Posts Tagged ‘Voting’

Electronic Meetings During the COVID-19 Emergency: Recommended Practices

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

[UPDATE: Section 4.31 of Session Law 2020-3 enacted new G.S. 166A-19.24, which imposes a variety of procedural requirements on remote meetings held by public bodies during a state of emergency declared by the Governor or General Assembly. As defined by G.S. 166A-19.24, a “remote meeting” is one at which at least one board member participates […]

Voting Rules for Adopting Ordinances

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

A property owner petitioned for a rezoning in a North Carolina city. The city council voted to send the matter to the planning board for a recommendation, and voted to set the public hearing. Now, following the public hearing, the board is ready vote on the rezoning. Does it take a two-thirds vote for the […]

Locally Adopted Voting Rules

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The Robertsville town council recently adopted three new voting rules: Rule #1: A motion to add an item to the agenda during a council meeting must be approved by a vote of 4/5 of the members present. Rule #2: A final decision on a contract to hire a manager must be approved by a vote […]

Do Mayors Have a Duty to Vote?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

North Carolina holds its local government board members’ feet to the fire when it comes to voting. City council members and county commissioners have a legal duty to vote unless they are excused for any of several grounds allowed under the statutes. The statutes do not authorize board members to abstain. In cities, if a […]

Remote Participation in Meetings

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

A local government board member will not be able to attend an upcoming meeting. Can she participate by calling in? Regular blog followers may recall that I have written  several posts on this topic. With the benefit of your comments and some additional research, I’ve replaced those blog posts with a Local Government Law Bulletin […]

Protest Petitions No Longer Allowed in North Carolina

Friday, July 19th, 2013

UPDATE: Post updated 11/12/21 to incorporate statutory amendments. The zoning protest petition is no longer authorized for use in North Carolina. Even if a zoning regulation still  references a supermajority vote requirement if a protest is filed, that is no longer effective. A simple majority of those eligible to vote is sufficient to adopt a […]

The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

An obligation that many North Carolina counties, school boards and cities have worked under since the mid-1960s ended yesterday. You have probably already read about the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act — the preclearance requirement […]

Board Member Financial Interest: Mapping the Points on the Continuum

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

We say it until we’re blue in the face: municipal and county governing board members have a duty to vote. There is no authority to abstain, or to be excused for a mere “appearance of impropriety.” Instead, state law is specific about when members can be excused from voting. Two blog posts about these statutes […]

Candidates and Conflicts of Interest – What Happens If You Win?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

You want to run for city council, but you or your company has a contract with the city (or maybe you want to run to be a county commissioner and the contract is with the county).  Can you be a candidate for election?  What happens if you win?  Sure, you can run.  The conflict of […]

Voting and Taking Action in Closed Sessions

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

People sometimes assume that local government boards can never vote or take action in a closed session. That’s not quite true. Consider the following scenario: A city council has gone into a closed session under G.S. 143-318.11(5) and (6) to discuss the short list of candidates for the open city manager position, and to settle […]

Proxy Voting

Friday, December 4th, 2009

A recurrent question is whether one governing board member may give his or her proxy to another, when the first member cannot attend a meeting, allowing the proxy holder to vote on behalf of the proxy giver.  (The proxy might give specific instructions or leave matters to the discretion of the proxy holder.)  Our answer […]

Drawing Electoral Districts to Help Minority Voters and Their Favored Candidates

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

A problem springs up every 10 years, with the new census numbers, in cities, counties, and school units that elect their council members, commissioners, and school board members from districts:  how, and how much, to take race into account in drawing district lines.

Voting by the mayor pro-tem

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The mayor is on vacation and therefore the mayor pro tem is presiding at the regular council meeting.  The city is one in which the mayor votes only to break ties.  When a vote comes up, does the pro tem vote as if he or she is still a council member, or does he or […]

Board Members Who Serve on Nonprofit Boards – Conflict of Interest?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

It’s budget season, and several nonprofit organizations hope to receive funding from your city or county to provide programs and services for the benefit of your citizens. An increasingly common situation is that you have one or more members of your city or county governing board who also serve on the boards of some of […]

“Official Conduct” – More on Excusing Board Members From Voting

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

A few of my posts have discussed the limited bases upon which city and county board members may be excused from voting, and the lack of clarity in the statutes about how this should be done. I’ve mostly focused on the statutory provisions dealing with matters involving consideration of a board member’s “own financial interest.” […]

Excusing Board Members From Voting

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

State law creates an affirmative duty for local governing board members to vote on matters that come before the board. Last week’s post discussed provisions that allow members to be excused from voting for specific reasons. In all other cases, the assumption is that they must vote. The statutes are mostly silent about the process […]