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Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17 : Elections



(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2685a)
  • § 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.)