The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 008 : Count and Return of Votes(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2590)
§ 2590. Securing and storing ballots, tally sheets, and checklists
(a)(1) The following shall not be placed in a sealed container, but shall be delivered to the town clerk along with the sealed containers:
(A) ballots that were never distributed to voters;
(B) any vote tabulator memory card; and
(C) the original entrance checklist.
(2) The presiding officer shall collect and deliver to the town clerk, securely sealed in the containers described in subsection (c) of this section, the following:
(A) packages of voted ballots;
(B) envelopes containing ballots that have been replaced;
(C) envelopes containing defective ballots;
(D) the exit checklist, if present;
(E) tally sheets; and
(F) other election material.
(3) A copy of the entrance checklist shall be placed in the outside pocket of the sealed container or otherwise stored along with but outside the sealed container for delivery to the court in the event of a recount.
(4) If the material collected from one polling place is sealed in more than one container, the presiding officer shall ensure that there shall be attached to the container in which the exit checklist is located, a tag stating that the checklist is in that container.
(5) The form of the seal shall be designated and furnished by the Secretary of State in sufficient quantities to each town clerk. The Secretary of State shall require that all seals be safely kept and fully accounted for.
(b) The Secretary of State shall furnish to all town clerks sufficient quantities of uniform-style containers. The Secretary shall establish a method by which the outside of each container shall indicate the contents of the container, the town to which it belongs, and such other pertinent information as may be required.
(c)(1) The town clerk shall safely store the sealed containers and shall not permit them to be removed from his or her custody or tampered with in any way.
(2)(A) In the event that a container breaks, splits, or opens through handling, or in the event the original entrance checklist or a vote tabulator memory card was inadvertently sealed in a container, the town clerk shall notify the Secretary of State in writing, and the Secretary shall order the town clerk in the presence of two other town election officials who are not members of the same political party to open the bag to remove the entrance checklist or vote tabulator memory card or to move the entire contents to new containers, affix new seals, and transmit the new seal numbers.
(B) Containers shall not be removed or tampered with in any other way, except under court order, or by order of any authorized committee of the General Assembly.
(C) If necessary for safe storage of the containers, the town clerk may store them in a bank vault or other secure place, within or outside the town, provided that access to them cannot reasonably be had without the town clerk's consent.
(d) Except as otherwise provided by federal law, all ballots and tally sheets shall be retained for a period of 90 days from the date of the election, after which time they may be destroyed; provided, however, that if a court order is entered prior to the expiration of the 90-day period, ordering some different disposition of the ballots, the town clerk shall abide by such order.
(e) After the sealed containers are opened as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the town clerk shall file a copy of the entrance or exit checklist and preserve it, together with a statement of discrepancies, as a public record. The checklist shall be retained for a period of at least five years from the date of the election and shall be made available at cost to the public upon request. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 87; 1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(a); 2007, No. 54, § 10; 2017, No. 50, § 45.)