Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 051: CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

  • Subchapter 001: ELECTION OFFICIALS
  • § 2451. Board of civil authority

    The board of civil authority shall have charge of the conduct of elections within the political subdivision for which it is elected. At any time before an election, the board of civil authority may issue guidance for elections officials that assists officials in conducting elections within the political subdivision. Guidance issued by the board shall not conflict with federal or state elections laws. A quorum of the board of civil authority shall be available at all times when the polls are open, and those members of the board of civil authority present at a polling place shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business relating to the conduct of the election and the qualification and registration of voters at this polling place. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 38; 2003, No. 59, § 16.)

  • § 2452. Presiding officer

    (a) The town clerk shall be the presiding officer unless the town by vote at an annual meeting or by charter shall provide otherwise. If the regular presiding officer is unavailable or unable to preside at any given election, then the board of civil authority shall promptly appoint a voter of the town to serve as the presiding officer at that election.

    (b) If more than one polling place is used, the board shall appoint a presiding officer for each additional polling place. These presiding officers for additional polling places shall be appointed for no more than two year terms, but may be reappointed and may have their appointments revoked. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.)

  • § 2453. Duties of presiding officer

    The presiding officer shall be responsible for preparation of polling places and voting equipment, opening and closing the polls, scheduling the working hours of all election officials, counting votes and certifying the results of the count, securing all ballots, maintaining order at the polls, and in all things assuring that the election is conducted according to law. If it is necessary for the presiding officer to be absent from the polling place during any part of the election, he or she shall designate another to act in his or her stead until he or she returns. The presiding officer shall make every reasonable effort to assure that at least one election official from each major party is present at the polling place at all times. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 40.)

  • § 2454. Assistant election officers

    (a) Prior to the day of the election, the board of civil authority shall appoint a sufficient number of voters from each municipality to serve as assistant election officers. As far as possible, the board shall attempt to appoint an equal number of persons from each major political party. Each assistant election officer shall be sworn prior to entering on the performance of his or her duties. An assistant town clerk may serve as an assistant elections officer, regardless of his or her residence.

    (b) The board of civil authority may appoint residents of a municipality who are 16 or 17 years old to serve as assistant elections officers in their respective polling places. Youth assistant elections officers shall have the same duties as adult assistant elections officers but shall work under the direct supervision of adult elections officials. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 4, § 1; 2003, No. 59, § 17; 2009, No. 40, § 1.)

  • § 2455. Election officials; duties; political party representation

    (a) The assistant election officers, together with the presiding officer and the board of civil authority, shall constitute the election officials.

    (b) Except as may be specifically provided in this title, the presiding officer shall notify each election official of the hours when he or she shall be present to work at the polls and of the duties assigned to each election official.

    (c) When the provisions of this title require two or more election officials of different political parties to perform an act, that political party representation requirement shall not be required if attempts to conform to it were not successful. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 50, § 20.)

  • § 2456. Disqualifications

    Notwithstanding the preceding sections of this subchapter, no person shall serve as an election official in any election in which his or her name appears on a ballot of the Australian ballot system as a candidate for any office unless he or she is the only candidate for that office, or unless the office for which he or she is a candidate is that of moderator, justice of the peace, town clerk, treasurer, ward clerk, or inspector of elections. When an Australian ballot is not used, a person shall not serve as an election official during the election to fill any office for which he or she is a nominee. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2001, No. 5, § 4; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)

  • § 2457. Workshops and information for election officials

    (a) The Secretary of State or his or her designee shall organize regional workshops for election officials, provide them with informational materials about the conduct of elections and recounts, and otherwise help them run elections in conformance with State and federal law.

    (b)(1) The regular presiding officer of each town or an assistant designated by the board of civil authority shall attend, at the town's expense, at least one of these election workshops every two years.

    (2) Each town clerk shall file with the Secretary of State by December 31 of each even-numbered year a letter certifying compliance with this subsection.

    (c)(1) The town clerk of each town shall provide the Secretary of State with the names and addresses of all members of the board of civil authority and shall promptly notify the Secretary of State of any changes in the list.

    (2) The Secretary of State shall invite all members of the boards of civil authority to the workshops and provide them with informational materials. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 41; amended 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 59, § 15; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.)

  • § 2458. Complaint procedure

    The secretary of state shall adopt rules to establish a uniform and nondiscriminatory complaint procedure to be used by any person who believes that a violation of this title or any other provision of Title III of United States Public Law 107-252 has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur. For purposes of this section, "complaint" shall mean a statement in writing made by a voter stating, with particularity, the violation, notarized, and sworn or affirmed under penalty of perjury. The secretary's rules shall provide for an informal proceeding to hear complaints for all complainants unless a formal hearing is requested. Formal complaints held pursuant to this section shall be in conformance with the rules adopted by the secretary. Any decision of the secretary may be appealed to the superior court in the county where the individual resides. (Added 2003, No. 59, § 18.)


  • Subchapter 002: BALLOTS
  • § 2471. General election ballot

    (a)(1) A consolidated ballot shall be used at a general election, which shall list the several candidates for the offices to be voted upon. The offices of President and Vice President of the United States, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts, Attorney General, State Senator, Representative to the General Assembly, Judge of Probate, assistant judge, State's Attorney, sheriff, and high bailiff shall be listed in that order. Any statewide public question shall also be listed on the ballot, before the listing of all offices to be filled.

    (2) The ballot shall be prepared at State expense under the direction of the Secretary of State. The color of the ballot shall be determined by the Secretary of State. The printing shall be black. Ballots shall be printed on index stock and configured to be readable by vote tabulators. The font shall be at least 10 points for candidate names unless a name exceeds 24 characters, in which case the candidate may change his or her consent form name to 24 characters or less, or the font may be reduced as needed to fit the candidate name space.

    (b) Ballots for justices shall be prepared at town expense, under the direction of the town clerk, in the town in which they are to be used. The printing shall be black and shall conform as nearly as possible to the format of the general election ballot. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1993, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 54, § 4; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 22.)

  • § 2472. Contents

    (a) The ballot shall be titled "OFFICIAL VERMONT GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT," followed by the date of the election. Immediately below, the following instructions shall be printed: "Instruction to Voters: To vote for a candidate whose name is printed on the ballot, fill in the oval at the right of that person's name and party designation. To vote for a candidate whose name is not printed on the ballot, write the person's name on the blank line in the appropriate block and fill in the oval to the right of that blank line. When there are two or more candidates to be elected to one office, you may vote for any number of candidates up to and including the maximum number. The name of the town or towns and legislative district in which the ballot is to be used shall be listed in the upper left hand corner.

    (b)(1) Each office to be voted upon shall be separately indicated and preceded by the word "For," as: "For United States Senator." Beneath the office to be voted upon shall appear the instructions: "Vote for not more than (the number of candidates to be elected)."

    (2) The names of the candidates for each office shall be listed in alphabetical order by surname, followed by the candidate's town of residence, and the party or parties by which the candidate has been nominated, or in the case of independent candidates who have not chosen some other name or identification, by the word "Independent." The word "party" shall not be printed on the ballot following a candidate's party name.

    (3) To the right of the party designation shall be an oval in which the voter may indicate his or her choice by filling in the oval.

    (4) A candidate's name shall not appear on the ballot more than once for any one office.

    (c) Following the names of candidates for each office, there shall be as many blank write-in lines as there are persons to be elected to that office. To the right of each such line shall be the words "Write-In" and an oval identical to the ovals that follow the candidates' names. Lines provided for writing in names for President and Vice President shall be separately designated by the words "President" and "Vice President."

    (d) [Repealed.]

    (e) When an article is to be voted on and the legislative body determines that the article is too long or unwieldy to show in full on the ballot, it shall be sufficient for the ballot to show the article by the number and title for that article as they were listed in the warning for the election. However, the complete article shall be posted in a conspicuous place within each voting booth. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.),§§ 43-45; 2007, No. 54, § 5; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2015, No. 30, § 9, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 21.)

  • § 2473. Provisions relative to presidential election

    (a) When the president and vice president are to be elected, the ballot shall contain the names of all candidates for these offices, arranged in alphabetical order according to the surname of the presidential candidate of each party. The names of the electors shall not be printed on the ballot. A vote for the presidential and vice presidential nominees of a party shall constitute a vote for the electors nominated by that party.

    (b) The name and state of residence of the presidential and vice presidential candidate of each party shall be listed on separate lines joined together by a bracket, followed by the party designations and a single square for that pair of candidates. In lieu of the instructions: "Vote for not more than (the number of candidates to be elected)," the following instructions shall appear: "Mark ONE oval only."

    (c) If a candidate whose name is not printed on the ballot receives the greatest number of votes for president, the secretary of state shall notify him of that fact, and within two weeks thereafter, the candidate shall file with the secretary of state, a list of freemen equal to the number of electors which the state is entitled to elect. The list shall be signed by the candidate personally. The persons so named shall be electors, having the duties prescribed in this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 54, § 6.)

  • § 2474. Choice of party

    (a)(1) A person nominated by any means for the same office by more than one political party may elect, not later than 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day following the primary election, the party or parties in which the nominee will be a candidate. The nominee shall notify in writing the Secretary of State or town clerk, as the case may be, of such choice by that deadline, and only the party or parties that the nominee so elects shall be printed next to the nominee's name on the ballot.

    (2) If the nominee does not notify the Secretary of State or the town clerk of his or her choice of party, the Secretary of State shall print on the ballot those parties next to the nominee's name by listing in this order:

    (A) the major political party for which the nominee had his or her name printed on the ballot in the primary;

    (B) any major political parties that nominated the nominee by the party committee, in the order in which the nominations were submitted to the Secretary of State;

    (C) any major political parties for which the nominee received write-in votes, in an order from highest to lowest vote counts; and

    (D) any minor political parties that nominated the nominee by party committee, in the order in which the nominations were submitted to the Secretary of State.

    (b)(1) A candidate for State office who is the nominee of two or more political parties shall file with the Secretary of State, not later than 5:00 p.m. the tenth day following the primary election, a statement designating for which party the votes cast for him or her shall be counted for the purposes of determining whether his or her designated party shall be a major political party. The party so designated shall be the first party to be printed immediately after the candidate's name on the ballot.

    (2) If a candidate does not file the statement by that deadline, the Secretary of State shall designate the party for which the votes cast shall be counted as provided in subdivision (a)(2) of this section. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 59, § 19; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2015, No. 30, § 10, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2475. Death or withdrawal of candidate

    When a candidate dies or withdraws and the vacancy is filled as provided in chapter 49 of this title, the name supplied for the vacancy shall be inserted instead of the original nomination. If the ballots have already been printed, the officer who furnished them shall prepare and furnish new ballots. The town clerk in each town shall, upon delivery of the new ballots, immediately destroy all original ballots except those already supplied to or used by early or absentee voters. Such early or absentee voter ballots shall be acceptable and counted with the other ballots. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 46; 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

  • § 2476. Repealed. 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

  • § 2477. Repealed. 2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.

  • § 2478. Number of paper ballots to be printed and furnished

    (a) For primary elections, the Secretary of State shall furnish each town with a sufficient number of printed ballots based on the history of voter turnout in the town and in consultation with the town clerk.

    (b) For general elections, the Secretary of State shall furnish each town with a number of printed ballots approximately equal to 100 percent of the number of voters on the checklist for the primary election.

    (c) If necessary due to unusual growth of the checklist, a town clerk may request additional ballots from the Secretary of State at least 40 days before the election.

    (d) For local ballots, the town clerk shall cause such number of ballots to be printed and furnished as the board of civil authority shall designate.

    (e) [Repealed.]  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 48; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 1985, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.); 1991, No. 127 (Adj. Sess.); 2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)

  • § 2479. Manner of distribution

    Not later than 45 days before the election, the secretary of state shall furnish the prepared ballots to the clerk of each town. Ballots shall be sent in securely fastened packages by mail or in some other safe manner, with marks on the outside clearly designating the polling place for which they are intended and the number of ballots enclosed. The town clerk shall store the ballots, except for ballots used as early or absentee voter or sample ballots, in a secure place until the day of the election, at which time the town clerk shall deliver them in sufficient quantities to the presiding officer in each polling place, together with any ballots prepared by the town clerk. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2007, No. 54, § 7; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. April 7, 2010.)

  • § 2480. Substitute ballots

    If the ballots to be furnished to a polling place are not duly delivered or if, after delivery, they are destroyed or stolen or if the number proves insufficient, the presiding officer shall cause other ballots to be prepared substantially in the form of those so wanting. Upon delivery of such ballots at the polling place by him or her, accompanied by his or her statement under oath, which shall be recorded by the town clerk, that the same have been so prepared and furnished by him or her and that he or she failed to receive the original ballots or that the same have been destroyed or stolen or that the number has proved insufficient, the ballot clerks shall cause such substituted ballots to be used in place of those wanting. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2481. Printed ballots required

    Except in the case of voice votes from the floor, divisions, or voting at a floor meeting by paper ballot at a local election, no voting shall occur in any local, primary, or general election that does not use printed ballots. (Added 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)

  • § 2482. Repealed. 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 120.


