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The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 055: LOCAL ELECTIONS

  • Subchapter 001: SCOPE
  • § 2630. Applicability

    Except as otherwise provided, and to the extent that such a construction would be reasonable, the provisions of this title shall apply to this chapter. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2631. Municipal charter

    Unless otherwise provided by law, when the charter of a municipality provides for procedures other than those established by law, the provisions of that charter shall prevail. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2005, No. M-13 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)


  • Subchapter 002: TOWN MEETINGS AND LOCAL ELECTIONS IN GENERAL
  • § 2640. Annual meetings

    (a) A meeting of the legal voters of each town shall be held annually on the first Tuesday of March for the election of officers and the transaction of other business, and it may be adjourned to another date. When a municipality fails to hold an annual meeting, a warning for a subsequent meeting shall be issued immediately, and at that meeting all the officers required by law may be elected and its business transacted.

    (b) When a town so votes, it may thereafter start its annual meeting on any of the three days immediately preceding the first Tuesday in March at such time as it elects and may transact at that time any business not involving voting by Australian ballot or voting required by law to be by ballot and to be held on the first Tuesday in March. A meeting so started shall be adjourned until the first Tuesday in March.

    (c) Notwithstanding section 2508 of this title, public discussion of ballot issues and all other issues appearing in the warning, other than election of candidates, shall be permitted on that day at the annual meeting, regardless of the location of the polling place. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 26, 1992; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)

  • § 2640a. Representative annual meetings

    (a) A municipality with a population of 5,000 or greater may vote at a special or annual town meeting to establish a representative form of annual or special meeting.

    (b)(1) A representative form of annual or special meeting is a meeting of members elected by district to exercise the powers vested in the voters of the town to act upon articles. However, the election of officers, public questions, and all articles to be voted upon by Australian ballot as required by law or as voted under section 2680 of this title at a prior annual or special meeting, and reconsideration of articles under section 2661 of this title shall remain vested in the voters of the town.

    (2) An organizational resolution to adopt a representative form of annual or special meeting may be made by the legislative body of the municipality or by petition of five percent of the voters of the municipality. An official copy of the organizational resolution shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the municipality at least 10 days before the annual or special meeting at which the vote whether to adopt the organizational resolution shall take place, and copies thereof shall be made available to members of the public upon request.

    (3) An organizational resolution shall include the following:

    (A) a certain number of elected members, a range of elected members, or a ratio of elected members to the number of voters. However, in no case shall the number of elected members be less than 100;

    (B) a certain number of districts and the boundaries of those districts;

    (C) who shall be ex officio voting members, if any, of the meeting;

    (D) the procedure for conducting the representative meeting;

    (E) specific action, if any, to be taken at the representative meeting; and

    (F) a procedure whereby the voters of the municipality may reconsider any action taken at a representative meeting.

    (c) The form of the question of whether to establish a representative form of annual or special meeting shall be substantially as follows: "Shall the name of municipality] adopt the representative form of annual or special meeting as set forth in the organizational resolution?"

    (d) A vote establishing a representative form of annual or special meeting shall remain in effect until the municipality votes to discontinue or establish a new representative form of annual or special meeting at an annual or special meeting duly warned for that purpose. (Added 2009, No. 125 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2641. Warning and notice required; publication of warnings

    (a) The legislative body of a municipality shall warn a meeting by posting a warning and notice 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 meeting. If a municipality has more than one polling place and the polling places are not all in the same building, 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.

    (b) In addition, the warning shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least five days before the meeting, unless the warning is published in the town report and distributed as provided in 24 V.S.A. § 1682. The legislative body annually shall designate the paper in which such a warning may be published. The warning shall also be posted on the municipality's website, if the municipality actively updates its website on a regular basis.

    (c) No such warning shall be required for municipal informational meetings at which no voting is to take place. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 98; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1999, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 85, eff. May 24, 2000; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 66.)

  • § 2642. Warning and notice contents

    (a)(1) The warning shall include the date and time of the election, location of the polling place or places, and the nature of the meeting or election.

    (2) It shall, by separate articles, specifically indicate the business to be transacted, to include the offices and the questions to be voted upon.

    (3)(A) The warning shall also contain any article or articles requested by a petition signed by at least five percent of the voters of the municipality and filed with the municipal clerk not less than 47 days before the day of the meeting.

    (B) The clerk receiving the petitions shall immediately proceed to examine them to ascertain whether they contain the required number of signatures of registered voters set forth in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (3). If found not to conform, he or she shall state in writing on the petition why it cannot be accepted, and within 24 hours from receipt, he or she shall return it to the petitioners. In this case, supplementary petitions may be filed not later than 48 hours after the petition was returned to the petitioners by the clerk or the filing deadline set forth in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (3), whichever is later. However, supplementary petitions shall not be accepted if petitions with signatures of different persons totaling at least the number specified in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (3) were not filed by the filing deadline.

    (C) A petition submitted under this subdivision (3):

    (i) may include more than one proposed article;

    (ii) shall contain the petition language on each page on which signatures are collected; and

    (iii) shall include the printed name, signature, and street address of each voter who signed the petition.

    (D) A voter may withdraw his or her name from a petitioned article at any time prior to the signing of the warning by a majority of the legislative body.

    (b) The posted notice that accompanies the warning shall include information on voter registration, information on early or absentee voting where applicable, and other appropriate information. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 99; 2001, No. 6, § 12(c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 46; 2015, No. 30, § 23, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2643. Special meetings

    (a) The legislative body may warn a special municipal meeting when it deems it necessary and shall call a special meeting on the application of five percent of the voters. A special meeting shall be warned within 60 days of receipt of the application by the municipal clerk. A voter may withdraw his or her name from a petition for a special meeting at any time prior to the signing of the warning by a majority of the legislative body.

    (b) [Repealed.]

    (c) The legislative body may rescind the call of a special meeting called by them but not a special meeting called on application of five percent of the voters. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 47; 2015, No. 30, § 24, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2644. Warnings

    The original warning for each municipal meeting shall be signed by a majority of the legislative body and shall be filed with the clerk and recorded before being posted. When all positions on the legislative body are vacant, warnings may be signed by the clerk. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2645. Charters, amendment, procedure

    (a) A municipality may propose to the general assembly to amend its charter by majority vote of the legal voters of the municipality present and voting at any annual or special meeting warned for that purpose in accordance with the following procedure:

    (1) A proposal to adopt, repeal, or amend a municipal charter may be made by the legislative body of the municipality or by petition of five percent of the voters of the municipality.

