The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 17 : Elections
Chapter 051 : CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS
Subchapter 006 : EARLY OR ABSENTEE VOTERS(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2543)
§ 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 the voter is registered, 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 that voter, 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 unless the ballot is deemed defective under subdivision 2546(a)(2) of this subchapter and the voter chooses to cure the defect and cast the ballot pursuant to subsection 2547(d) of this subchapter.
(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) to any secure ballot drop box provided by the town or city in which the voter is registered pursuant to section 2543a of this subchapter before the close of business on the day before the election;
(C) by mail to the town clerk’s office before the close of the polls on the day of the election; and
(D) by hand delivery to the presiding officer at the voter’s polling place before the closing of the polls at 7:00 p.m.
(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.
(e) A candidate whose name appears on the ballot for that election, or a paid campaign staff member of any such candidate, may not return a ballot to the town clerk or to a secure ballot drop box, unless that candidate or paid campaign staff member:
(1) is returning the candidate’s or paid campaign staff member’s own ballot;
(2) is returning the ballot of an immediate family member, as defined in section 2532 of this title, including a person’s spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, spouse’s parents, grandparents, and spouse’s grandparents, who has requested the candidate’s or paid campaign staff member’s assistance with the return of that ballot;
(3) is returning the ballot of a voter for whom the candidate or paid campaign staff member is a caretaker, and who has requested the candidate’s or paid campaign staff member’s assistance with the return of that ballot; or
(4) is a justice of the peace performing his or her official duties pursuant to section 2538 of this title.
(f) No individual may return more than 25 ballots to the town clerk or to a secure ballot drop box unless the individual is a justice of the peace performing his or her official duties pursuant to section 2538 of this title.
(g) The clerk or other local election official accepting the return of ballots shall not be required to enforce the provisions of subsections (e) and (f) of this section but shall report any suspected violations to the Secretary of State’s office, which shall refer them to the Attorney General’s office for investigation. Individuals violating this section may be subject to penalties pursuant to section 2017 of this title. (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; 2021, No. 60, § 10, eff. June 7, 2021.)