  • Subchapter 003: VOTE TABULATORS
  • § 2491. Political subdivision; vote tabulators

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a board of civil authority may, at a meeting held not less than 60 days prior to an election and warned pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 801, vote to require the political subdivision for which it is elected to use vote tabulators for the registering and counting of votes in subsequent local, primary, or general elections, or any combination of those.

    (b) A town with 1,000 or more registered voters as of December 31 in an even-numbered year shall use vote tabulators for the registering and counting of votes in subsequent general elections.

    (c)(1) The Office of the Secretary of State shall pay the following costs associated with this section by using federal Help America Vote Act funds, as available:

    (A) full purchase and warranty cost of vote tabulators, ballot boxes, and two memory cards for each tabulator;

    (B) annual maintenance costs of vote tabulators for each town; and

    (C) the first $500.00 of the first pair of a vote tabulator's memory cards' configuration costs for each primary and general election.

    (2) A town shall pay the remainder of any cost not covered by subdivision (1) of this subsection. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 49; 2003, No. 59, § 20; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; 2015, No. 30, § 11; 2017, No. 50, § 22.)

  • § 2492. Repealed. 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 43.

  • § 2493. Rules for use of vote tabulators; audits

    (a) The Secretary of State shall adopt rules governing the use and the selection of any vote tabulator in the State. These rules shall include requirements that:

    (1) All municipalities that have voted to use a vote tabulator shall use a uniform vote tabulator approved by the Secretary of State.

    (2) The Secretary of State shall provide for the security of vote tabulators at all times. Vote tabulators, not including the ballot box portion, shall be locked in a vault or a secure location at all times when not in use.

    (3)(A) The Secretary of State shall conduct a random postelection audit of any polling place election results for a general election within 30 days of the election.

    (B) If the Secretary determines that a random audit shall be conducted of the election results in a town or city, the town clerk shall direct two members of the board of civil authority to transport the ballot bags to the office of the Secretary not later than 10:00 a.m. on the morning when the Secretary has scheduled the audit.

    (C) The Secretary shall open the ballot bags and conduct the audit in the same manner as ballots are counted under sections 2581 through 2588 of this chapter. The Secretary shall publicly announce the results of the audit as well as the results from the original return of the vote.

    (D) If the Secretary finds that the audit indicates that there was possible fraud in the count or return of votes, he or she shall refer the results to the Attorney General for possible prosecution.

    (4)(A) All vote tabulators shall be set to reject a ballot that contains an overvote and the voter shall be provided the opportunity to obtain another ballot and correct the overvote. If an early voter absentee ballot contains an overvote, the elections official shall override the vote tabulator and count all races except any race that contains an overvote.

    (B) All vote tabulators shall be set not to reject undervotes.

    (5) Establish a process for municipalities using vote tabulators, whereby markings on ballots that are unreadable by a vote tabulator may be transferred by a pair of election officials, who are not members of the same political party, to ballots that are readable by the vote tabulator.

    (6) Establish a process for using vote tabulators in recounts.

    (b) Each vote tabulator shall be tested using official ballots that are marked clearly as "test ballots" at least 10 days prior to an election. This test shall be open to the public.

    (c) The same vote tabulator or vote tabulator memory card used in any local, primary, or general election shall not be used in a recount of that election.

    (d) A vote tabulator shall be a stand-alone device that shall not be connected to any other device or connections such as wireless connections, cable connections, cellular telephones, or telephone lines.

    (e) A municipality only may use a vote tabulator as provided in this title that registers and counts votes cast on paper ballots and that otherwise meets the requirements of this title. A municipality shall not use any type of voting machine on which a voter casts his or her vote. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 51; 2001, No. 5, § 5; 2003, No. 59, § 22;  2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 54, § 8; 2015, No. 30, § 12, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 23.)

  • § 2494. Construction with other laws

    (a) Except as this subchapter affects the method of registering votes and ascertaining the result, the laws of this State pertaining to elections shall be applicable. The laws pertaining to early or absentee voters shall in no way be affected by this subchapter, and votes cast by early or absentee voters shall be counted with votes counted on vote tabulators.

    (b) In towns using vote tabulators, the board of civil authority may vote to open polling places at 5:00 a.m., provided that at least three elections officials are present, two of whom are from different parties. If all early voter absentee ballots have not been deposited into the vote tabulators before the closing of the polls at 7:00 p.m., the elections officials shall continue to deposit ballots using the same procedure as provided in subsection 2561(b) of this title, treating each ballot as a voter waiting to cast his or her ballot at the close of the polls. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 2, eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 23; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 27.)

  • § 2495. Repealed. 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 27.

  • § 2496. Repealed. 1999, No. 2, § 2.

  • §§ 2497, 2498. Repealed. 2001, No. 5, § 6.

  • § 2499. Transfer of paper ballots from vote tabulators

    The presiding officer, with the assistance of at least two election officials, may transfer voted ballots from the box attached to the vote tabulator to another secure ballot box or secured ballot bag whenever necessary during election day in order to allow the vote tabulator to continue to function properly. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 55; amended 1985, No. 203 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 5, § 7; 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 24; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 27.)


  • Subchapter 004: POLLING PLACES
  • § 2501. Determining districts

    (a) The board of civil authority shall designate one or more polling places within a town; however, the voters at a regular or special meeting warned for that purpose may designate different polling places. If the questions and candidates to be voted upon are not identical for all voters in the town, so that different ballots will be used depending on where a voter lives, the board of civil authority shall suitably divide the master checklist for the whole town into separate checklists according to geographical boundaries, at least 40 days before the election. The master checklist shall be divided in a way that ensures that all voters on a particular checklist will be voting on the same questions and candidates and will be given identical ballots. Each of the separate checklists shall be organized alphabetically, and for each checklist the board of civil authority shall designate the location of a separate polling place. Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section or section 2147 of this title, each voter shall vote at the polling place designated for the separate checklist on which his or her name appears.

    (b) The board of civil authority may also divide the master checklist into separate checklists for the convenient conduct of the election even if the questions and candidates to be voted upon are identical for all voters in the town. In such case, the board shall follow the procedures of this section.

    (c) In preparing the separate checklists, the board of civil authority shall be responsible for accurately determining the geographical location of the last known place of residence of each voter in order to place the voter on the proper separate checklist. If at any time except on election day the board determines that a voter should be on a different checklist from the one on which his or her name appears, the board shall remove the voter's name from the wrong checklist and place it on the proper checklist in accordance with section 2147 of this title.

    (d) The board shall post prominent notices in and around the polling places urging voters to check whether they have been placed on the proper geographical checklist. The notice shall also explain the procedures by which a voter who is on the wrong checklist for his geographical area can be added to the proper checklist and vote at the proper polling place.

    (e) If more than one polling place is located within the same building, each shall be located so that it is separate and distinct from the others, and each shall be run separately from the others with regard to the process of voting. Each polling place shall have its own entrance and exit tables, guardrails, voting booths and ballot boxes, and it shall have its own election officials handling the entrance and exit checklists, furnishing ballots, supervising the deposit of ballots, otherwise conducting the voting part of the elections and tallying the checklists after the polls have closed. However, in the case of a town that uses vote tabulators designed to tabulate ballots from multiple districts by means of a single tabulator, nothing in this section shall prohibit such a town from using a single voting area and a single vote tabulator for two or more districts, as long as voters are checked in through separate entrance checklists and checked out through separate exit checklists if exit checklists are employed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 56; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 1985, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 25, 1992.)

  • § 2502. Location of polling places

    (a) Each polling place shall be located in a public place within the town.

    (b) The board of civil authority shall take such measures as are necessary to assure that voters who are elders or have a disability may conveniently and secretly cast their votes. Measures that may be taken shall include: location of polling places on the ground floor of a building; providing ramps, elevators, or other facilities for access to the polling place; providing a stencil overlay for ballots; providing a separate polling place with direct communication to the main polling place; and permitting election officials to carry a ballot to an elder or to a person who has a disability in order to permit that person to mark the ballot while in a motor vehicle adjacent to the polling place. For purposes of this subsection, the board of civil authority shall have full jurisdiction on the day of an election over the premises at which a polling place is located.

    (c)(1) Thirty days prior to a local, primary, or general election, the town clerk shall submit to the Secretary of State a list of polling places within the municipality that will be used in that election. The list shall include the name of the polling location, its physical address, and the time the polling place will open.

    (2)(A) A municipality may change the location of a polling place less than 30 days prior to an election only in cases of emergency. If a municipality changes the location of a polling place less than 30 days prior to the election, the town clerk shall notify the Secretary of State within 24 hours of the change and provide the new polling place information.

    (B) The Secretary of State shall assist any municipality that needs to change the location of a polling place on the day of an election due to an emergency, including assisting in finding a new location and informing the public of that new location.

    (C) The Secretary of State shall inform the State chairs of Vermont's major political parties of any changes made to polling places that he or she is aware of made less than 30 days prior to an election.

    (3) The Secretary of State shall provide on his or her official website a list of polling places that will be used in any local, primary, or general election within the State, and shall specifically provide notice on that website of any change in the location of a municipality's polling place. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 11; 1991, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 25, 1992; 2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 82; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 34.)

  • § 2503. Repealed. 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 120.

  • § 2504. Voting booths

    At each polling place, there shall be a sufficient number, as determined by the board of civil authority, of voting booths. Each booth shall be of sturdy construction and shall allow a voter to mark his or her ballot conveniently without having his or her choices observed by any other person. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)

  • § 2505. Guardrail

    A guardrail shall be so constructed that only persons inside the rail can approach within six feet of the ballot boxes and voting booths. Neither the ballot boxes nor the voting booths shall be hidden from those outside the guardrail. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2506. Ballot boxes; signs for depositing ballots

    All ballot boxes shall be rigid wood or metal containers. Ballot boxes shall be furnished at the expense of the town where they are to be used. When not in use, ballot boxes shall be in the custody of the town clerk. During voting hours there shall be signs, provided by the secretary of state, placed on or near ballot boxes telling voters to deposit their own ballots in the ballot boxes. This requirement shall not apply to the ballot boxes used during primary elections for the collection of unvoted ballots, in which instance unvoted ballots are inserted by election officials. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 57.)

  • § 2507. Distribution of checklists

    The town clerk shall furnish the presiding officer of each polling place with two certified copies of the checklist applicable to that polling place. One copy shall be used to check voters before they enter within the guardrail, and, unless the board of civil authority votes not to use an exit checklist, the other copy shall be used to check voters as they leave. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 2, § 1.)

  • § 2508. Campaigning during polling hours; voter access

    (a)(1) The presiding officer shall ensure during polling hours on the day of the election that:

    (A) within the building containing a polling place, no campaign literature, stickers, buttons, name stamps, information on write-in candidates, or other political materials are displayed, placed, handed out, or allowed to remain;

    (B) within the building containing a polling place, no candidate, election official, or other person distributes election materials, solicits voters regarding an item or candidate on the ballot, or otherwise campaigns; and

    (C) on the walks and driveways leading to a building in which a polling place is located, no candidate or other person physically interferes with the progress of a voter to and from the polling place.

    (2) The provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall apply to the town clerk's office during any period of early or absentee voting.

    (b) During polling hours, the presiding officer shall control the placement of signs on the property of the polling place in a fair manner.

    (c) The provisions of this section shall be posted in the notice required by section 2521 of this title. (Amended 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 5, § 14; 2017, No. 50, § 24.)

  • § 2509. Repealed. 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 45, eff. July 1, 1982.


  • Subchapter 005: WARNINGS, NOTICES, SAMPLE BALLOTS, AND OTHER VOTER INFORMATION
  • § 2521. Warnings and notices

    (a) Not less than 30 days before the election, the town clerk shall cause a warning and notice to be posted informing the voters of the town about the election.

    (1) The warning shall include the date and time of the election, location of the polling place or places, nature of the election, and offices or questions to be voted upon.

    (2) The notice shall contain information on voter registration and early or absentee voting, on how to obtain ballots, mark them, get help marking them, and obtain new ballots if an error is made; information about offenses relating to elections; instructions on how to get help if there is a problem on election day; instructions for registrants by mail; instructions for first-time voters; instructions on who may cast a provisional ballot; instructions on how to cast a provisional ballot; information on federal and State laws prohibiting fraud and misrepresentation; instructions on how to contact the appropriate official if a person believes any of his or her rights to vote have been violated; and other appropriate information.

    (3) The warning and notice shall be posted in at least two public places within each town and in or near the town clerk's office. If a town has more than one polling place, the warning and notice shall be posted in at least two public places within each voting district and in or near the town clerk's office.

