available at the State Board’s meeting folder.]

Signature Matching Pilot Program

The State Board also selected 10 counties to participate in a signature matching pilot program following the March primary election. The pilot program is required by Session Law 2023-140, approved by the General Assembly in 2023. The counties were determined using a system of random selection, based on rankings for population size, racial diversity, and regional location. Rankings of counties’ economic well-being and median age were also taken into account.

The 10 counties, listed below, will use signature verification software to compare the signatures on mail-in absentee ballot applications and envelopes against voters’ signatures on file with the elections offices. This is for experimental purposes only. It will not affect the counting of any voter’s ballot in the primary election. All counties, including the 10 pilot counties, will accept absentee by mail ballots from registered North Carolina voters who meet the current criteria of properly requesting a ballot, marking it, signing it, having it witnessed, and providing a copy of an acceptable photo ID or an ID exception form before returning it to the county board of elections.

The counties participating in the pilot are: Bertie, Cherokee, Durham, Halifax, Henderson, Jones, Montgomery, Pamlico, Rowan, and Wilkes.

State Board staff will work with these counties to ensure they have access to and are trained on the matching software. The State Board will report findings of the pilot program and any recommendations to the General Assembly by May 1, 2024.

For more information on how to request and vote an absentee by mail ballot visit Vote By Mail.

Temporary Election Observer Rules

The Board also unanimously approved temporary administrative rules regarding procedures related to election observers appointed by political parties or candidates to observe elections inside early voting sites and Election Day polling places. Brief descriptions of the rules, which now go to the Rules Review Commission for consideration, are listed below, with links to the approved rules.

Other Business

  • State Board staff has updated 2024 primary candidate lists to reflect only contests and candidates, including presidential preference primary candidates, that will appear on March 5 primary election ballots. Also, the general election candidate lists now include those candidates who will appear on Nov. 5 general election ballots because they do not have primary opponents. All primary and general lists are available at Candidate Lists. Anyone with questions about the lists should email patrick.gannon@ncsbe.gov.
  • The Board unanimously approved an early voting plan for Lincoln County for the 2024 primary. The approved plan, the “majority plan,” includes an additional voting site at the Lentz Gym in Lincolnton.

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