    (2) An official copy of the proposed charter amendments shall be filed as a public record in the office of the clerk of the municipality at least 10 days before the first public hearing and copies thereof shall be made available to members of the public upon request.

    (3) The legislative body of the municipality shall hold at least two public hearings prior to the vote on the proposed charter amendments. The first public hearing shall be held at least 30 days before the annual or special meeting.

    (4) If the proposals to amend the charter are made by the legislative body, the legislative body may revise the amendments as a result of suggestions and recommendations made at a public hearing, but in no event shall such revisions be made less than 20 days before the date of the meeting. If revisions are made, the legislative body shall post a notice of these revisions in the same places as the warning for the meeting not less than 20 days before the date of the meeting and shall attach such revisions to the official copy kept on file for public inspection in the office of the clerk of the municipality.

    (5) If the proposals to amend the charter are made by petition, the second public hearing shall be held no later than 10 days after the first public hearing. The legislative body shall not have the authority to revise proposals to amend the charter made by petition. After the warning and hearing requirements of this section are satisfied, proposals by petition shall be submitted to the voters at the next annual meeting, primary, or general election in the form in which they were filed, except that the legislative body may make technical corrections.

    (6) Notice of the public hearings and of the annual or special meeting shall be given in the same way and time as for annual meetings of the municipality. Such notice shall specify the sections to be amended, setting out sections to be amended in the amended form, with deleted matter in brackets and new matter underlined or in italics. If the legislative body of the municipality determines that the proposed charter amendments are too long or unwieldy to set out in amended form, the notice shall include a concise summary of the proposed charter amendments and shall state that an official copy of the proposed charter amendments is on file for public inspection in the office of the clerk of the municipality and that copies thereof shall be made available to members of the public upon request.

    (7) Voting on charter amendments shall be by Australian ballot. The ballot shall show each section to be amended in the amended form, with deleted matter in brackets and new matter underlined or in italics and shall permit the voter to vote on each proposal of amendment separately. If the legislative body determines that the proposed charter amendments are too long or unwieldy to be shown in the amended form, an official copy of the proposed charter amendments shall be maintained conspicuously in each ballot booth for inspection by the voters during the balloting and voters shall be permitted to vote upon the charter amendments in their entirety in the form of a yes or no proposition.

    (b) The clerk of the municipality, under the direction of the legislative body, shall announce and post the results of the vote immediately after the vote is counted. The clerk, within 10 days after the day of the election, shall certify to the secretary of state each proposal of amendment showing the facts as to its origin and the procedure followed.

    (c) The secretary of state shall file the certificate and deliver copies of it to the attorney general and clerk of the house of representatives, the secretary of the senate, and the chairman of the committees concerned with municipal charters of both houses of the general assembly.

    (d) The amendment shall become effective upon affirmative enactment of the proposal, either as proposed or as amended by the general assembly. A proposal for a charter amendment may be enacted by reference to the amendment as approved by the voters of the municipality. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 100; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. May 4, 1982; 1983, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.); 1987, No. 63.)

  • § 2646. Town officers; qualification; election

    At the annual meeting, a town shall choose from among its registered voters the following town officers, who shall serve until the next annual meeting and until successors are chosen, unless otherwise provided by law:

    (1) A moderator.

    (2) A town clerk for a term of one year unless a town votes that a town clerk shall be elected for a term of three years. When a town votes for a three-year term for the office of town clerk, that three-year term shall remain in effect until the town rescinds it by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (3) A town treasurer for a term of one year unless a town votes that a town treasurer shall be elected for a term of three years. When a town votes for a three-year term for the office of town treasurer, that three-year term shall remain in effect until the town rescinds it by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (4) One selectboard member for a term of three years who shall be elected by ballot.

    (5) One lister for a term of three years who shall be elected by ballot, unless the town has voted to eliminate the office of lister in accordance with the provisions of section 2651c of this chapter.

    (6) One auditor for the term of three years who shall be elected by ballot, unless the town has voted to eliminate the office of auditor in accordance with the provisions of section 2651b of this chapter.

    (7) A first constable, and if needed a second constable, unless the town has voted to authorize the selectboard to appoint constables as provided in section 2651a of this chapter. The terms of office of the first and second constable elected or appointed shall be for one year unless a town votes that they shall be elected or appointed for terms of two years. When a town votes for a two-year term for the offices of first and second constable, the two-year terms shall remain in effect until the town rescinds them by a majority vote of the legal voters voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (8) Repealed.]

    (9) A collector of delinquent taxes, if the town so votes, for a term of one year unless a town votes that a collector of delinquent taxes shall be elected for a term of three years. When a town votes for a three-year term for the collector of delinquent taxes, that three-year term shall remain in effect until the town rescinds it by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (10) One or more grand jurors.

    (11) A town agent to prosecute and defend suits in which the town or town school district is interested.

    (12) A trustee of public funds if the town so votes.

    (13) A trustee of public money, but only in towns that retain possession of a portion of the surplus funds of the United States received under the Act of 1836.

    (14) A cemetery commissioner if the town so votes.

    (15) One or more patrol officers to patrol town highways under the direction of the selectboard, if the town so votes.

    (16) One or two road commissioners who shall be elected by ballot if the town so votes; otherwise they shall be appointed by the selectboard as provided in section 2651 of this chapter. The road commissioners shall be elected for a term of one year unless a town votes that the commissioners shall be elected for a term of two or three years. When a town votes for a two-year or three-year term for the office of road commissioner, that two-year or three-year term shall remain in effect until the town rescinds it by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (17) Three water commissioners unless the town votes to elect additional selectboard members, in which case the number of water commissioners shall, at the discretion of the selectboard members, be the same as the number of members that comprise the selectboard. The commissioners shall be elected by ballot if the town so votes; otherwise they shall be appointed by the selectboard as provided in section 2651 of this chapter.