    (4) The checklist shall also be posted as required in section 2141 of this title.

    (b) The Secretary of State shall prepare forms for the warning and notice and shall furnish each town clerk with at least five copies of the forms for each polling place in the town at least five days before they must be posted. Information required in the warnings and notices that varies from town to town shall be left blank by the Secretary of State and filled in by the town clerk. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 61; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 6, § 12(c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 25; 2017, No. 50, § 25.)

  • § 2522. Sample ballots

    (a) As soon as ballots are received by the town clerk, but not later than 20 days prior to any primary or general election or 10 days prior to any municipal election, the town clerk shall post sample ballots in at least two public places within the town and in or near the town clerk's office. If a town has more than one polling place and the polling places are not all in the same building, the sample ballot shall be posted in at least two public places within each voting district and in or near the town clerk's office.

    (b) The town clerk shall prepare the sample ballots by marking the words SAMPLE BALLOT prominently at the top of official election ballots.

    (c) [Repealed.]

    (d) Upon the request of any high school or other educational institution in the town, the town clerk shall deliver a sample ballot to the high school or educational institution. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 62; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 2003, No. 59, § 26.)

  • § 2523. Posting at polling place on election day

    (a) Before the polls open on election day, the presiding officer shall post copies of the warning and notice and the sample ballots conspicuously in and about the polling place so that voters can reasonably be expected to see them before voting.

    (b) The presiding officer shall ensure that signs are placed on or near the ballot boxes informing voters of procedures for depositing ballots. The secretary of state shall supply the signs. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 63; 2003, No. 59, § 27.)


  • Subchapter 006: EARLY OR ABSENTEE VOTERS
  • § 2531. Application for early voter absentee ballot

    (a)(1) A voter who expects to be an early or absentee voter, or an authorized person on behalf of such voter, may apply for an early voter absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. or the closing of the town clerk's office on the day preceding the election.

    (2) If a town clerk does not have regular office hours on the day before the election and his or her office will not otherwise be open on that day, an application may be filed until the closing of the clerk's office on the last day that office has hours preceding the election.

    (b) All applications shall be filed with the town clerk of the town in which the early or absentee voter is registered to vote. The town clerk shall file written applications and memoranda of verbal applications in his or her office, and shall retain the applications and memoranda for 90 days following the election, at which time they may be destroyed.

    (c) Voting by early voter absentee ballot shall be allowed only in elections using the Australian ballot system. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 64; 1993, No. 79, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 3, eff. April 10, 2001; 2017, No. 50, § 26.)

  • § 2532. Applications; form

    (a)(1) An early or absentee voter, or an authorized family member or health care provider acting in the voter's behalf, may apply for an early voter absentee ballot by telephone, in person, or in writing. "Family member" here means a person's spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, spouse's parents, grandparents, and spouse's grandparents. Any other authorized person may apply in writing or in person.

    (2) The application shall be in substantially the following form:

     REQUEST FOR EARLY VOTER ABSENTEE BALLOT

    Name of early or absentee voter: ____________________________________

    Current address: _________________________________________________

    Residence (if different): ___________________________________________

    Date: __________________________________________________________

    If applicant is other than early or absentee voter:

      Name of applicant: ______________________________________________

      Address of applicant: ____________________________________________

      Relationship to early or absentee voter: ______________________________

      Organization, if applicable: _______________________________________

    Date: _____________           Signature of applicant: _____________________

        (3) If the application is made by telephone or in writing, the information supplied must be in substantial conformance with the information requested on this form.

    (b) A person temporarily residing in a foreign country who is eligible to register to vote in this State, or a military service absentee voter who is eligible to register to vote in this State, may apply for early voter absentee ballots in the same manner and within the same time limits that apply for other early or absentee voters. An official federal postcard application shall suffice as a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot, when properly submitted. Any other person also may make a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot.

    Subsection (c) effective until January 1, 2017; see also subsection (c) effective January 1, 2017 set out below.

    (c) If the request is made for a person who is not yet registered and the request is received by the town clerk prior to the voter registration deadline set forth in subsection 2144(a) of this title, the town clerk shall mail a blank application for addition to the checklist, together with a full set of early voter absentee ballots, to that person. All such applications for addition to the checklist that are returned to the town clerk before the close of the polls on election day shall be considered and acted upon by the board of civil authority before the ballots are counted. If the application is approved and the name added to the checklist, the early voter absentee ballots cast by that voter shall be treated as other valid early voter absentee ballots.

    Subsection (c) effective January 1, 2017; see also subsection (c) effective until January 1, 2017 set out above.

    (c) If the request is made for a person who is not yet registered and the request is received by the town clerk prior to the deadline for requesting early voter absentee ballots set forth in section 2531 of this chapter, the town clerk shall mail a blank application for addition to the checklist, together with a full set of early voter absentee ballots, to that person. All such applications for addition to the checklist that are returned to the town clerk before the close of the polls on election day shall be considered and acted upon by the board of civil authority before the ballots are counted. If the application is approved and the name added to the checklist, the early voter absentee ballots cast by that voter shall be treated as other valid early voter absentee ballots.

    (d) An application for an early voter absentee ballot shall be valid for only one election, unless specific request is made by an early or absentee voter that the application be valid for both a primary election, excluding a presidential primary, and the general election next following, as long as both ballots are to be mailed to the same address.

    (e) A person residing in a State institution may apply for early voter absentee ballots in the same manner and within the same time limits that apply for other early or absentee voters.

    (f) The town clerk may, upon application, issue a duplicate early voter absentee ballot if the original ballot is not received by the voter within a reasonable period of time after mailing. The application may be made by a person entitled to apply for an early voter absentee ballot under subsection (a) of this section and shall be accompanied by a sworn statement affirming that the voter has not received the original ballot. If a duplicate early voter absentee ballot is issued and both the duplicate and original early voter absentee ballots are received before the close of the polls on election day, the ballot with the earlier postmark shall be counted.

    (g)(1) Any person who applies for an early voter absentee ballot knowing the person is without authorization from the early or absentee voter shall be fined not more than $100.00 per violation for the first three violations; not more than $500.00 per violation for the fourth through ninth violations; and not more than $1,000.00 per violation for the tenth and subsequent violations.

    (2) The Attorney General or a State's Attorney, whenever he or she has reason to believe any person to be or to have been in violation of this provision, shall conduct a civil investigation in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 2904 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 65; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1985, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 11, 12; 1989, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1993, No. 80, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 4, eff. April 10, 2001; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2007, No. 72, § 2; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 35; 2015, No. 30, § 13, eff. May 26, 2015; 2015, No. 44, § 10, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.)

  • § 2532a. Mobile polling stations

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the secretary of state may authorize a town clerk to establish a mobile polling station at which two or more election officials who are not all members of the same political party shall make absentee ballots available. The town clerk shall notify the public of the mobile polling station three days prior to operation by posting at the town clerk's office and at the mobile polling station site the date and hours that the mobile polling station will operate. The secretary of state shall establish procedures that ensure that:

    (1) prior to distributing a ballot, the election officials shall verify that the voter's name is on the town checklist or will register the individual to vote if he or she is not registered and is qualified to vote in the town. The election officials shall make a list of the names of each voter who has voted at the mobile polling site;

    (2) each voter shall place his or her ballot in an early absentee ballot envelope, seal and sign the certificate, and return the ballot envelope to the election officials;

    (3) upon the closure of the mobile polling place, the election officials shall immediately return the ballot envelopes, list of names, and any unvoted ballots to the town clerk who shall add each voter's name to the list of early or absentee voters and commingle the envelopes with other returned early absentee ballot envelopes in the vault. Ballots that are returned along with a new voter registration form shall be kept in a secure place in the vault until the registration process has been completed and then processed as in this subdivision. (Added 2007, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. July 1, 2009.)

  • § 2533. Notification of invalid application

    If the town clerk finds an application for an early or absentee voter ballot which has been submitted to him or her to be invalid or incomplete, he or she shall immediately notify the person making the application, either personally or by mail, stating the ground on which the same is found to be invalid. The application may be corrected but shall not be valid unless it is returned corrected to the clerk within the time allowed for submitting an original application. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

  • § 2534. List of early or absentee voters

    (a) The Secretary of State shall make accessible for each primary election, presidential primary election, and general election a statewide list of voters who have requested an early voter absentee ballot. The list shall contain the State voter identification number, name, registration address, address the ballot was mailed to, and legislative district of each voter.

    (b) Upon receipt of the valid applications, the town clerk shall update the Secretary of State's statewide list of early or absentee voters by a method approved by the Secretary of State. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 1993, No. 79, § 2; 2001, No. 6, § 5, eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 36, eff. July 1, 2015.)

  • § 2535. Form of early voter absentee ballots and envelopes; federal or military requirements

    (a) Early voter absentee ballots shall be the same as the official ballots to be used at the election.

    (b) If necessary, special ballots may be prepared to conform with minimum federal or military regulations and orders covering the transportation of such ballots, provided that the text is identical in substance, except as to type size, with that appearing on the official ballots.

    (c) Envelopes, including return envelopes, containing early voter absentee ballots may, as circumstances require, be particularly imprinted, stamped, or superscribed with approved identification words or symbols designating the same as "Vermont Official Early or Absentee Voter Ballot" and with such additional words or devices as are necessary to comply with any censorship regulations or rules that may be in effect at the time of mailing. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)

  • § 2536. Furnishing early voter absentee ballot envelopes

    Upon request, the secretary of state shall furnish the envelopes prescribed in sections 2535 and 2542 of this title to town clerks in such numbers as they request. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 66; 2001, No. 6, § 6, eff. April 10, 2001.)

  • § 2537. Early or absentee voting in the town clerk's office

    (a)(1) A voter may, if he or she chooses, apply in person to the town clerk for the early voter absentee ballots and envelopes rather than having them mailed as required by section 2539 of this subchapter.

    (2) In this case, the clerk shall furnish the early voter absentee ballots and envelopes when a valid application has been made.

    (3) The voter may mark his or her ballots, place them in the envelope, sign the certificate, and return the ballots in the envelope containing the certificate to the town clerk or an assistant town clerk without leaving the office of the town clerk, or the voter may take the ballots and return them to the town clerk in the same manner as if the ballots had been received by mail.

    (b) No person, except justices of the peace as provided in section 2538 of this subchapter, may take any ballot from the town clerk on behalf of any other person. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 67; 1993, No. 80, § 2; 2001, No. 6, § 7, eff. April 10, 2001; 2017, No. 50, § 28.)

  • § 2538. Delivery of ballots by justices of the peace

    (a)(1) In the case of persons who are early or absentee voters due to illness or physical disability, ballots shall be delivered in the following manner unless the early or absentee voter has requested pursuant to section 2539 of this title that the early voter absentee ballots be mailed.

    (2) Not later than three days prior to the election, the board of civil authority or, upon request of the board, the town clerk, shall designate in pairs justices of the peace in numbers sufficient to deliver early voter absentee ballots to the applicants for early voter absentee ballots who have stated in their applications that they are unable to vote in person at the polling place due to illness or physical disability but who have not requested in their applications that early voter absentee ballots be mailed to them. No pair shall consist of two justices from the same political party.

    (3) If there shall not be available a sufficient number of justices to make up the required number of pairs, a member of each remaining pair shall be designated by the board, to be selected from lists of registered voters submitted by the chairs of the town committees of political parties, and from among registered voters who in written application to the board state that they are not affiliated with any political party.

    (4) No candidate or spouse, parent, or child of a candidate shall be eligible to perform the duties prescribed by this section unless the candidate involved is not disqualified by section 2456 of this title from serving as an election official. This shall not prevent a candidate for district office from serving as a justice in another district.

    (5) The compensation of justices and voters designated under this subsection shall be fixed by the board of civil authority and shall be paid by the town.

    (b) The town clerk shall divide the list of applicants who have an illness or physical disability into approximately as many equal parts as there are pairs of justices so designated, having regard to the several parts of the town in which the applicants may be found. As soon as early voter absentee ballots are available, the clerk shall deliver to each pair of justices one part of the list, together with early voter absentee ballots and envelopes for each applicant. When justices receive ballots and envelopes prior to election day, they shall receive only the ballots and envelopes they are assigned to deliver on that day.

    (c) Each pair of justices on the days they are assigned to deliver the ballots and envelopes shall call upon each of the early or absentee voters whose name appears on the part of the list furnished to them and shall deliver early voter absentee ballots and envelopes to each early or absentee voter. The early or absentee voter shall then proceed to mark the ballots alone or in the presence of the justices, but without exhibiting them to the justices or to any other person, except that when the early or absentee voter is blind or physically unable to mark his or her ballot, they may be marked by one of the justices in full view of the other. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 68; 1995, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 17, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 83; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 37.)

