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NO. 7. AN ACT RELATING TO CHECKLISTS AND VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS AND AFFIDAVITS.

(H.472)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 17 V.S.A. § 2145 is amended to read:

§ 2145. APPLICATION FORMS

(a) The voter registration application shall be in the form approved by the federal election commission or by the secretary of state. The application form approved by the secretary shall include:

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(6) A statement informing the applicant: "Keep a copy of this application form. Contact your town clerk to make sure your application has been received. Bring the copy to the polls when you go to vote. This is your proof you have submitted an application to the checklist before the deadline for registration."

(b) Except for forms included as part of a department of motor vehicles license application, the registration application form shall be in four copies. One copy shall be retained by the applicant; three copies shall be forwarded to the town clerk. In the case of applications received at voter registration agencies, three copies shall be forwarded to the secretary of state who shall forward the copies to the town clerk of the applicant's town of residence. In the case of forms included as part of a department of motor vehicles license application, the form shall be *[a one-part form which]* in two copies. One copy shall be retained by the applicant; one copy shall be forwarded to the secretary of state who shall forward the form to the town clerk of the applicant's town of residence.

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Sec. 2. 17 V.S.A. § 2147 is amended to read:

§ 2147. ALTERATION OF CHECKLIST

(a) Pursuant to section 2150 of this title, the board shall add to the checklist posted in the town clerk’s office the names of the voters added and the names omitted by mistake, and shall strike the names of persons not entitled to vote. The list so corrected shall not be altered except by:

(1) adding the names of persons as directed by any superior or district judge on appeal*[,]*;

(2) adding the names of persons who are legal voters at the election but whose names are further discovered to be omitted from the completed checklist solely through inadvertence or error*[, or]*;

(3) *[by]* adding the names of persons who present a copy of a valid application for addition to the checklist of that town that was submitted before the deadline for applications and who otherwise are qualified to be added to the checklist;

(4) adding the names of persons who sign a sworn affidavit that they completed and submitted a valid application for addition to the checklist of that town before the deadline for applications and who otherwise are qualified to be added to the checklist; or

(5) subdividing the checklist as provided in section 2501 of this title, including the transfer of names of voters who have moved within a town in which they are already registered from one voting district within that town to another.

(b) Any correction or transfer may be accomplished at any time until the closing of the polls on election day. Each voter has primary responsibility to ascertain that his or her name is properly added to and retained on the checklist.

Sec. 3. 17 V.S.A. § 2144b is added to read:

§ 2144b. ADDITIONS TO CHECKLIST BY TOWN CLERK; LOCAL

OPTION

(a) A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting to authorize its town clerk to approve additions to the checklist.

(b) Except as provided in this section, if the town votes to authorize the town clerk to approve additions to the checklist, applications shall not be reviewed by the board of civil authority, and the applicable provisions of sections 2144, 2145 and 2146 of this title shall apply to the clerk.

(c) If the town clerk does not believe that an applicant meets the requirements of section 2121 of this title, the clerk shall forthwith forward the application to the board of civil authority, which shall, in a timely manner, proceed under section 2146 of this title to determine whether the applicant meets the requirements of section 2121.

(d) Periodically, or at least ten days prior to each election, the town clerk shall forward to the board of civil authority a list of additions to the checklist.

Sec. 4. 17 V.S.A. § 2152 is added to read:

§ 2152. DIVISION OF CHECKLIST

A town clerk may divide the checklist into active and inactive sections. The active section shall include all the qualified voters of the town, except for those voters included in the inactive section, pursuant to this provision. The inactive section shall include only those voters who have failed to respond to the notice sent pursuant to subdivision 2150(d)(3) of this title. The active and inactive designations are for recordkeeping purposes only, and shall have no bearing on voting eligibility.

Sec. 5. 17 V.S.A. § 2153 is added to read:

§ 2153. BIRTHDAY REGISTRATION DRIVE

The secretary of state may develop and implement a statewide voter registration program for the purpose of encouraging persons to register to vote on their 18th birthday.

Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

(a) This section and Secs. 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this act shall take effect on passage.

(b) Sec. 1 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2002.

Approved: April 10, 2001