    (18) Five members of an advisory budget committee, if the town so votes, unless the town votes to elect additional advisory budget committee members. The advisory budget committee members shall be elected by ballot, unless the town votes to have those members appointed by the selectboard. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1983, No. 218 (Adj. Sess.); 1991, No. 177 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 22, § 1; 1999, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2001, No. 3, § 1; 2013, No. 21, § 1; 2013, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 48; 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)

  • § 2647. Incompatible offices

    (a)(1) An auditor shall not be town clerk, town treasurer, selectboard member, first constable, collector of current or delinquent taxes, trustee of public funds, town manager, road commissioner, water commissioner, sewage system commissioner, sewage disposal commissioner, cemetery commissioner, or town district school director; nor shall a spouse of or any person assisting any of these officers in the discharge of official duties be eligible to hold office as auditor.

    (2) A selectboard member or school director shall not be first constable, collector of taxes, town treasurer, auditor, or town agent. A selectboard member shall not be lister or assessor.

    (3) A cemetery commissioner shall not be town treasurer.

    (4) A town manager shall not hold any elective office in the town or town school district.

    (5) Election officers at local elections shall be disqualified as provided in section 2456 of this title.

    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, if a school district prepares and reports its budget independently from the budget of the town and the school district is audited by an independent public accountant, a person shall be eligible to hold office as auditor even if that person's spouse holds office as a school director. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1993, No. 91, § 2; 2009, No. 44, § 5, eff. May 21, 2009; 2013, No. 21, § 2; 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)

  • § 2648. Exceptions

    Section 2647 of this title shall not apply to towns having not more than 25 legal voters, but in these towns an auditor shall not audit his or her own accounts kept and rendered in some other official capacity, nor shall the husband or wife of any town official audit his or her spouse's official accounts. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2649. Number of officers

    (a)(1) Each town shall have:

    (A) three selectboard members, unless additional selectboard members are elected under the provisions of section 2650 of this chapter;

    (B) three listers, unless additional listers are elected under the provisions of section 2650 of this chapter or the town has voted to eliminate the office of lister under the provisions of section 2651c of this chapter; and

    (C) three auditors, unless the town has voted to eliminate the office of auditor under the provisions of section 2651b of this chapter.

    (2) Except as otherwise provided, at each annual meeting, one selectboard member, one lister, and one auditor shall be elected, each for a term of three years.

    (b) A town so voting may elect one or two road commissioners for a term of one, two, or three years, as provided in section 2646 of this chapter.

    (c) A town so voting may elect three water commissioners. The terms of the water commissioners shall be the same as those of selectboard members under sections 2646 and 2650 of this chapter, except that of those commissioners first elected, one shall have a term of one year, one a term of two years, and one a term of three years. One or two additional water commissioners may be authorized for one- or two-year terms as provided in subsection 2650(b) of this chapter relating to additional selectboard members. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2013, No. 21, § 3.)

  • § 2650. Additional selectmen and listers

    (a) A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting to elect not more than two additional listers for terms of one year each.

    (b) A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting to elect not more than two additional selectmen for terms of either one or two years each. When the terms of the additional selectmen are to be for two years, the warning for the meeting shall so specify. If two additional selectmen positions are created, they shall be for terms of the same length, but if the terms of the new positions are to be for two years, when the additional selectmen are first elected, one shall be elected for one year and the other selectman for two years. Terms of these additional selectmen shall end on annual meeting days. If the additional selectmen are elected at a special meeting the term of those elected for one year shall expire on the next annual meeting day and those elected for two years shall expire on the second annual meeting day following their election.

    (c) A vote establishing additional selectmen or listers shall remain in effect until the town votes to discontinue the positions at an annual or special meeting duly warned for that purpose. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2651. Road and water commissioners; appointment, removal

    (a) Unless the town votes to elect road commissioners, the selectmen shall appoint forthwith one or two road commissioners and may remove from office a road commissioner appointed by them, for just cause after due notice and hearing. The selectmen may appoint one or two members of their own board to serve as road commissioners.

    (b) Unless the town votes to elect water commissioners, the selectboard shall appoint forthwith no less than three nor more than five water commissioners, unless there is no existing, or prospective, municipal water system for such commissioners to supervise. The selectboard may remove an appointed water commissioner from office for just cause after due notice and hearing. The selectboard may appoint members of their own board to serve as water commissioners. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 22, § 2.)

  • § 2651a. Constables; appointment; removal

    (a) A town may vote by Australian ballot at an annual meeting to authorize the selectmen to appoint a first constable, and if needed a second constable, in which case at least a first constable shall be appointed. A constable so appointed may be removed by the selectmen for just cause after notice and hearing. When a town votes to authorize the selectmen to appoint constables, the selectmen's authority to make such appointments shall remain in effect until the town rescinds that authority by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting, duly warned for that purpose.

    (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) to the contrary, a vote to authorize the selectmen to appoint constables shall become effective only upon a two-thirds vote of those present and voting, if a written protest against the authorization is filed with the legislative body at least 15 days before the vote by at least five percent of the voters of the municipality. (Added 1991, No. 177 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2651b. Elimination of office of auditor; appointment of public accountant

    (a) A town may vote by ballot at an annual meeting to eliminate the office of town auditor. If a town votes to eliminate the office of town auditor, the selectboard shall contract with a public accountant, licensed in this State, to perform an annual financial audit of all funds of the town except the funds audited pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 323. Unless otherwise provided by law, the selectboard shall provide for all other auditor duties to be performed. A vote to eliminate the office of town auditor shall remain in effect until rescinded by majority vote of the legal voters present and voting, by ballot, at an annual meeting duly warned for that purpose.

    (b) The term of office of any auditor in office on the date a town votes to eliminate that office shall expire on the 45th day after such vote or on the date upon which the selectboard enters into a contract with a public accountant under this section, whichever occurs first.

    (c) The authority to vote to eliminate the office of town auditor as provided in this section shall extend to all towns except those towns that have a charter that specifically provides for the election or appointment of the office of town auditor. (Added 1997, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. July 1, 2013; amended 2013, No. 21, § 3a.)