  • § 2539. Mailing of early voter absentee ballots; voters who are permanently disabled

    (a) Unless the early or absentee voter votes in the town clerk's office, or unless the justices are to deliver the early voter absentee ballots to the early or absentee voter, the town clerk shall provide to the early or absentee voter who comes to the town clerk's office a complete set of early voter absentee ballots or mail a complete set of early voter absentee ballots to each early or absentee voter for whom a valid application has been filed. The early voter absentee ballots shall be mailed forthwith upon the filing of a valid application, or upon the town clerk's receipt of the necessary ballots, whichever is later.

    (b) In the case of persons who are early or absentee voters due to illness or physical disability, if the voter or authorized person requests in his or her application or otherwise that early voter absentee ballots be mailed rather than delivered by justices of the peace, the town clerk shall mail the ballots; otherwise the ballots shall be delivered to such voters by justices of the peace. In the case of all other early or absentee voters, the town clerk shall mail the early voter absentee ballots, unless the voter chooses to apply and vote in person at the town clerk's office.

    (c) Early voter absentee ballots to military or overseas voters shall be sent air mail, first class, postpaid when such service is available, or they may be sent by email when requested by the voter. The town clerk's office shall be open on the 46th day before any election that includes a federal office and the town clerk shall send on or before that day all absentee ballots to any military or overseas voter who requested an early voter absentee ballot on or before that day. On that day the town clerk shall complete any reporting requirements and any other responsibilities regarding the mailing of early voter absentee ballots to military or overseas voters, as directed by the Secretary of State. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 69; 2001, No. 6, § 8, eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 222; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 38.)

  • § 2540. Instructions to be sent with ballots

    (a) The town clerk shall send with all early voter absentee ballots and envelopes printed instructions, which may be included on the envelope, in substantially the following form:

     

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR EARLY OR ABSENTEE VOTERS

     

        1. Mark the ballots.

        2. Seal them in this envelope.

        3. Fill out and sign the certificate on the envelope.

        4. Mail or deliver the sealed envelope containing the ballots to the town clerk of the town where you are a registered voter in time to arrive no later than election day.

        Note: If these ballots have been brought to you personally by two justices of the peace because of your illness or physical disability, just return them to the justices after you have sealed and signed the envelope. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT  TO MARK YOUR BALLOTS IN PRIVATE  - but if you ask for help in filling out the  ballots, they will give it to you.

     

    BE SURE TO FILL OUT AND SIGN THE CERTIFICATE ON THIS ENVELOPE OR YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT!

         (b) In the case of early absentee voting in a primary, the instructions shall also include appropriate instructions prepared by the secretary of state for separating and depositing unvoted ballots in a separate envelope provided and clearly marked for that purpose.

    (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 70; 2001, No. 6, §§ 12(a)-12(c), eff. April 10, 2001.)

  • § 2541. Marking of ballots

    (a) An early or absentee voter to whom ballots, envelopes, and instructions are mailed shall mark the ballots in accordance with the instructions.

    (b) When an early or absentee voter is blind or is physically unable to go to the polls to vote in person or to mark his or her ballots, they may be marked by one of the officers who delivers the ballots, in the presence of the other officer. A person who gives assistance to a voter in the marking or registering of ballots shall not in any way divulge any information regarding the choice of the voter or the manner in which the voter's ballot was cast.

    (c) If an early or absentee voter makes an error in marking a ballot, the voter may return that ballot by mail or in person to the town clerk and receive another ballot, consistent with the provisions of section 2568 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 71; 2001, No. 6, § 9, eff. April 10, 2001; 2017, No. 50, § 30.)

  • § 2542. Signing certificate

    (a) There shall be printed on the face of the envelope provided for use in returning early voter absentee ballots a certificate in substantially the following form:

    "Early or Absentee Voter Ballots of ___________________________"

    (print your name)

          I, ____________________________, solemnly swear or affirm that I am a resident of the town (city) of ________________, State of Vermont, and that I am a legal voter  in this town (city).

                                                                            ___________________________

                                                                                         (your signature)

    (b) The early or absentee voter must sign the certificate on the outside of the envelope in order for the ballot to be valid. When an early or absentee voter is physically unable to sign his or her name, he or she may mark an "X" or take an oath swearing or affirming to the statement on the certificate. The officers who deliver the ballots shall witness the mark or oath and sign their names with a statement attesting to this fact on the envelope. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 72; 1993, No. 80, § 3; 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 28.)

  • § 2543. Return of ballots

    (a) After marking the ballots and signing the certificate on the envelope, the early or absentee voter to whom the same are addressed shall return the ballots to the clerk of the town in which he or she is a voter, in the manner prescribed, except that in the case of a voter to whom ballots are delivered by justices, the ballots shall be returned to the justices calling upon him or her, and they shall deliver them to the town clerk.

    (b) Once an early voter absentee ballot has been returned to the clerk in the envelope with the signed certificate, it shall be stored in a secure place and shall not be returned to the voter for any reason.

    (c) If a ballot includes more than one page, the early or absentee voter need only return the page upon which the voter has marked his or her vote.

    (d)(1) All early voter absentee ballots returned as follows shall be counted:

    (A) by any means, to the town clerk's office before the close of business on the day preceding the election;

    (B) by mail, to the town clerk's office before the close of the polls on the day of the election; and

    (C) by hand delivery to the presiding officer at the voter's polling place.

    (2) An early voter absentee ballot returned in a manner other than those set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not be counted. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 73; 2001, No. 6, § 10, eff. April 10, 2001; 2017, No. 50, § 31.)

  • § 2544. Repealed. 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 120.

  • § 2545. Receipt of marked ballots by town clerk; delivery to election officers

    Upon receipt of the envelope containing the marked ballots of an early or absentee voter, the town clerk shall record the fact on the list of early or absentee voters and safely keep the envelope until election day. During the hours that the polls are open, he or she shall deliver the envelope to the presiding officer in the polling place where the early or absentee voter would have voted if he or she had voted in person. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

  • § 2546. Deposit of early voter absentee ballots in ballot box or vote tabulator

    (a) Not earlier than 30 days before the opening of polls on election day, the town clerk may direct two election officials working together to do all of the following:

    (1) open the outside envelope and sort early voter absentee ballots by ward and district, if necessary;

    (2) determine that the certificate has been properly completed and signed;

    (3) check the name of the early voter off the entrance checklist; and

    (4) place the certificate envelopes into a secure container marked "checked in early voter absentee ballots" to be transported to the polling places on election day.

    (b) The town clerk or presiding officer shall deliver the unopened early voter absentee ballots to the election officials at the place where the entrance checklist is located. Upon the opening of the polls on election day:

    (1) If the ballots are in a container marked "checked in early voter absentee ballots," one election official shall open the certificate envelopes, turn the certificate side face down, and hand the envelope face down to a second election official from a different political party, who shall remove the ballots from the envelopes and deposit them in the ballot box or vote tabulator.

    (2) If the ballots have not been previously checked off the entrance checklist and if two election officials, from different political parties, determine that the certificate on the envelope is properly completed and signed by the early voter, the name of the early voter appears on the checklist, and the early voter is not a first-time voter in the municipality who registered by mail and is marked on the checklist as requiring additional documentation, the election officials shall mark the checklist, open the certificate envelope, turn the certificate side face down, and hand the envelope face down to a third election official who shall remove the ballots from the envelopes and deposit the ballots in the ballot box or vote tabulator.

    (3)(A) If the early voter is a first-time voter who registered by mail or online, two election officials from different political parties shall determine whether the identification required under subdivision 2563(1) of this title has been submitted by the voter. Upon ascertaining that the proper identification has been submitted by the voter, the election officials shall mark the checklist, open the certificate envelope, turn the certificate side face down, and hand the envelope face down to a third election official who shall remove the ballots from the envelopes and deposit the ballot in the ballot box or vote tabulator.

    (B) If the proper identification has not been submitted, the ballot shall be treated as a provisional ballot, as provided in subchapter 6A of this chapter.

    (c) All early voter absentee ballots shall be commingled with the ballots of voters who have voted in person. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 74; 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 29; 2007, No. 54, § 8b; 2009, No. 70 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 39; 2017, No. 50, § 32.)

  • § 2546a. Day preceding election; deposit of early voter absentee ballots in vote tabulator

    (a) Generally. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if a town will be using a vote tabulator for the registering and counting of votes in the upcoming election and will check in early voter absentee ballots in accordance with subsection 2546(a) of this chapter for that election, the board of civil authority may vote to permit elections officials to deposit those early voter absentee ballots into the vote tabulator in accordance with the provisions of this section. This depositing of these ballots shall take place at the town clerk's office on the day preceding the election.

    (b) Notice.

    (1) If a board of civil authority votes to deposit ballots as described in subsection (a) of this section, the town clerk shall post notice that ballots will be so deposited in at least two public places in the municipality and in or near the town clerk's office not less than 30 nor more than 40 days before the election. If a municipality has more than one polling place and the polling places are not all in the same building, the notice shall be posted in at least two public places within each voting district and in or near the town clerk's office.

    (2) In addition, at least five days before the day preceding the election, the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality and on the municipality's website, if the municipality actively updates its website on a regular basis.

    (3) The notice shall include the date and time for the count, inspection, and depositing of the ballots and the location of the town clerk's office.

    (c) Officials. The town clerk and at least two other election officials, from different political parties to the extent practicable, shall be present for the inspection of the sealed certificate envelopes and the processing of the ballots described in this section.

    (d) Count and inspection.

    (1) On the day preceding the election, at least one hour prior to depositing the ballots in the vote tabulator, the town clerk and the election officials shall:

    (A) first open the secure container marked "checked in early voter absentee ballots," count the certificate envelopes containing those ballots, and record the number counted; and

    (B) permit these certificate envelopes to be inspected by members of the public.

    (2) Any early voter absentee ballot that is returned after the expiration of the period for the count and inspection shall be processed on the day of the election in accordance with section 2546 of this subchapter.

    (e) Processing.

    (1) Immediately after the expiration of the period for the count and inspection described in subsection (d) of this section, the town clerk and election officials shall open each certificate envelope containing an early voter absentee ballot that was counted under subdivision (d)(1) of this section and deposit each ballot into a vote tabulator.

    (2) The town clerk and the election officials shall ensure that all procedures for handling ballots are followed to the fullest extent practicable.

    (3) At the end of the processing, the town clerk shall verify that the vote tabulator's memory card is locked in place and shall sign a statement verifying how many early voter absentee ballots were counted by the vote tabulator and that the memory card is so locked. The town clerk shall compare the vote tabulator's number of counted ballots to the original count of those ballots described in subdivision (d)(1) of this section.

    (f) Security. The town clerk shall otherwise comply with all provisions of this title relating to the security of the vote tabulator.

    (g) Election day. On the day of the election, when the vote tabulator is turned on at the polling place, the town clerk shall verify that the number of ballots that the vote tabulator displays as having been counted matches the number that the town clerk verified the tabulator counted on the preceding day.

    (h) Rules. The Secretary of State may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section. (Added 2015, No. 80 (Adj. Sess.), § 7a, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; amended 2017, No. 50, § 33.)

  • § 2547. Defective ballots

    (a) If upon examination by the election officials it shall appear that any of the following defects is present, either the ballot or the unopened certificate envelope shall be marked "defective" and the ballot shall not be counted:

    (1) the early or absentee voter is not legally qualified to vote;

    (2) the early or absentee voter has voted in person;

    (3) the affidavit on the certificate envelope is not completed;

    (4) the certificate is not signed;

    (5) the voted ballot is not in the certificate envelope; or

    (6) in the case of a primary vote, the early or absentee voter has failed to return the unvoted primary ballots.

    (b) Each defective ballot or unopened certificate envelope shall be:

    (1) affixed with a note from the presiding officer indicating the reason it was determined to be defective;

    (2) placed with other such defective ballots in an envelope marked "Defective Ballots - Voter Checked Off Checklist - Do Not Count"; and

    (3) returned in that envelope to the town clerk in the manner prescribed by section 2590 of this title.

    (c) The provisions of this section shall be indicated prominently in the early or absentee voter material prepared by the Secretary of State. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2001, No. 6, § 11, eff. April 10, 2001; 2015, No. 30, § 14, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 34.)

  • § 2548. Voting in person

    (a) Prior to the opening of the polls, the municipal clerk shall provide the election officials of each polling place with a list of the names of all persons who have marked and returned early voter absentee ballots, and these persons shall not thereafter vote in person in the same election.

    (b)(1) A person who in good faith has received early voter absentee ballots for his or her use but has not yet marked them, if he or she is able to vote in person, may cast the early voter absentee ballots as provided above, or may vote in person after returning the complete set of unmarked ballots, together with the envelope intended for their return, to the presiding officer at the time the voter appears to vote in person.

