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.
Subchapter 009 : Recounts and Contest of Elections(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2602e)
§ 2602e. Sorting ballots; ballot review; recount of removed ballots by hand
(a) Sorting ballots.
(1) While the checklist is being examined, if applicable under section 2602d of this subchapter, after emptying a container onto his or her table, the county clerk shall separate ballots from the container into a number of batches equal to the number of counting teams, with each batch being of approximately equal size.
(2) Each counting team shall take a batch of ballots from the county clerk’s table to the counting team’s table.
(3) Two persons who represent different candidates on a counting team shall sort that batch into stacks of 50 ballots, and the remaining members of the team shall recount each stack to ensure that there are 50 ballots in it.
(4)(A) The counting teams shall combine any ballots not placed into a stack of 50, and one of those counting teams shall separate those combined ballots into stacks of 50 and recount them in accordance with subdivision (3) of this subsection.
(B) For any final stack that contains fewer than 50 ballots, the county clerk shall affix to the top of that stack a note indicating how many ballots are contained in it.
(b) Ballot review and removal.
(1)(A) For each stack, a counting team shall review each ballot within the stack and remove from that stack each ballot upon which, for the office in question, the voter recorded his or her vote or votes in that race in any manner other than completely filling in the oval to the right of a preprinted candidate’s name.
(B) Each counting team shall also remove any plain paper or damaged ballots.
(2) A ballot shall be removed only if at least two members of the counting team agree to its removal.
(3) A ballot without markings for the office in question shall not be removed.
(4) A ballot that is not removed upon this first review shall not be reviewed again.
(c) Delivery of remaining ballots.
(1) Each counting team shall then attach to that stack a note indicating the number of ballots remaining in the stack.
(2) The county clerk shall deliver those remaining ballots to the vote tabulator team.
(d) Hand count of removed ballots; questionable votes.
(1) Each counting team shall then separate the removed ballots into stacks of 50 in accordance with the process set forth in subdivision (a)(3) of this section.
(2) The counting team shall then hand count the votes for the office in question on the removed ballots, and mark the results on a tally sheet for each stack of 50 removed ballots and any remaining stack with less than 50.
(3)(A) This hand count shall be in accordance with the rules for counting ballots set forth in section 2587 of this chapter, except that if two persons on the counting team do not agree on how to count a vote, the ballot shall be set aside as containing a questionable vote.
(B)(i) For any questionable vote, a copy of the ballot shall be made, and this copy shall be clearly marked on its face, identifying it as a copy. Once the recount of a container is completed, any such copies shall be placed on the top of the other ballots and shall remain together with the other ballots.
(ii) Each original ballot with a questionable vote shall be attached to a note that identifies it by town, county, polling place, and container seal number. The originals of these ballots with questionable votes shall be clipped to the summary sheet for that town, along with a copy of the official return of votes, and submitted to the court for a final decision.
(iii) The county clerk shall record the number of ballots containing questionable votes to be submitted to the court on the summary sheet for the town.
(C) At the end of the hand count for a container, two persons from each counting team who represent different candidates shall deliver any tally sheets from their table to the county clerk in the presence of the clerk observer team.
(D) The county clerk, in the presence of the clerk observer team, shall record the totals from each tally sheet onto the summary sheet for the town.
(e) This process shall be completed for as many containers as there are for each town. (Added 2017, No. 50, § 1.)