  • § 2651c. Lack of elected lister; appointment of lister; elimination of office

    (a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary and except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, in the event the board of listers of a municipality falls below a majority and the selectboard is unable to find a person or persons to appoint as a lister or listers under the provisions of 24 V.S.A. § 963, the selectboard may appoint an assessor to perform the duties of a lister as set forth in 32 V.S.A. chapter 121, subchapter 2 until the next annual meeting. The appointed person need not be a resident of the municipality and shall have the same powers and be subject to the same duties and penalties as a duly elected lister for the municipality.

    (b)(1) A town may vote by ballot at an annual meeting to eliminate the office of lister. If a town votes to eliminate the office of lister, the selectboard shall contract with or employ a professionally qualified assessor, who need not be a resident of the town. The assessor shall have the same powers, discharge the same duties, proceed in the discharge thereof in the same manner, and be subject to the same liabilities as are prescribed for listers or the board of listers under the provisions of Title 32.

    (2) A vote to eliminate the office of lister shall remain in effect until rescinded by majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual meeting warned for that purpose.

    (3) The term of office of any lister in office on the date a town votes to eliminate that office shall expire on the 45th day after the vote or on the date upon which the selectboard appoints an assessor under this subsection, whichever occurs first.

    (4) The authority to vote to eliminate the office of lister as provided in this subsection shall extend to all towns except those towns that have a charter that specifically provides for the election or appointment of the office of lister. (Added 2003, No. 125 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 21, § 4.)

  • § 2651d. Collector of delinquent taxes; appointment; removal

    (a) A municipality may vote at an annual or special meeting to authorize the legislative body to appoint a collector of delinquent taxes, who may be the municipal treasurer. A collector of delinquent taxes so appointed may be removed by the legislative body for just cause after notice and hearing.

    (b) When a municipality votes to authorize the legislative body to appoint a collector of delinquent taxes, the legislative body's authority to make such appointment shall remain in effect until the municipality rescinds that authority by the majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at an annual or special meeting, duly warned for that purpose. (Added 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)

  • § 2652. Road and water commissioners

    The board of selectmen may and, when requested by at least five percent of the legal voters of a town at least 40 days prior to the annual town meeting, they shall insert in the warning for the annual town meeting an article on the question of whether or not the town shall elect a road commissioner or commissioners, or water commissioners, as provided in section 2651 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2653. Acceptance of office

    A person present at the meeting electing him or her to municipal office shall be treated as accepting, unless he or she declines before the meeting is adjourned. When not present, he or she shall be served as soon as possible with a written notice, signed by the clerk and served by the constable. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2654. Refusal to serve

    A person may refuse to accept election or appointment to any municipal office. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2655. Time of meeting

    Annual municipal business meetings shall begin at the time set by the legislative body, unless the municipality has voted otherwise at a preceding meeting. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 101.)

  • § 2656. Qualification and registration of voters

    Regardless of the type of voting used, the qualifications to vote in any municipal election shall be as provided in chapter 43 of this title and all municipalities shall revise and post checklists as provided in chapter 43 of this title prior to any municipal meeting at which there will be voting. The presiding officer shall follow reasonable and necessary procedures to ensure that persons who are not voters of the town do not vote. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 102.)

  • § 2657. Moderator

    A municipal meeting shall be called to order by the moderator, or in his or her absence by a selectman who shall preside until a moderator pro tempore is chosen. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2658. Duties

    The moderator shall be the presiding officer of municipal meetings, shall decide questions of order and shall make public declaration of votes taken, except in elections using the Australian ballot system. When a vote declared by him or her is immediately questioned by one voter, he or she shall divide the meeting, and if requested by seven voters, shall cause the vote to be taken by paper ballot, unless the town has provided some other procedure in such cases. Robert's Rules or some other rules of order shall govern all municipal meetings, except in elections using the Australian ballot system. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 103; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

  • § 2659. Preservation of order

    The moderator shall preserve order in the conduct of business and in debate. If a person, after notice, is persistently disorderly and refuses to withdraw from the meeting, the moderator may cause him or her to be removed, calling upon the constable or other person for that purpose. A person who so refuses to withdraw when ordered so to do shall be fined not more than $200.00. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2660. Conduct of election

    (a) When voting is at a floor meeting by paper ballot, the polls shall be kept open a reasonable time and reasonable notice shall be given before they close.

    (b) When election is by ballot, a majority of all votes cast for any office shall be required for an election, unless otherwise provided by law; provided that when there is but one nominee for an office, unless objection is made, the legal voters may vote to instruct the town clerk to cast one ballot for such nominee and upon such ballot being cast he or she shall be declared elected.

    (c) If no person has obtained a majority by the end of the third vote, the moderator shall announce that the person receiving the least number of votes in the last vote and in each succeeding vote shall no longer be a candidate, and the voting shall continue until a candidate receives a majority.

    (d) The article entitled "other business" shall not be used for taking binding municipal action, and the moderator shall so rule. (Added 1977, No. 260 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 104; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 49.)

  • § 2661. Reconsideration or rescission of vote

    (a) A warned article voted on at an annual or special meeting of a municipality shall not be submitted to the voters for reconsideration or rescission at the same meeting after the assembly has begun consideration of another article. If the voters have begun consideration of another article, the original article may only be submitted to the voters at a subsequent annual or special meeting duly warned for the purpose and called by the legislative body on its own motion or pursuant to a petition requesting such reconsideration or rescission signed and submitted in accordance with subsection (b) of this section. A vote taken at an annual or special meeting shall remain in effect unless rescinded or amended.

    (b) If a petition requesting reconsideration or rescission of a question considered or voted on at a previous annual or special meeting is filed with the clerk of the municipality within 30 days following the date of that meeting, the legislative body shall provide for a vote by the municipality in accordance with the petition within 60 days of the submission at an annual or special meeting duly warned for that purpose. The number of signatures required for a petition for reconsideration or rescission shall be not less than five percent of the registered voters unless the voters of the municipality increase that percentage pursuant to the following:

    (1) At a meeting duly warned for the purpose, the voters of a municipality may require that a petition for reconsideration be signed by a percentage of registered voters that is not less than five percent nor greater than 20 percent.

    (2) A vote to increase the percentage of voters required to sign a petition for reconsideration or rescission to up to 20 percent shall be in substantially the following form: "Shall the (name of municipality) increase the percentage of voters required on a petition for reconsideration or rescission from five to (up to 20) percent?"