    (2) If a person does not have his or her absentee ballots to return, the person shall be checked off the checklist and permitted to vote only after completing a sworn affidavit that he or she does not have his or her absentee ballots to return.

    (3) The presiding officer shall return the unused early voter absentee ballots and envelope to the town clerk, who shall make a record of their return on the list of early or absentee voters and treat them as replaced ballots, pursuant to section 2568 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001; 2007, No. 54, § 8c; 2017, No. 50, § 35.)

  • § 2549. Use of federal war ballot

    In addition to and supplementing the provisions of this title, the provisions of any federal statute for a federal war ballot and for procedures affecting and facilitating voting by members of the military service of the United States are hereby authorized for use in this state. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2550. Early or absentee voters deemed "present and voting"

    A voter voting by early voter absentee ballot shall be deemed as "present and voting," for purposes of any provision in which the phrase "present and voting" is used in the Vermont statutes annotated or in the acts of the general assembly. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001.)


  • Subchapter 006A: PROVISIONAL VOTING AND VOTER AFFIRMATION
  • § 2555. Provisional ballot envelopes

    The clerk shall deliver to each polling place on the date of the election a sufficient number of provisional ballot envelopes printed with a voter attestation. The attestation shall include:

    (1) A statement informing the applicant of the requirements for voter eligibility set forth in section 2121 of this title and space for the provisional voter to provide the information necessary for the town clerk to determine eligibility, including a place for the applicant to swear or affirm, by checking the appropriate box, that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements set forth in section 2121 of this title and the signature of the provisional voter signed under penalty of perjury. In addition, the attestation shall include the following information:

    (A) The provisional voter's place and date of birth.

    (B) The provisional voter's town of legal residence.

    (C) The provisional voter's street address or a description of the physical location of the applicant's residence. The description must contain sufficient information so that the town clerk can determine whether the applicant is a resident of the town.

    (2) An attestation by the provisional voter that he or she submitted a properly completed voter application form. The attestation shall be signed by the provisional voter under penalty of perjury.

    (3) Space on the application for documentation of the town clerk's action.

    (4) A statement informing the provisional voter: "If you choose to vote by provisional ballot, after the close of the polls, the town clerk will determine whether you meet all eligibility requirements. If the clerk denies your application, he or she will inform you that the application has been denied."  (Added 2003, No. 59, § 30, eff. June 7, 2003; amended 2015, No. 44, § 11, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; 2017, No. 50, § 36.)

  • § 2556. Provisional voting

    (a) If an individual's name does not appear on the checklist and the individual claims to have submitted an application for the checklist and refuses to complete a new application in accordance with subdivision 2563(2) of this chapter, or if the individual's registration application has been rejected and the individual disputes that rejection, the election official shall allow the individual to vote provisionally.

    (b) The provisional voter shall be given a ballot and an envelope with an attestation printed upon it, as described in section 2555 of this title, and shall complete the attestation on the envelope. Upon completion, the provisional voter shall seal the envelope and deposit it in a ballot box marked for the receipt of provisional ballots.

    (c) A provisional voter who makes a false statement in completing the attestation, knowing the statement to be false, shall be subject to the penalties of perjury as provided in 13 V.S.A. chapter 65. (Added 2003, No. 59, § 30, eff. June 7, 2003; amended 2007, No. 54, § 9; 2015, No. 44, § 12, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.)

  • § 2557. Town clerk approval of provisional voter attestation

    (a) The town clerk may make such investigation as he or she deems proper to verify any fact stated in the application. In making the determination whether to accept the provisional voter's attestation, the town clerk shall determine whether the applicant meets all of the registration eligibility requirements. However, the town clerk may not require a provisional voter to complete any form other than that approved under section 2555 of this title; nor may the board of civil authority require all provisional voters or any particular class or group of provisional voters to appear personally before a meeting of the board or routinely or as a matter of policy require provisional voters to submit additional information to verify or otherwise support the information contained in the attestation.

    (b) Within two days after the close of the polls, the town clerk shall inform each provisional voter of his or her action on a provisional voter's attestation. If the clerk rejects a provisional voter, the clerk shall also notify the provisional voter immediately of his or her reasons by first class mail directed to the address given in the application.

    (c) When the town clerk approves a provisional voter's attestation, the town clerk shall note his or her approval in the space provided on the envelope, photocopy the affidavit from all provisional envelopes, place all provisional envelopes with the official return of vote, and send all information to the secretary of state in a manner prescribed by the secretary.

    (d) Upon receipt of the official return of vote that contains provisional envelopes from any town clerk, the secretary shall open all envelopes that were approved by the municipal clerk, deposit the ballot in a ballot box, and count all approved ballots, adding the totals to the statewide count for federal offices. (Added 2003, No. 59, § 30, eff. June 7, 2003.)


  • Subchapter 007: PROCESS OF VOTING
  • § 2561. Hours of voting; extended hours

    (a) At all elections using the Australian ballot system, the polls may open no earlier than 5:00 a.m. and shall open no later than 10:00 a.m. as set by the board of civil authority in each town. The polls in all polling places shall close at 7:00 p.m.

    (b) If at the hour of closing there are any qualified voters at the polling place desiring to vote, who have been unable to do so since appearing there, the polls shall be kept open long enough after the hour of closing to allow those present a reasonable opportunity to vote. A person not present at the hour of closing shall not be entitled to vote, although the polls may not actually be closed when he or she arrives. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 75; 2003, No. 59, § 31; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)

  • § 2562. Presiding officer to assign duties to election officials

    At each polling place, the presiding officer shall assign specific duties to each election official present. Insofar as practical, he or she shall assign election officials to work in pairs, with each pair containing members from different political parties. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2563. Admitting voter

    Before a person may be admitted to vote, he or she shall announce his or her name and, if requested, his or her place of residence in a clear and audible tone of voice, or present his or her name in writing, or otherwise identify himself or herself by appropriate documentation. The election officials attending the entrance of the polling place shall then verify that the person's name appears on the checklist for the polling place.

    (1) If the name does appear, and if no one immediately challenges the person's right to vote on grounds of identity or having previously voted in the same election, the election officials shall repeat the name of the person and:

    (A)(i) If the checklist indicates that the person is a first-time voter in the municipality who registered by mail or online, whose driver's license, nondriver identification number, or last four digits of his or her Social Security number provided by the applicant have not been verified by the Secretary of State, and who has not provided required identification before the opening of the polls, require the person to present any one of the following: a valid photo identification; a copy of a current utility bill; a copy of a current bank statement; or a copy of a government check, paycheck, or any other government document that shows the current name and address of the voter.

    (ii) If the person is unable to produce the required information, the person shall be afforded the opportunity to complete a new application for addition to the checklist in accordance with section 2144 of this title.

    (iii) The election officials shall note upon the checklist a first-time voter in the municipality who has registered by mail and who produces the required information, and place a mark next to the voter's name on the checklist and allow the voter to proceed to the voting booth for the purpose of voting.

    (B) If the voter is not a first-time voter in the municipality, no identification shall be required. The clerk shall place a check next to the voter's name on the checklist and allow the voter to proceed to the voting booth for the purpose of voting.

    (2) If the name does not appear, the person shall be afforded the opportunity to complete an application for addition to the checklist in accordance with section 2144 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 44; 2003, No. 59, § 32; 2015, No. 44, § 13, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; 2017, No. 50, § 37.)

  • § 2564. Challenges

    (a)(1)(A) Each organized political party, each candidate on the ballot not representing an organized political party, and each committee supporting or opposing any public question on the ballot shall have the right to have not more than two representatives for each voting district, in a polling place but outside the guardrail, for the purpose of observing the voting process and challenging the right of any person to vote.

    (B) In no event shall such representatives be permitted to interfere with the orderly conduct of the election, and the presiding officer shall have authority to impose reasonable rules for the preservation of order.

    (C) However, in all cases the representatives shall have the right to hear or see the name of a person seeking to vote, and they shall have the right to make an immediate challenge to a person's right to vote.

    (2) The grounds of challenge of a person whose name appears on the checklist shall be only:

    (A) that he or she is not, in fact, the person whose name appears on the checklist; or

    (B) that he or she has previously voted in the same election.

    (b) If a challenge is issued, the members of the board of civil authority present in the polling place shall immediately convene, informally hear the facts, and decide whether the challenge should be sustained.

    (1) If the board overrules the challenge, the person shall immediately be admitted within the guardrail and permitted to vote.

    (2) If the board sustains the challenge, the person shall not be admitted unless, before the polls close, he or she shall obtain a court order directing that he or she be permitted to vote. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 50, § 38.)

  • § 2565. Delivery of ballots

    As each voter passes through the entrance of the guardrail, an election official or officials shall hand him or her one of each kind of ballot. The election officials shall also answer any questions a voter may ask concerning the process of voting. The presiding officer shall keep the election officials in charge of furnishing ballots to voters supplied with a sufficient number of blank ballots, keeping the remainder of the blank ballots safely secured until needed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 76; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 71.)

  • § 2566. Marking ballots

    On receiving his or her ballots, the voter shall forthwith, and without leaving the polling place or going outside the guardrail, proceed to one of the booths not occupied by any other person and vote by filling in the appropriate square or oval opposite the name of the candidate of his or her choice for each office, or by writing in the name of the candidate of his or her choice in the blank space provided and filling in the square or oval to the right of that blank space. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2015, No. 30, § 15, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 39.)

  • § 2567. Voting systems for voters with disabilities

    (a) [Repealed.]

    (b) All polling places shall possess at least one voting system approved by the Secretary of State equipped for individuals with disabilities, including accessibility for people who are blind and people who have a visual impairment, to vote independently and privately. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2003, No. 59, § 33, eff. Jan. 1, 2006; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 84; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)

  • § 2568. Removing ballots from polling place; replacement, blank, and unused ballots

    (a) Removing ballots from polling place. A person shall not take or remove a ballot from the polling place before the close of the polls.

    (b) Replacement ballots.

    (1) If a voter desires a replacement ballot, he or she may obtain another, not exceeding three in all, upon each time returning to an election official the previous ballot he or she was provided.

    (2) If a ballot is returned to an election official by a voter desiring a replacement ballot, the ballot returned by the voter shall be immediately delivered to the presiding officer or his or her designee, who shall tear it in half and place it in an envelope containing all ballots returned by the voters that is clearly marked "Do Not Count-Replaced Ballots." At the close of the polls, this envelope shall be sealed and delivered to the clerk pursuant to section 2590 of this chapter.

    (c) Unused ballots. Ballots originally delivered to the presiding officer that remain undistributed to the voters shall be preserved and returned to the town clerks, and the clerk shall preserve them in such condition, unless called for by some authority entitled to demand and receive them. After 90 days from the date the election is held, they may be destroyed or distributed by the town clerk for educational purposes or for any other purpose the town clerk deems appropriate. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 50, § 40.)

  • § 2569. Assistance to voter

    (a) A voter who declares to the presiding officer that he or she needs assistance to mark the ballot shall be assisted in the marking or registering of the ballot by a person of the voter's choice or two election officials of different party affiliations.

    (b) A person who gives assistance to a voter in the marking of his or her ballot shall not in any way divulge any information regarding the choice of the voter or the manner in which the voter's ballot was cast. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2003, No. 59, § 34; 2015, No. 30, § 16, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2570. Depositing ballots

    (a) In primary elections, the voter shall first hand any unvoted primary ballots to the appropriate election official, who shall deposit those ballots in a receptacle marked for unvoted primary ballots. The voter shall then deposit the voted ballot in the ballot box or vote tabulator, unless the voter requires assistance in depositing the ballot.

    (b) In all other elections, the voter shall, without displaying the marks thereon and under the supervision of an election official, deposit each ballot into the proper ballot box or in the vote tabulator.

    (c) Except as provided in section 2569 of this title, no election official or other person shall look at the contents of any ballot. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 77; 2015, No. 30, § 17, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 41.)

  • § 2571. Checking voter's name upon leaving

    In towns that have exit checklists, before a voter's ballots are deposited, he or she shall again announce his or her name to the election officials attending the second certified copy of the checklist. A mark shall then be placed next to his or her name upon the checklist, ballots shall be deposited and he or she shall proceed immediately outside the guardrail by the exit and shall not again enter within the guardrail unless he or she is an election official. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 78; 2001, No. 5, § 8.)

  • § 2572. Viewing of the checklist

    (a) A representative of each political party, a candidate on the ballot not represented by a political party, and a representative of each committee supporting or opposing any public question on the ballot shall each have the right to view, no more than two times each, a copy of the checklist upon which the election officials are marking those persons who have voted.

    (b) This viewing shall occur only at times during the election which are convenient for the election officials and is required to be permitted only in instances where the board of civil authority have received a request in writing from the representative or candidate at least 12 hours before the opening of the polls.

