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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 17 : Elections

Chapter 051 : Conduct of Elections

Subchapter 008 : Count and Return of Votes

(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2587)
  • § 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.)