    (3) Once the voters of a municipality have voted to require a new percentage, that percentage shall remain in effect until the voters of the municipality vote to change the percentage.

    (c) A question voted on shall not be presented for reconsideration or rescission at more than one subsequent meeting within the succeeding 12 months except with the approval of the legislative body.

    (d) For a vote by Australian ballot, the form of the ballot shall be as follows: "Article 1: cite the article to be reconsidered as lastly voted]."

    (e) A majority vote in favor of reconsideration or rescission, of a question voted on by paper or Australian ballot, shall not be effective unless the number of votes cast in favor of reconsideration or rescission exceeds two-thirds of the number of votes cast for the prevailing side at the original meeting unless the voters of the municipality approve a different percentage pursuant to the following:

    (1) At a meeting duly warned for the purpose, the voters of a municipality may require that a vote in favor of reconsideration or rescission shall not be effective unless the number of votes cast in favor of reconsideration or rescission exceeds a certain percentage of the number of votes cast for the prevailing side at the original meeting.

    (2) A vote to increase or decrease the percentage shall be in substantially the following form: "Shall the (name of municipality) change the percentage of votes cast in favor of reconsideration or rescission required for a vote to reconsider or rescind a question considered or voted on at a previous annual or special meeting to be effective to (percentage)?"

    (3) Once the voters of a municipality have voted to require a new percentage, that percentage shall remain in effect until the voters of the municipality vote to change the percentage.

    (f) A municipality shall not reconsider a vote to elect a local officer. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 105; 1991, No. 235 (Adj. Sess.); 2007, No. 36, § 1; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 50.)

  • § 2662. Validation of municipal meetings

    When any of the requirements as to notice or warning of an annual or special municipal meeting have been omitted or not complied with, the omission or noncompliance, if the meeting and the business transacted at it is otherwise legal and within the scope of the municipal powers, may be corrected and legalized by vote at a regular meeting or special meeting of the municipality called and duly warned for that purpose. The question to be voted upon shall substantially be, "Shall the action taken at the meeting of this town (or city, village or district) held on (state date) in spite of the fact that (state the error or omission), and any act or action of the municipal officers or agents pursuant thereto be readopted, ratified and confirmed." Errors or omissions in the conduct of an original meeting which are not the result of an unlawful notice or warning or noncompliance within the scope of the warning, may be cured by a resolution of the legislative body of the municipality by a vote of two-thirds of all its members at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose, stating that the defect was the result of oversight, inadvertence or mistake. When an error or omission of this nature has been thus corrected by resolution, all business within the terms of the action of the qualified voters shall be as valid as if the requirements had been initially complied with, condition, however, that the original action thereby corrected by the legislative body was in compliance with the legal exercise of its corporate powers. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2663. Certificate of vote

    Whenever an act of the general assembly by its provisions takes effect only when accepted by vote of a municipality, the clerk of the municipality shall certify within 10 days to the secretary of state the result of such vote. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2664. Budget

    At its annual meeting, a town shall vote such sums of money as it deems necessary for the interest of its inhabitants and for the prosecution and defense of the common rights. It shall express in its vote the specific amounts, or the rate on a dollar of the grand list, to be appropriated for laying out and repairing highways and for other necessary town expenses. If a town votes specific amounts in lieu of a rate on a dollar of the grand list, the selectboard shall, after the grand list book has been computed and lodged in the office of the town clerk, set the tax rate necessary to raise the specific amounts voted. The selectboard may apply for grants and may accept and expend grants or gifts above those which are approved in the town budget. The selectboard shall include, in its annual report, a description of all grants or gifts accepted during the year and associated expenditures. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2015, No. 30, § 25, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2665. Notification to secretary of state

    The town clerk shall file with the secretary of state a list of the names and addresses of the selectmen elected and shall notify the secretary of state of any changes in the list as filed. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 106.)

  • § 2666. Improper influence

    Neither the warning, the notice, the official voter information cards, nor the ballot itself shall include any opinion or comment by any town body or officer or other person on any matter to be voted on. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 107.)

  • § 2667. Access to annual meeting

    The legislative body of the municipality shall take reasonable measures to ensure that voters who are elders or have a disability may conveniently attend annual or special meetings; provided, however, that such measures need not be taken if doing so would impose undue hardship on the town. Measures may include location of meetings on the ground floor of buildings or providing ramps or other devices for access to meetings. In municipal elections using the Australian ballot system of voting, subsection 2502(b) of this title shall apply. For the purposes of this section, the legislative body shall have full jurisdiction on the day of the municipal meeting over the premises at which the town meeting is to be held. (Added 1983, No. 90, § 2, eff. April 29, 1983; amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 85.)


  • Subchapter 003: LOCAL ELECTIONS USING THE AUSTRALIAN BALLOT SYSTEM
  • § 2680. Australian ballot system; general

    (a) Application. Unless specifically required by statute, the provisions of the Australian ballot system shall not apply to the annual or special meeting of a municipality unless that municipality, at its annual meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose, votes to have them apply.

    (b) Officers. Once a municipality votes to elect officers by the Australian ballot system, such officers shall be elected in that manner until the municipality votes to discontinue use of the system.

    (c) Budgets.

    (1) A vote whether to use the Australian ballot system to establish the budget shall be in substantially the following form:

    "Shall (name of municipality) adopt its budget article or articles by Australian ballot?"

    (2) If a budget voted on by Australian ballot is rejected, the legislative body shall prepare a revised budget.

    (A) The legislative body shall establish a date for the vote on the revised budget, and shall take appropriate steps to warn a public informational meeting on the budget and the vote. The date of the public informational meeting shall be at least five days following the public notice. The date of the vote shall be at least seven days following the public notice.

    (B) The vote on the revised budget shall be by Australian ballot and shall take place in the same locations that the first vote was taken; provided, however, that if that polling place is unavailable, the vote may be held at a different location, with notice posted of the meeting location at the original location.

    (C) The budget shall be established if a majority of all votes cast are in favor. If the revised budget is rejected, the legislative body shall repeat the procedure in this subsection until a budget is adopted.

    (D) Once a municipality votes to establish its budget by the Australian ballot system, the vote on the budget shall be taken by Australian ballot until the municipality votes to discontinue use of the system.