    (c) This section shall only apply at polling places which have checklists of eligible voters numbering 500 or less. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2573. No counting before polls close

    In towns that do not use vote tabulators, the ballot boxes shall not be opened nor the ballots counted before the closing of the polls. In towns using vote tabulators, the tabulator counts shall not be viewed or printed before the closing of the polls. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 79; amended 2003, No. 59, § 35; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)


  • Subchapter 008: COUNT AND RETURN OF VOTES
  • § 2581. Closing polls

    When the hours set for voting, including extended hours of voting, have expired, the presiding officer at each polling place shall publicly announce that the polls are closed. He or she shall then insure that all persons who are not election officials are prevented from entering within the guardrail until all votes have been counted and ballots secured as provided in this subchapter. Persons who are not election officials may remain within the polling place but outside the guardrail, or within a designated area in any other room where ballots are being counted, provided that they are able to observe the counting process, but that they do not in any way interfere with the orderly count and return of votes. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 80.)

  • § 2582. Presiding officer to direct count; transporting ballots or checklist

    The presiding officer shall direct the manner in which the votes are counted, subject to the provisions of this title and as provided for in the rules for counting ballots adopted by the secretary of state. Ballots shall be counted at the polling places where they are cast, except where the secretary of state, upon request of the presiding officer, has issued a determination that the ballots should be counted elsewhere, or the checklist should be moved by two elections officials of different parties for the purpose of making a photocopy. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 81; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 30; 2003, No. 59, § 36.)

  • § 2583. Official checklist to be tallied; storage of checklist

    (a)(1) The presiding officer, as soon after the closing of the polls as possible, shall cause both certified checklists to be examined and the number of voters checked as having voted to be tallied. Both tallies shall be recorded by the presiding officer. The presiding officer shall prepare a statement listing any discrepancies between the checklists, including the names involved and other details relating to the discrepancies.

    (2) Unless the board of civil authority votes not to use an exit checklist under section 2507 of this chapter, each checklist shall be identified as either the "entrance" or "exit" checklist, and the exit checklist, together with a statement of discrepancies, shall be sealed and stored with the ballots and tally sheets as provided in section 2590 of this chapter. The entrance checklist shall be safely stored so that the public cannot have access to it for a period of 90 days except under the direct supervision of the town clerk.

    (b) [Repealed.]  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 82; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2003, No. 59, § 37; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 32.)

  • § 2584. Opening of ballot boxes; distribution of ballots

    After the closing of the polls, the presiding officer shall open the ballot boxes and distribute the ballots among the election officials in approximately equal numbers. As nearly as may be, election officials shall work in pairs while counting ballots, each pair consisting of members of different parties. Once ballots are distributed to a pair of election officials, that pair shall retain the same ballots throughout the counting process. If more than one kind of ballot has been used in the election, only one kind at a time shall be distributed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2585. Ballots not to be written upon

    No person shall in any manner, nor for any reason, make any mark upon either the face or reverse side of any ballots, during the counting process. All notations, arithmetic, or other marking shall be done upon separate pieces of scratch paper. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2586. Tally sheets; summary sheets; returns

    The Secretary of State shall design, prepare, and distribute a sufficient supply of the following forms, which may be used in each polling place during the counting process:

    (1) Tally sheets.

    (A) These sheets shall provide a place to identify the office or question for which the ballots are being counted, the name of each candidate for that office, and the signature of the pair of election officials actually counting the ballots.

    (B) Votes for each candidate or question shall be recorded on the tally sheets by means of "tick" marks or some other convenient system, and the total shall then be written on the tally sheet.

    (C) Blank votes (undervotes) and overvotes shall be indicated.

    (D) In towns that count ballots by hand, all votes must be accounted for on the tally sheets.

    (2) Summary sheets. These sheets shall be used to record the totals shown on all tally sheets in the polling place for each office or public question, and the sum of such totals. They shall provide a place to identify the office or public question, the candidates, and the signatures of the presiding officer and at least one other election official.

    (3) Return. The return shall be prepared in duplicate and used to make the official report from each polling place of the grand totals of all votes cast in the polling place. It shall identify the polling place, and each candidate or question receiving votes, and shall be signed by the presiding officer and at least one other election official. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2017, No. 50, § 42.)

  • § 2587. Rules for counting votes

    (a)(1) In counting votes, election officials shall attempt to ascertain the intent of the voter as expressed by markings on the ballot and in a manner that is consistent with guidance that shall be adopted by rule by the Secretary of State.

    (2) If it is impossible to determine the intent of the voter for any office or public question, the vote shall be counted as a blank or overvote, as the case may be, for that office or question; but that determination shall not control any other office or question appearing on the ballot for which the voter's intent can be determined.

    (3) If they have any doubt about the intent of the voter or any other question about a vote, the election officials counting the vote shall bring it to the presiding officer, who shall present the question of how to treat the vote to the assembled election officials. The decision of how to treat the vote shall be made by majority vote of the election officials who are present.

    (b) If the voter marks more names than there are persons to be elected to an office, or marks contradictory sides on any public question, overvotes equal to the number of candidates to be elected to the office must be recorded on the tally sheet for that office or question.

    (c)(1) A write-in vote for a candidate whose name is preprinted on the ballot shall be counted as a vote for that candidate.

    (2) A person who receives more than one vote for the same office on any ballot shall be entitled to one vote, and one vote only.

    (d) If the board of civil authority decides by majority vote of those present that any markings on a ballot were made for the purpose of enabling it to be identified and the vote traced, so as to defeat the secrecy of the ballot:

    (1) that ballot shall be:

    (A) rejected;

    (B) marked defective and affixed with a note from the presiding officer as to why it was marked defective; and

    (C) placed in the defective ballot envelope in accordance with subsection 2547(b) of this chapter; and

    (2) the election officials may edit the vote tabulator totals reported on the vote tabulator tape, as necessary.

    (e)(1) In the case of "write-in" votes, the act of writing in the name of a candidate, or pasting a label containing a candidate's name upon the ballot, without other indications of the voter's intent, shall constitute a vote for that candidate, even though the voter did not fill in the square or oval after the name.

    (2) The election officials counting ballots and tallying results shall list every person who receives a "write-in" vote and the number of votes received.

    (A) On each tally sheet, the counters shall add together the names of candidates that are clearly the same person, even though a nickname or last name is used.

    (B) Names of fictitious or deceased persons shall not be listed and shall be recorded on the tally sheet as a blank vote.

    (f) When the same number of persons are nominated for the position of justice of the peace as there are positions to be filled, the presiding officer may declare the whole slate of candidates elected without making individual tallies, providing each person on the slate has more votes than the largest number of write-in votes for any one candidate. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 83-85; 2003, No. 59, § 38; 2015, No. 30, § 17a, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 43.)

  • § 2588. Filing returns

    For any primary or general election:

    (1)(A) In towns that count all ballots by hand, as the count of votes for each office or public question is completed, the presiding officer and at least one other election official shall collect the tally sheets, enter the totals shown on the tally sheets upon the summary sheets, add and enter the sum of the figures, and sign the summary sheets.

    (B) As each summary sheet is completed, the presiding officer shall publicly announce the results.

    (2)(A) In towns that use vote tabulators, after the close of the polls and after all remaining absentee or transfer ballots have been fed into the vote tabulator, the presiding officer shall insert the ender card and the tabulator will print a tape of unofficial results. The presiding officer shall print at least one additional copy of the tabulator tape.

    (B) The unofficial results from the tape may be publicly announced, and one copy of the printed tape may be posted in the polling place upon a placard that clearly states: "Unofficial incomplete results."

    (3) The town clerk shall report as soon as practicable on the day of the election the unofficial vote counts of all candidates whose names appeared on the ballot to the Secretary of State. The report shall be made by electronically submitting the vote counts on the Secretary's online elections reporting system or, if unable to submit electronically, by submitting those vote counts to the Secretary of State by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail.

    (4) The Secretary shall ensure that any vote counts submitted by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail are entered into his or her online elections reporting system as soon as practicable after he or she receives them.

    (5) The Secretary's online elections reporting system shall cause the unofficial vote counts to be posted immediately on the Secretary's official website as soon as those vote counts are submitted.

    (6)(A) The presiding officer and one other election official then shall proceed either to complete the return at once, or to store the summary sheets in a safe and secure place until their retrieval for completion of the return. In any event, not later than 48 hours after the polls close, the presiding officer and at least one other election official shall transfer the totals from the summary sheets to the proper spaces on the return, and both shall sign the return.

    (B) The town clerk shall store the summary sheets safely so that the public cannot reasonably have access to them for a period of 90 days without the town clerk's consent.

    (C) The original of the return shall be delivered to the town clerk. In a manner prescribed by the Secretary of State and within 48 hours of the close of the polls, the town clerk shall deliver to the Secretary of State, the senatorial district clerk, the county clerk, and the representative district clerk one certified copy each of the return. The town clerk shall also make a copy available to the public upon request. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 86; 2003, No. 59, § 39; 2009, No. 40, § 2; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 40; 2015, No. 30, § 18, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 44.)

  • § 2589. Identifying ballots

    When each kind of ballot has been completely counted, each pair of election officials shall securely bind the ballots they have counted and one copy of each tally sheet they have prepared with string or rubber bands and shall, on a separate piece of paper, indicate the number of ballots in the package and the identity of the election officials who counted them, as: "100 ballots counted by John Doe and Mary Smith."  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2590. Securing and storing ballots, tally sheets, and checklists

    (a)(1) The following shall not be placed in a sealed container, but shall be delivered to the town clerk along with the sealed containers:

    (A) ballots that were never distributed to voters;

    (B) any vote tabulator memory card; and

    (C) the original entrance checklist.

    (2) The presiding officer shall collect and deliver to the town clerk, securely sealed in the containers described in subsection (c) of this section, the following:

    (A) packages of voted ballots;

    (B) envelopes containing ballots that have been replaced;

    (C) envelopes containing defective ballots;

    (D) the exit checklist, if present;

    (E) tally sheets; and

    (F) other election material.

    (3) A copy of the entrance checklist shall be placed in the outside pocket of the sealed container or otherwise stored along with but outside the sealed container for delivery to the court in the event of a recount.

    (4) If the material collected from one polling place is sealed in more than one container, the presiding officer shall ensure that there shall be attached to the container in which the exit checklist is located, a tag stating that the checklist is in that container.

    (5) The form of the seal shall be designated and furnished by the Secretary of State in sufficient quantities to each town clerk. The Secretary of State shall require that all seals be safely kept and fully accounted for.

    (b) The Secretary of State shall furnish to all town clerks sufficient quantities of uniform-style containers. The Secretary shall establish a method by which the outside of each container shall indicate the contents of the container, the town to which it belongs, and such other pertinent information as may be required.

    (c)(1) The town clerk shall safely store the sealed containers and shall not permit them to be removed from his or her custody or tampered with in any way.

    (2)(A) In the event that a container breaks, splits, or opens through handling, or in the event the original entrance checklist or a vote tabulator memory card was inadvertently sealed in a container, the town clerk shall notify the Secretary of State in writing, and the Secretary shall order the town clerk in the presence of two other town election officials who are not members of the same political party to open the bag to remove the entrance checklist or vote tabulator memory card or to move the entire contents to new containers, affix new seals, and transmit the new seal numbers.

    (B) Containers shall not be removed or tampered with in any other way, except under court order, or by order of any authorized committee of the General Assembly.

    (C) If necessary for safe storage of the containers, the town clerk may store them in a bank vault or other secure place, within or outside the town, provided that access to them cannot reasonably be had without the town clerk's consent.

    (d) Except as otherwise provided by federal law, all ballots and tally sheets shall be retained for a period of 90 days from the date of the election, after which time they may be destroyed; provided, however, that if a court order is entered prior to the expiration of the 90-day period, ordering some different disposition of the ballots, the town clerk shall abide by such order.

    (e) After the sealed containers are opened as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the town clerk shall file a copy of the entrance or exit checklist and preserve it, together with a statement of discrepancies, as a public record. The checklist shall be retained for a period of at least five years from the date of the election and shall be made available at cost to the public upon request. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 87; 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(a); 2007, No. 54, § 10; 2017, No. 50, § 45.)

  • § 2591. Return not received

    If any canvassing committee does not receive in due time any return required to be forwarded to it, it shall notify the clerk of the town from which the return is lacking, who shall forthwith make another certified copy of the record in his or her office of the lacking return and transmit the same to the committee. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2592. Canvassing committees; canvass of votes in general or special elections

    (a) For all State and national offices and statewide public questions, the Secretary of State and the chair of the State committee of each major political party (or designee) shall constitute a canvassing committee to receive and tally returns and issue certificates.

    (b) For all county offices and countywide public questions, the county clerk and the chair of the county committee of each major political party (or designee) shall constitute a canvassing committee to receive and tally returns and issue certificates.