    (d) Public questions.

    (1) A vote whether to use the Australian ballot on public questions other than the budget shall be in substantially the following form:

    "Shall (name of municipality) vote on (specify the public question) by Australian ballot?"

    or

    "Shall (name of municipality) vote on all public questions by Australian ballot?"

    (2) Once a municipality has voted to vote on any specific or all public questions by Australian ballot, the votes shall be taken by Australian ballot until the municipality votes to discontinue use of the system.

    (e) Use. A municipality shall not use the Australian ballot system at the same election at which its voters decide that the system shall be used.

    (f) Presiding officer. The presiding officer for any election or part of an election using the Australian ballot system shall be the town clerk or as otherwise provided in section 2452 of this title.

    (g) Hearing. Whenever a municipality has voted to adopt the Australian ballot system of voting on any public question or budget, except the budget revote as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the legislative body shall hold a public informational hearing on the question by posting warnings at least 10 days in advance of the hearing in at least two public places within the municipality and in the town clerk's office. The hearing shall be held within the 10 days preceding the meeting at which the Australian ballot system is to be used. The hearing under this subsection may be held in conjunction with the meeting held under subsection 2640(c) of this title, in which case the moderator shall preside. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 108, 120; 1981, No. 239 (Adj Sess.), § 24; 1983, No. 30; 2003, No. 59, § 42; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2015, No. 30, § 26, eff. May 26, 2015; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 46.)

  • § 2681. Nominations; petitions; consents

    (a)(1) Nominations of the municipal officers shall be by petition. The petition shall be filed with the municipal clerk, together with the endorsement, if any, of any party or parties in accordance with the provisions of this title, no later than 5:00 p.m. on the sixth Monday preceding the day of the election, which shall be the filing deadline.

    (B) A candidate shall be registered to vote in the town he or she is seeking office at or before the time of filing the petition.

    (2) The candidate shall also file a written consent to the printing of the candidate's name on the ballot on or before the filing deadline for petitions as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection.

    (3) A petition shall contain the name of only one candidate, and the candidate's name shall appear on the petition as it does on the voter checklist. A voter shall not sign more than one petition for the same office, unless more than one nomination is to be made, in which case the voter may sign as many petitions as there are nominations to be made for the same office.

    (b) A petition shall contain at least 30 valid signatures of voters of the municipality or one percent of the legal voters of the municipality, whichever is less. The candidate, prior to circulating his or her petitions, shall print on them his or her name as it appears on the voter checklist and shall indicate clearly on them which office he or she is seeking. If there are different lengths of term available for an office, the candidate must indicate clearly the length of term, as well.

    (c) The town clerk shall make petition forms and consent forms available. Petition forms shall be sufficient if they are in substantially the following form:

     

    STATE OF VERMONT

    .................... County

     

    The undersigned hereby petition the town clerk and other town officers of the Town of  ........................................................., County of  ..........................................................., Vermont that

    ……………………………………………………………………….............

    (Name of Candidate  -  -  Nominee)

    be a nominee for election to the office of

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

    (Name of Office)

    at the local election to be held in the town of the  .............................................................. day of  ...................., 20  ................ We certify that we are presently voters of that town.

         NAME/SIGNATURE                         STREET ADDRESS

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............  

     

    ………………………………….……………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………............

     

     (d) A person consenting to be nominated may withdraw by notifying the municipal clerk in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday after the filing deadline.

    (e) The officer receiving the petitions shall immediately proceed to examine them to ascertain whether they conform to the provisions of this subchapter. If found not to conform, he or she shall state in writing on the petition why it cannot be accepted, and within 24 hours from receipt he or she shall return it to the candidate in whose behalf it was filed. In this case, supplementary petitions may be filed not later than 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday after the filing deadline. However, supplementary petitions shall not be accepted if petitions with signatures of different persons totaling at least the number specified in subsection (b) of this section were not filed by the filing deadline set forth in subdivision (a)(1) of this section. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 109, 120; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 1985, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 51; 2015, No. 30, § 27, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2681a. Local election ballots

    (a) Ballots for local officers and local public questions shall be prepared at town expense, under the direction of the town clerk not later than 20 days before the local election. These ballots may be any color and the printing shall be black; in other respects, they shall conform as nearly as may be practicable to the form of the consolidated ballot in subchapter 2 of chapter 51 of this title, except as otherwise provided in this section.

    (b)(1) On the local election ballot, the candidate's name shall appear as provided in his or her consent form.

    (2) The board of civil authority may vote to list a street address for each candidate, or the town of residence of each candidate, or no residence at all for each candidate.

    (c) No political party or other designation shall be listed unless the municipal charter provides for such listing, the town has voted at an earlier election to provide such a listing or, in the absence of previous consideration of the question by the town, the legislative body decides to permit listing. If political party or other designations are permitted, no candidate shall use the name of a political party whose certificate of organization has been filed properly with the Secretary of State unless the candidate has been endorsed by a legally called town caucus of that political party for the office in question. In any event, the candidate must still file the petition and consent form required by section 2681 of this title.

    (d) The names of candidates for the same office, but for different terms of service, shall be arranged in groups according to the length of their respective terms.

    (e) Public questions shall be written in the form of a question, with boxes indicating a choice of "yes" and "no" directly under or to the right side of the public question. No public question shall pass unless a majority of the votes, excluding blank and spoiled votes, is cast in favor of the proposition. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 110; amended 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2007, No. 54, § 12; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 52.)

  • § 2682. Process of voting; appointments

    (a) Election expenses shall be assumed by the municipality.

    (b) Returns shall be filed with the town clerk.

    (c) In a municipal election controlled by this subchapter, the person receiving the greatest number of votes for an office shall be declared elected to that office and a certificate of election need not be issued.

    (d) In the event no person files a petition for an office which is to be filled at the annual or special meeting of a municipality, and if no person is otherwise elected to fill the office, a majority of the legislative body of the municipality may appoint a voter of the municipality to fill the office until the next annual meeting.

    (e) [Repealed.]

    (f) When the same number of persons are nominated for any town office as there are positions to be filled, the presiding officer may declare the whole slate of candidates elected without making individual tallies, provided each person on the slate has more votes than the largest number of write-in votes for any one write-in candidate. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 111; 2007, No. 54, § 14; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.)