    (c) For State Senator, the senatorial district clerk and the chair of the county committee of each major political party (or designee) in the county for which the senatorial district clerk is clerk shall constitute a canvassing committee to receive and tally returns and issue certificates.

    (d) For State Representative, the representative district clerk and one other election official from the district shall serve as a canvassing committee to receive and, if necessary, tally returns and issue certificates.

    (e) In the case of the canvassing committees in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, if there is no party organization or party chair in the county, the State committee chair may designate a person to serve on the appropriate canvassing committee.

    (f) In the case of primary elections, the canvass of votes shall be made as provided in subchapter 1 of chapter 49 of this title.

    (g) In the case of general or special elections, each canvassing committee shall meet at 10:00 a.m. one week after the day of the election and proceed to canvass the votes as provided in subsections (h) through (m) of this section. The canvassing committee may recess from time to time until it has completed its work.

    (h)(1) The canvassing committee shall declare the person receiving the largest number of votes for each office to be elected, and it shall issue a certificate of election, signed by a majority of the canvassing committee, in substantially the following form:

    State of Vermont              )

        ) s.s.

    ................ County            )

    At  ...................., on the  ............ day of  .................... 20   .........., a canvassing committee appointed by law completed a canvass of the returns cast at a general election held on the  ................ day of ...................., 20  ........ for the office of  ..................... The committee hereby certifies that  .................... of .................... was duly elected to the office by the voters present and voting.

     ............

    ............

    (2) The committee shall send or deliver the certificate to the candidate elected. In the case of Representatives to the General Assembly, the committee shall also send or deliver a copy of each certificate to the Secretary of State.

    (i) In the case of justices of the peace, the town clerk shall send or deliver a certificate signed by the town clerk and one other election official to each candidate elected. The Secretary of State shall provide certificate forms for this purpose. The town clerk shall also file with the Secretary of State a list of the names and addresses of justices of the peace and shall notify the Secretary of State of any changes in the list as filed.

    (j) The certificate shall be a sufficient credential of such person's election, unless superseded by a court order as provided by subchapter 9 of this chapter.

    (k)(1) In the case of the State offices, the canvassing committee shall prepare a certificate of election but shall not sign it.

    (2) The prepared certificate shall be presented to the official canvassing committee appointed by the General Assembly, pursuant to Chapter II, § 47 of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, for their use if they desire.

    (l)(1) In the case of a tie vote, the canvassing committee shall forthwith petition the appropriate Superior Court for a recount pursuant to section 2602 of this title.

    (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, either of the candidates that is involved in a tie may notify the appropriate Superior Court that he or she is withdrawing, in which case the court shall certify the other candidate as the winner.

    (m) Each canvassing committee shall file a report of its findings with the Secretary of State, who shall preserve the reports as permanent records. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 88; 2003, No. 59, § 40; 2017, No. 50, § 46.)

  • § 2593. Participation to be entered on statewide checklist by town clerk

    Not later than 60 days after an annual town meeting, primary election, presidential primary, or general election, the town clerk shall indicate on the town checklist of the statewide checklist each voter's participation, participation method, and political party of ballot taken, if applicable, in that election by a method approved by the Secretary of State. (Added 2007, No. 54, § 11; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 41, eff. July 1, 2015; 2015, No. 30, § 19.)


  • Subchapter 009: RECOUNTS AND CONTEST OF ELECTIONS
  • § 2601. Recount threshold

    (a)(1) In an election for statewide office, county office, or State Senator, if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate and the number of votes cast for a losing candidate is two percent or less of the total votes cast for all the candidates for an office, divided by the number of persons to be elected, that losing candidate shall have the right to have the votes for that office recounted.

    (2) In an election for State Representative, if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate and the number of votes cast for a losing candidate is five percent or less of the total votes cast for all the candidates for an office, divided by the number of persons to be elected, that losing candidate shall have the right to have the votes for that office recounted.

    (b) In the case of a recount for a local election, the threshold and procedures for conducting the recount shall be as provided in chapter 55, subchapter 3 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 89; 2009, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 10, 2010; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602. Petitions for recounts; setting date of recount

    (a) [Repealed.]

    (b) In the case of recounts described in subsection 2601(a) of this subchapter, the following procedure shall apply.

    (1) A petition for a recount shall be filed within seven calendar days after the election.

    (2) The petition shall be filed with:

    (A) the Civil Division of the Superior Court, Washington County, in the case of candidates for State or congressional office, or for a presidential election; or

    (B) the Superior Court in any county in which votes were cast for the office to be recounted, in the case of any other office.

    (3) The petition shall be supported, if possible, by a certified copy of the certificate of election prepared by the canvassing committee, verifying the total number of votes cast and the number of votes cast for each candidate.

    (c)(1) The Superior Court shall:

    (A) set the date of the recount to be:

    (i) five business days after the Court receives the petition, in the case of a primary recount; or

    (ii) 10 business days after the Court receives the petition, in the case of a general election recount; and

    (B) notify all candidates of the recount date no later than the next business day after the petition is received.

    (2)(A) The Superior Court shall forward a copy of the petition to the county clerk.

    (B) The Court shall order the town clerk or clerks having custody of the ballots to be recounted or their designees to transport the ballots and a copy of the entrance checklist from the election to be recounted to the county clerks of their respective counties before the day set for the recount.

    (C) The county clerk shall store all ballots, still in their sealed containers, in his or her vault until the day of the recount.

    (d)-(i) [Repealed.]  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 90-93; 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 4; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2007, No. 54, § 13; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 140; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602a. Appointment of recount committee

    (a)(1) Upon receipt of a petition, the county clerk shall notify all candidates for the office that is the subject of the recount, advising them to each submit immediately a list of a minimum of 10 nominees for individuals to serve on a recount committee.

    (2)(A) If a list of nominees is not delivered to the county clerk within two business days, the clerk shall notify the appropriate candidates that they have 24 hours to submit lists of nominees for individuals to serve on the recount committee.

    (B) If the petitioning candidate fails to submit a complete list of nominees by this deadline, the recount shall not move forward.

    (C) If any other candidate fails to submit a complete list of nominees, the county clerk shall request additional nominees from the other candidates.

    (b)(1) The Superior Court shall make a minimum of 12 appointments to the recount committee from among those nominated under this section, with the number of appointments based on the number of votes to be recounted and a goal of completing the recount within one day.

    (2) In making these appointments, the court shall appoint an equal number of persons representing each candidate, to the extent practicable. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2009, No. 40, § 3, eff. May 26, 2009; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602b. Assignment of duties; recount materials

    (a)(1) The county clerk, with the support of the Secretary of State, shall supervise the recount and shall recruit town clerks or their designees to serve as impartial assistants to the county clerk for operating the vote tabulators and shall consult with the Secretary of State to identify any vote tabulators to be used.

    (2) The county clerk may appoint a sufficient number of additional impartial assistants to perform tasks that have not been assigned to recount committee members.

    (3) On each day of the recount, the town clerk of any town subject to the recount shall be available to the county clerk in person or by telephone to answer any questions the county clerk may have regarding that town's election.

    (b)(1) The county clerk shall assign committee members to the following teams:

    (A) Counting teams comprising at least four persons each, consisting of an equal number of persons representing each candidate, to the extent possible;

    (B) One vote tabulator team, comprising two persons, each of whom represents a different candidate; and

    (C) One clerk observer team, comprising two persons, one of whom is from the list of the petitioning candidate and one of whom, if possible, is from the list of the winning candidate who received the lowest number of votes.

    (2) Any additional team members shall remain unassigned and shall be used as necessary on the day of the recount.

    (c) The Secretary of State shall provide to the recount committee:

    (1) fresh seals, manila tags, tally sheets, summary sheets for each town, and other material deemed appropriate by the Secretary of State; and

    (2) the official return of votes for each town subject to the recount. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2015, No. 30, § 20, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602c. Preparation for recount; general rules

    (a) Recount area; preserving order.

    (1)(A) The county clerk shall designate an area within which the recount shall take place.

    (B) Persons who are not committee members or who have not been designated as impartial assistants by the county clerk shall be permitted to view the recount in progress, but shall not be permitted within the recount area.

    (2) The county clerk shall preserve order. If a person, after notice, is persistently disorderly and refuses to withdraw from the premises, the county clerk may cause the person to be removed from the premises.

    (b) Preliminary requirements. Before the recount begins and any containers are opened:

    (1) Explaining procedures. The county clerk shall explain the recount procedures that are to be followed and shall answer questions relating to such procedures.

    (2) Blank ballots; vote tabulator test.

    (A) The county clerk shall obtain blank ballots from the town clerks of the towns subject to the recount. These blank ballots shall be used as test ballots to perform the vote tabulator test described in this subdivision (2).

    (B)(i) The vote tabulator team shall perform a test of the vote tabulators that will be used by marking and feeding into each tabulator a minimum of 10 test ballots. The test ballots shall be marked with various votes for each candidate for the office subject to the recount.

    (ii) If more than one memory card is to be used, such a test shall be performed for each memory card.

    (C) If a vote tabulator does not tabulate these votes accurately, it shall not be used.

    (D) Once the test is completed, these ballots and the tabulator tape containing the results of the test shall be sealed in an envelope that shall be dated and marked "TEST BALLOTS-DO NOT COUNT." This envelope shall then be kept separate from the rest of the containers.

    (c) Tables. Each team shall have a separate table and the county clerk shall have a separate table, and all of these tables shall be spaced apart.

    (d) Separating containers, polling places, and towns. Each recount team shall:

    (1) recount the contents of one container before opening another container at its table;

    (2) recount the contents of all the containers relating to one polling place before moving to those of another polling place; and

    (3) complete the recount for one town before moving to material relating to another town.

    (e) Recording containers. For each town, the number of containers shall be counted and recorded on the summary sheet for that town.

    (f) Inspecting containers and seals.

    (1) Containers. Before opening, each container shall be inspected, and if no tag is present, replacement manila tags shall be affixed, specifying date of election and name of town and polling place.

    (2) Seals.

    (A) Each seal shall be inspected to see if it is intact, and the county clerk shall attach to any container with a defective seal a tag stating that the seal was defective and containing the information that was contained on the defective seal.

    (B) If a seal number does not match the seal number reported by the town clerk on the official return of votes, the county clerk shall contact the town clerk to request an explanation for that difference. The county clerk shall record any explanation on the summary sheet for that town.

    (g) Uncounted containers. Uncounted containers shall be kept in one part of the room and moved to the other side as they are counted.

    (h) Checklist container. If there is more than one container from a polling place, the county clerk shall open first the container that is identified as containing the checklist, if applicable.

    (i) Opening containers. The county clerk shall empty the contents of each container onto his or her table in the presence of the clerk observer team.

    (j) Materials not to be distributed. The county clerk shall ensure that teams are not given, and the teams shall not count:

    (1) ballots marked defective or contained in a defective ballot envelope;

    (2) unused ballots that were not distributed to voters; or

    (3) ballots returned by voters who requested replacement ballots, or ballots contained in a replaced ballot envelope.

    (k) Recording defective ballots. In the presence of the clerk observer team, the county clerk shall mark the number of defective ballots from the official return of votes for each town on the summary sheet for that town. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602d. Review of official return of votes; examination of checklist

    (a)(1) The county clerk shall review the official return of votes for each town, record on the summary sheet for each town the number of ballots counted and the number of voters checked off the checklist on the town's return, and if those two numbers are the same, the checklist for that town shall not be examined.

    (2) If those two numbers for a town are not the same, the checklist may be examined in accordance with the following provisions of this section, if requested by one of the candidates subject to the recount.

    (b) The checklist from the first container shall be assigned to a team. Two persons who represent different candidates, each acting independently, shall examine the checklist and determine how many voters voted at the polling place, repeating the process until they agree on a number or until they agree to disagree on a number.

    (c) Then the checklist shall be examined by the remaining members of the team, repeating the process until they agree on a number or they agree to disagree on the number.

    (d) The results obtained from the two subgroups will be compared and if they do not match, the process shall be repeated until there is agreement among all the members of the team or until team members agree to disagree.

    (e) The number finally determined by a majority of team members shall be submitted to the county clerk in the presence of the clerk observer team, together with an indication of the nature and extent of any disagreement.

    (f) The county clerk shall note on the summary sheet for the town the number finally determined, together with a note indicating that the number of people appearing as having voted on the checklist was subject to dispute, if one or more team members did not agree with the number submitted. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602e. Sorting ballots; ballot review; recount of removed ballots by hand

    (a) Sorting ballots.

    (1) While the checklist is being examined, if applicable under section 2602d of this subchapter, after emptying a container onto his or her table, the county clerk shall separate ballots from the container into a number of batches equal to the number of counting teams, with each batch being of approximately equal size.