  • § 2682a. Write-in candidates

    Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2682 of this subchapter, in order to be elected, a write-in candidate shall receive at least 30 votes or the votes of one percent of the registered voters in the municipality, whichever is less. (Added 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 54.)

  • § 2682b. Tie votes for local office

    If there is a tie vote for any office, the legislative body or, in its stead, the municipal clerk shall within seven days warn a runoff election to be held not less than 15 days nor more than 22 days after the warning. The only candidates in the runoff election shall be those who were tied in the original election. However, if one of the candidates that are tied withdraws his or her candidacy within five days after the election, the town clerk shall certify the other tied candidate as the winner, and there shall be no runoff election. (Added 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 55.)

  • § 2683. Request for a recount; candidates

    (a) A candidate for local office may request a recount by filing a request with the municipal clerk within 10 days after the election.

    (b) If the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate and the number of votes cast for a losing candidate is less than five percent 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. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 112; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 56.)

  • § 2684. Time and place of recount; notice

    The clerk shall fix the time and place for a recount for not less than two nor more than five days from the time the petition is received, and shall promptly notify the opposing candidates and the board of civil authority. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 113.)

  • § 2685. Conduct of recount

    (a)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, at the time and place specified by the clerk, the board of civil authority shall break the seal, open the ballot container, and recount the votes pursuant to the procedure set forth in section 2685a of this subchapter.

    (2) When the ballot for the office is printed on index stock and configured to be readable by vote tabulator, the presiding officer and board of civil authority shall conduct the recount by vote tabulator, pursuant to the procedure set forth in chapter 51, subchapter 9 of this title to the greatest extent practicable, if:

    (A) the candidate who petitions for a recount requests that it be conducted by vote tabulator;

    (B) the board of civil authority, at a meeting held not less than 60 days prior to a local election and warned pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 801, has voted to require the municipality for which it is elected to use vote tabulators in subsequent recounts; or

    (C) the municipality has voted to use vote tabulators in subsequent recounts pursuant to a meeting warned for the purpose.

    (b) The petitioner, the opposing candidates, and their designated representatives may inspect the ballots and observe the recount under the guidance of the board.

    (c) The board shall certify the result to the clerk, who shall declare the result.

    (d) After the recount, the board shall seal the ballots and other materials back in the containers and the town clerk shall safely store them as provided in section 2590 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 114; 2009, No. 40, § 4a; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 57; 2015, No. 30, § 28, eff. May 26, 2015.)

  • § 2685a. Procedure for recount

    (a) Storage of ballots; assignment of duties.

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

    (2) The presiding officer shall supervise the recount.

    (3) The board of civil authority shall appoint a sufficient number of impartial assistant election officers to perform appropriate tasks that are not practicable for the board of civil authority to perform. Each assistant election officer shall be appointed and sworn as set forth in section 2454 of this title.

    (4) The presiding officer shall assign members of the board of civil authority to teams of at least four persons, consisting of one caller and one observer, representing different candidates, and one tally person and one double-check person, representing different candidates. Any additional team members shall be additional observers and double-check persons who shall be assigned to ensure that each candidate has one person assigned as either a caller or an observer and one person assigned as either a tally person or a double-check person. One team shall be designated as the presiding officer observer team, which shall perform only the functions established under this section for that team.

    (5) The board of civil authority shall use fresh seals, manila tags, tally sheets, double-check sheets, summary sheets for each polling place, master lists for the entire election to be recounted, and other appropriate material provided by the Secretary of State.

    (b) Preparation for recount.

    (1) Before the recount begins, the presiding officer shall explain the recount procedures which are to be followed and shall answer questions relating to such procedures.

    (2) The recount teams established shall recount the contents of one container before another container is opened and shall recount the contents of all the containers relating to one polling place before moving to those of another polling place.

    (3) For each polling place, the number of containers shall be counted and recorded on the master list.

    (4) Before opening, each container shall be inspected, and if no tag is present, replacement manila tags shall be affixed, specifying the date of election and the name of town and polling place. Likewise, each seal shall be examined to see if it is intact, and the presiding officer shall attach to any bag with a defective seal a tag stating that the seal was defective and containing the information which was contained on the defective seal.

    (5) Uncounted containers shall be kept in one part of the room and moved to the other side as they are counted. Each team shall have a separate table and the presiding officer shall have a separate table, all of which tables shall be spaced apart.

    (6) If there is more than one container from a polling place, the presiding officer shall open first the container which is identified as containing the checklist. Upon opening the first container in the presence of the presiding officer observer team, the presiding officer shall empty the contents onto the presiding officer's table. The presiding officer shall ensure that teams are not given unused ballots, early or absentee ballots which arrived after the close of polls, or ballots spoiled by voters and turned in by voters requesting fresh ballots.

    (c) Examination of checklists.

    (1) The checklist from the first bag shall be assigned to a team. The caller and observer, 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.

    (2) Then the checklist shall be examined by the tally person and the double-check person, repeating the process until they agree on a number or they agree to disagree on the number.

    (3) 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.

    (4) The number finally determined by a majority of team members shall be submitted to the presiding officer in the presence of the presiding officer observer team, together with an indication of the nature and extent of the disagreement. If one or more team members do not agree with the number submitted, the presiding officer shall note on the master list the fact that the number of people appearing as having voted on a specified checklist was subject to dispute.

    (d) Sorting of ballots.

    (1) Ballots from the first container shall be counted by one team and placed into piles containing 50 ballots each, except where there is a final pile which contains fewer than 50, in which case, the counting team shall affix to the top of the pile a note indicating how many ballots are contained in the pile. All of these ballots then shall be transferred to another team which shall verify that they are in piles of 50 ballots each and that any remaining pile contains the designated number of ballots.

    (2) The teams, except the presiding officer observer team and possibly the team which is processing the checklists, shall proceed to their tables and each team shall get from the presiding officer one pile of ballots, one tally sheet, and one double-check sheet per 50 ballots, unless there are more persons per team who serve as double-check persons, in which case, each such person shall be assigned a double-check sheet. If a team spoils a tally sheet or needs to retally, it must turn in the tally sheet in order to get another one.

    (e) First tally.