    (2) Each counting team shall take a batch of ballots from the county clerk's table to the counting team's table.

    (3) Two persons who represent different candidates on a counting team shall sort that batch into stacks of 50 ballots, and the remaining members of the team shall recount each stack to ensure that there are 50 ballots in it.

    (4)(A) The counting teams shall combine any ballots not placed into a stack of 50, and one of those counting teams shall separate those combined ballots into stacks of 50 and recount them in accordance with subdivision (3) of this subsection.

    (B) For any final stack that contains fewer than 50 ballots, the county clerk shall affix to the top of that stack a note indicating how many ballots are contained in it.

    (b) Ballot review and removal.

    (1)(A) For each stack, a counting team shall review each ballot within the stack and remove from that stack each ballot upon which, for the office in question, the voter recorded his or her vote or votes in that race in any manner other than completely filling in the oval to the right of a preprinted candidate's name.

    (B) Each counting team shall also remove any plain paper or damaged ballots.

    (2) A ballot shall be removed only if at least two members of the counting team agree to its removal.

    (3) A ballot without markings for the office in question shall not be removed.

    (4) A ballot that is not removed upon this first review shall not be reviewed again.

    (c) Delivery of remaining ballots.

    (1) Each counting team shall then attach to that stack a note indicating the number of ballots remaining in the stack.

    (2) The county clerk shall deliver those remaining ballots to the vote tabulator team.

    (d) Hand count of removed ballots; questionable votes.

    (1) Each counting team shall then separate the removed ballots into stacks of 50 in accordance with the process set forth in subdivision (a)(3) of this section.

    (2) The counting team shall then hand count the votes for the office in question on the removed ballots, and mark the results on a tally sheet for each stack of 50 removed ballots and any remaining stack with less than 50.

    (3)(A) This hand count shall be in accordance with the rules for counting ballots set forth in section 2587 of this chapter, except that if two persons on the counting team do not agree on how to count a vote, the ballot shall be set aside as containing a questionable vote.

    (B)(i) For any questionable vote, a copy of the ballot shall be made, and this copy shall be clearly marked on its face, identifying it as a copy. Once the recount of a container is completed, any such copies shall be placed on the top of the other ballots and shall remain together with the other ballots.

    (ii) Each original ballot with a questionable vote shall be attached to a note that identifies it by town, county, polling place, and container seal number. The originals of these ballots with questionable votes shall be clipped to the summary sheet for that town, along with a copy of the official return of votes, and submitted to the court for a final decision.

    (iii) The county clerk shall record the number of ballots containing questionable votes to be submitted to the court on the summary sheet for the town.

    (C) At the end of the hand count for a container, two persons from each counting team who represent different candidates shall deliver any tally sheets from their table to the county clerk in the presence of the clerk observer team.

    (D) The county clerk, in the presence of the clerk observer team, shall record the totals from each tally sheet onto the summary sheet for the town.

    (e) This process shall be completed for as many containers as there are for each town. (Added 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602f. Recount of remaining ballots by vote tabulator

    (a) The vote tabulator team shall operate any vote tabulator used in the recount, with the assistance of the recruited town clerks or designees.

    (b) The vote tabulator memory card or cards shall be programmed to read only the votes for the election that is the subject of the recount.

    (c)(1) At the same time as any removed ballots are being hand counted, the vote tabulator team shall take any ballots from each container delivered to them and feed them through a vote tabulator.

    (2) The vote tabulator team shall attempt to feed ballots into the vote tabulator in the same direction.

    (3)(A) If the tabulator refuses a ballot, the vote tabulator team shall announce that occurrence and whether the ballot was counted, and may override that refusal.

    (B) If the tabulator continues to refuse the ballot, the vote tabulator team shall announce that occurrence and return it to a counting team for hand counting.

    (4) This process shall be used until all ballots from a container have been tabulated by a vote tabulator or otherwise returned to a counting team for hand counting.

    (d)(1) This process shall be repeated until all ballots from a town have been fed through a vote tabulator.

    (2) If there is more than one container for a town, the tabulator tape shall not be printed until ballots from all containers for that town have been tabulated.

    (e)(1) After all ballots from a town have been tabulated by a vote tabulator, the vote tabulator team shall print the tabulator tape containing the unofficial results for that town, and deliver that tabulator tape to the county clerk in the presence of the clerk observer team.

    (2) The county clerk shall then record the totals from the tabulator tape onto the summary sheet for the town in the same manner that he or she recorded the individual tally sheet totals from the hand-counted ballots. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2015, No. 30, § 22, eff. May 26, 2015; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602g. Repealed. 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 43.

  • § 2602h. Completing the tally

    (a) The county clerk shall return all ballots to their container, seal the container, record the seal number on the summary sheet, and write "recounted" and specify the date of the recount on the tag.

    (b) In the presence of the clerk observer team, the county clerk shall add together the hand count and vote tabulator totals for each town, as recorded on the tally sheets and vote tabulator tape submitted to him or her, record those totals on the summary sheet for that town, and affix his or her seal to that summary sheet.

    (c)(1) The county clerk shall compare the number of ballots recounted for that town with the number of ballots counted at the town as reported on the official return of votes, and with the number of voters who voted at that town according to the checklist examination, as applicable under section 2602d of this subchapter and recorded by the county clerk on the summary sheet in accordance with that section.

    (2) If these numbers differ, the county clerk shall note the amount of the difference on the summary sheets for that town.

    (d) If there is more than one town subject to the recount:

    (1) this process shall be repeated for each town; and

    (2) once all towns have been recounted, the county clerk shall add together the totals from each town and record the total for all towns on a master summary sheet and affix his or her seal to that sheet.

    (e) The county clerk shall send the summary sheets for all towns together with any master summary sheet, the ballots marked defective or contained in a defective ballot envelope, and any original ballots containing questionable votes to the court and obtain a receipt for that delivery. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602i. Costs

    (a) Recount committee members and assistants designated by the county clerk shall be paid by the State at the same per diem and mileage rates and according to the same procedures by which jurors are paid.

    (b)(1) These and other necessary expenses, as approved by the court, shall be paid by the State through the Court Administrator's Office.

    (2) The Secretary of State shall bear the costs of recounts conducted under this subchapter and shall reimburse the Court Administrator's Office. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602j. Court hearing and judgment

    (a) [Repealed.]

    (b) [Repealed.]

    (c) Candidates and their attorneys shall be given the opportunity to present evidence to the court relating to the conduct of the recount, how to count questionable votes, and the marking of any ballot as defective in accordance with section 2547 or subsection 2587(d) of this title.

    (d) On the day of the hearing, the town clerk of any town subject to the recount shall be available in person or by telephone to answer any questions regarding the town's election.

    (e) If the court determines that any violations of recount procedures have occurred and that they may have affected the outcome of the recount, a new recount shall be ordered.

    (f) After such hearings or arguments as may be indicated under the circumstances and after it has made a final decision on any questionable votes or defective ballots, the Superior Court, within five working days, shall:

    (1) issue a judgment, which shall supersede any certificate of election previously issued;

    (2) send a certified copy of the judgment to the Secretary of State; and

    (3) return to the county clerk any ballots containing questionable votes and defective ballots that had been forwarded to the court. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602k. Recount ties

    (a) If the recount results in a tie, the court shall order a runoff election to be held, within three weeks of the recount, on a date set by the court.

    (b) The only candidates who shall appear on the ballot at the runoff election shall be those who tied in the previous election.

    (c) The runoff election shall be considered a separate election for the purpose of voter registration under chapter 43 of this title.

    (d) If the recount confirms a tie as to any public question, a runoff election shall not be held, and the question shall be certified not to have passed.

    (e) Warnings for a runoff election shall be posted as required by subchapter 5 of this chapter, except that the warnings shall be posted not less than 10 days before the runoff election.

    (f) The conduct of a runoff election shall be as provided in this chapter for general elections. (Added 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 42; 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2602l. Repealed. 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 43.

  • § 2602m. Storage and return of election materials

    (a)(1) After the recount, the county clerk shall store the sealed containers and any other recount materials in the county clerk's vault until returned to the towns.

    (2) The county clerk shall release all containers to the respective town clerks after issuance of the court's judgment, together with a copy of the judgment.

    (3) The respective town clerks or their designees shall transport the containers to the towns from which they came.

    (b) Upon receiving from the court any ballots containing questionable votes and defective ballots, the county clerk shall keep them in a sealed container for a period of two years. (Added 2017, No. 50, § 1.)

  • § 2603. Contest of elections

    (a) The result of an election for any office, other than for the general assembly, or public question may be contested by any legal voter entitled to vote on the office or public question to be contested.

    (b) A contest is initiated by filing a complaint with a superior court alleging:

    (1) that errors were committed in the conduct of the election or in count or return of votes, sufficient to change the ultimate result;

    (2) that there was fraud in the electoral process, sufficient to change the ultimate result; or

    (3) that for any other reason, the result of the election is not valid.

    (c) The complaint shall be filed within 15 days after the election in question, or if there is a recount, within 10 days after the court issues its judgment on the recount. In the case of candidates for state or congressional office, for a presidential election, or for a statewide public question, the complaint shall be filed with the civil division of the superior court, Washington County. In the case of any other candidate or public question, the complaint shall be filed with the superior court in any county in which votes were cast for the office or question being challenged.

    (d) The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to contests of elections, except that such cases shall be placed upon a special calendar, and hearings shall be scheduled on a priority basis, as public policy demands that such questions be resolved promptly.

    (e) After hearing, the court shall issue findings of fact and a judgment, which shall supersede any certificate of election previously issued. If the court finds just cause, the court shall grant appropriate relief, which may include, without limitation, ordering a recount, or ordering a new election. If during the hearing the court receives credible evidence of criminal conduct, the court shall order a transcript of all or part of the testimony to be forwarded to the proper state's attorney. If a new election is ordered, the court shall set a date for it, after consulting with the secretary of state; in ordering a new election, the court shall have authority to issue appropriate orders, either to provide for special cases not covered by law, or to supersede provisions of law which may conflict with the needs of the particular situation.

    (f) The court shall send a certified copy of its findings of fact and judgment to the secretary of state. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 94, 95; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 19;  1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 141.)

  • § 2604. Repealed. 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.

  • § 2605. House of Representatives

    (a) A candidate for the office of Representative to the General Assembly in the general election, or any elected town officer in the representative district, or any 25 voters in the representative district may request the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional authority to judge the elections and qualifications of its own members, by filing a written request with the Secretary of State specifying the candidate or candidates whose election is being challenged. The request must be filed not later than the latest of the following:

    (1) 20 days after the date of the election; or

    (2) 10 days after a final court judgment, if there is a recount under section 2602 of this title.

    (b)(1) The Secretary of State shall notify the Attorney General, who shall investigate the facts, take such depositions as may be necessary, prepare an opinion on the law and facts, and send his or her report and opinion to the Clerk of the House at least 10 days before the General Assembly convenes.

    (2) If the Attorney General needs additional time to conduct the investigation or prepare the report and opinion required by this subsection, he or she shall alert the Clerk of the House of that need and the date by which he or she plans to submit the report and opinion. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 96; 2017, No. 50, § 47.)

  • § 2606. Senate

    (a) A candidate for the office of State Senator in the general election or any 100 voters in the senatorial district may request the Senate to exercise its constitutional authority to judge the elections and qualifications of its own members by filing a written request with the Secretary of State specifying the candidate or candidates whose election is being challenged. The request must be filed not later than the latest of the following:

    (1) 20 days after the date of the election; or

    (2) 10 days after a final court judgment, if there is a recount under section 2602 of this title.

    (b)(1) The Secretary of State shall notify the Attorney General, who shall investigate the facts, take such depositions as may be necessary, prepare an opinion on the law and facts, and send his or her report and opinion to the Secretary of the Senate at least 10 days before the General Assembly convenes.

    (2) If the Attorney General needs additional time to conduct the investigation or prepare the report and opinion required by this subsection, he or she shall alert the Secretary of the Senate of that need and the date by which he or she plans to submit the report and opinion. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 97; 2017, No. 50, § 48.)

  • § 2607. Canvassing committee

    The canvassing committee for state and national offices shall meet at 10:00 a.m. one week after the day of election to certify the results of the presidential primary. The chair of each major political party shall be given a copy of the official certificate of votes for the election. (Added 1995, No. 38, § 1.)


  • Subchapter 010: JURISDICTION OF COURTS
  • § 2616. Jurisdiction to prosecute criminal offenses

    The state's attorney in any county in which all or a part of any violation of this title was committed shall have authority to prosecute such violations. The prosecution shall be conducted before the Vermont criminal division of the superior court. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)

  • § 2617. Jurisdiction of superior courts

    In all cases for which no other provision has been made, the superior court shall have general jurisdiction to hear and determine matters relating to elections and to fashion appropriate relief. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)