    (1) The caller shall call the name of the person voted for and any blank or spoiled ballots. The tally person and the double-check person or persons each shall make a suitable mark for that candidate and any blank or spoiled ballots.

    (2) If the caller and the observer or observers do not agree on how a ballot should be counted, the entire team shall review the ballot and if all members agree, it shall be counted that way.

    (3) If one member of the entire team does not agree, that ballot shall be set aside as a questioned ballot and a copy shall be made, which copy shall be clearly marked on its face identifying it as a copy. Such copies shall be placed on the top of the other ballots and shall remain together with the other ballots. Each original ballot deemed questionable shall be attached to a note which identifies it by town, polling place, and bag seal number. The originals of these questionable ballots shall be clipped to the summary sheet for that polling place and returned to the board of civil authority for a final decision by majority vote.

    (4) After the board of civil authority has rendered a final decision on a given questionable ballot, it shall be returned to the town clerk who shall keep it in a sealed container for a period of two years.

    (5) Write-in votes for preprinted candidates shall be counted as votes for that candidate.

    (6) If the tally persons do not agree on the number of votes for a candidate, the ballots shall be retallied until they do agree. Then the team shall notify the presiding officer that it has completed the first recount.

    (f) Second tally.

    (1) The presiding officer shall attach to the tally and double-check sheets a note which indicates which team members performed which functions in the first recount, and shall provide the team with a new tally sheet and an appropriate number of double-check sheets to match the number of people serving as double-check persons.

    (2) The members of the team then shall switch roles, with callers and observers becoming tally persons and double-check persons, as designated by the presiding officer, and the team shall complete a second recount, following the procedures established for the first recount.

    (3) When the results of the second recount match those of the first, a note shall be attached to the tally and double-check sheets, indicating which persons provided what functions during the second recount.

    (4) Then the team shall take its tally sheets, double-check sheets, and ballots, plus a separate pile of questionable ballots, if any, to the presiding officer.

    (5) Team members, in the presence of the presiding officer observer team, shall read the totals to the presiding officer who, in the view of these observers, shall record the totals on the summary sheet for that polling place.

    (6) After a team has presented its pile of ballots to the presiding officer, it shall be assigned another pile of ballots, until all of the piles from a particular polling place have been recounted two times.

    (g) Completing the tally.

    (1) After the totals for a polling place have been listed, the presiding officer shall add them up in the presence of the presiding officer observer team, and shall compare the number with the number of voters who voted at that polling place, according to the number obtained from the team that examined the certified checklist. If these numbers differ, the presiding officer shall note the amount of the difference on the summary sheets for that polling place.

    (2) The presiding officer shall return all ballots to the container, seal it, record the seal number on the summary sheet, write "recounted" and specify the date of the recount on the tag, and move it to the other side of the room, making sure that there is never more than one bag open at any one time.

    (3) This procedure shall be repeated for each container, until the results from a polling place have been recounted, and then it shall be repeated until the results from all polling places in a town have been recounted.

    (4) The presiding officer shall add the totals on each summary sheet, affix the presiding officer's seal, and send the summary sheets for all polling places together with the master list and any questionable ballots to the board of civil authority.

    (h) Other rules for conducting the recount.

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

    (2) The presiding officer shall designate an area within which the recount shall take place. Persons who are not board of civil authority members or appointed impartial election officers shall be permitted to view a recount in progress, but persons not authorized by the presiding officer shall not be permitted within the area designated by the presiding officer.

    (3) Candidates and their attorneys shall be given the opportunity to present evidence to the board of civil authority relating to the conduct of the recount. If the board 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. After such hearings or arguments as may be indicated under the circumstances, the board, within five working days, shall issue a judgment, which shall supersede any certificate of election previously issued and shall return to the town clerk questionable ballots which had been forwarded to the board.

    (i) After the recount.

    (1)(A) If the recount results in a tie, the board of civil authority shall order a recessed election to be held, within three weeks of the recount, on a date set by the board. The only candidates who shall appear on the ballot at the recessed election shall be those who tied in the previous election. The recessed election shall be considered a separate election for the purpose of voter registration under chapter 43 of this title.

    (B) If the recount confirms a tie, as to any public question, no recessed election shall be held, and the question shall be certified not to have passed.

    (C) Warnings for a recessed election shall be posted as required by this chapter, except that the warnings shall be posted not less than 10 days before the recessed election. The conduct of a recessed election shall be as provided in this chapter for local elections.

    (2) The town clerk shall send a certified copy of the judgment to the Secretary of State. (Added 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 58.)

  • § 2686. Declaration of result

    If the recount shows that a person other than the one declared elected upon the original canvass of votes has the number of votes required by law for election to office, that person shall be declared elected and shall be entitled to the office. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2687. Appeal to superior court

    Within five days after the declaration of the clerk, an aggrieved candidate may appeal to the superior court by giving a written notice to that effect to the other candidates who appeared before the board of civil authority. The original of the notice shall be filed with the county clerk. No entry fee shall be charged in these matters. The superior court shall immediately issue an order directing the town clerk to transmit to the county clerk all ballots, papers, and records affecting the appeal, and fixing a time for hearing in open court or before a referee not later than five days from the making of the order. The order shall be served upon the town clerk and all other candidates who have appeared before the board. A reference may be ordered upon any or all questions. At the time and place so fixed, the matter shall be summarily heard and determined and the costs taxed as in other civil actions. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), § 13.)

  • § 2688. Recount on question submitted

    (a) A registered voter or, in the case of a union school district, at least one registered voter from each member of the union district may demand a recount of ballots on any question submitted to the vote of the municipality using the Australian ballot system, if the margin by which the question passed or failed is less than five percent of the total votes cast on the question.

    (b) The request shall be filed with the municipal clerk within 10 days after the vote. The procedure shall be the same as in the case of recount of the votes cast for a candidate at an election.

    (c) The petitioner and his or her designated representative and a voter representing the other side of the question voted upon and his or her designated representative may inspect the vote and observe the recount under the guidance of the board of civil authority. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 115; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 59.)

  • § 2689. Preservation of ballots

    In an election in which the Australian ballot system is used, the ballots shall be preserved as provided in this title in the case of general elections. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2690. Repealed. 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 120.