The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 31: CONVENTIONS TO AMEND U.S. CONSTITUTION

§ 2521. Warnings and notices

(a) Not less than 30 days before the election, the town clerk shall cause a warning and notice to be posted informing the voters of the town about the election. The warning shall include the date and time of the election, location of the polling place or places, nature of the election, and offices or questions to be voted upon. The notice shall contain information on voter registration and early or absentee voting, on how to obtain ballots, mark them, get help marking them, and obtain new ballots in place of those accidentally spoiled; information about offenses relating to elections; how to get help if there is a problem on election day; instructions for registrants by mail; instructions for first-time voters; instructions on who may cast a provisional ballot; instructions on how to cast a provisional ballot; information on federal and state laws prohibiting fraud and misrepresentation; instructions on how to contact the appropriate official if a person believes any of his or her rights to vote have been violated; and other appropriate information. The warning and notice shall be posted in at least two public places within each town and in or near the town clerk's office. If a town has more than one polling place, the warning and notice shall be posted in at least two public places within each voting district and in or near the town clerk's office. The checklist shall also be posted as required in section 2141 of this title.

(b) The secretary of state shall prepare forms for the warning and notice and shall furnish each town clerk with at least five copies of the forms for each polling place in the town at least five days before they must be posted. Information required in the warnings and notices which varies from town to town shall be left blank by the secretary of state and filled in by the town clerk. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 61; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 1989, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 6, § 12(c), eff. April 10, 2001; 2003, No. 59, § 25.)

§ 2522. Sample ballots

(a) As soon as ballots are received by the town clerk, but not later than 20 days prior to any primary or general election or 10 days prior to any municipal election, the town clerk shall post sample ballots in at least two public places within the town and in or near the town clerk's office. If a town has more than one polling place and the polling places are not all in the same building, the sample ballot shall be posted in at least two public places within each voting district and in or near the town clerk's office.

(b) The town clerk shall prepare the sample ballots by marking the words SAMPLE BALLOT prominently at the top of official election ballots.

(c) [Repealed.]

(d) Upon the request of any high school or other educational institution in the town, the town clerk shall deliver a sample ballot to the high school or educational institution. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 62; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 2003, No. 59, § 26.)

§ 2523. Posting at polling place on election day

(a) Before the polls open on election day, the presiding officer shall post copies of the warning and notice and the sample ballots conspicuously in and about the polling place so that voters can reasonably be expected to see them before voting.

(b) The presiding officer shall ensure that signs are placed on or near the ballot boxes informing voters of procedures for depositing ballots. The secretary of state shall supply the signs. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 63; 2003, No. 59, § 27.)

§ 2531. Application for early voter absentee ballot

(a) A voter who expects to be an early or absentee voter, or an authorized person on behalf of such voter, may apply for an early voter absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. or the closing of the town clerk's office on the day preceding the election.

(b) All applications shall be filed with the town clerk of the town in which the early or absentee voter is registered to vote. The town clerk shall file written applications and memoranda of verbal applications in his or her office, and shall retain the applications and memoranda for 90 days following the election, at which time they may be destroyed.

(c) Voting by early voter absentee ballot shall be allowed only in elections using the Australian ballot system. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 64; 1993, No. 79, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 3, eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2532. Applications; form

(a)(1) An early or absentee voter, or an authorized family member or health care provider acting in the voter's behalf, may apply for an early voter absentee ballot by telephone, in person, or in writing. ""Family member'' here means a person's spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, spouse's parents, grandparents, and spouse's grandparents. Any other authorized person may apply in writing or in person. The application shall be in substantially the following form:

 

REQUEST FOR EARLY VOTER ABSENTEE BALLOT

Name of early or absentee voter: ____________________________________

Current address: _________________________________________________

Residence (if different): ___________________________________________

If applicant is other than early or absentee voter:

Name of applicant: _________________________________________

Address of applicant: _______________________________________

Relationship to early or absentee voter: _________________________

Date: __________________             Signature: _________________________

         (2) If the application is made by telephone or in writing, the information supplied must be in substantial conformance with the information requested on this form.

(b) A person temporarily residing in a foreign country who is eligible to register to vote in this state, or a military service absentee voter who is eligible to register to vote in this state, may apply for early voter absentee ballots in the same manner and within the same time limits that apply for other early or absentee voters. An official federal postcard application shall suffice as a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot, when properly submitted. Any other person also may make a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot.

(c) If the request is received by the town clerk prior to the voter registration deadline set forth in subsection 2144(a) of this title, the town clerk shall mail a blank application for addition to the checklist, together with a full set of early voter absentee ballots, to the person who has applied for early voter absentee ballots. All such applications for addition to the checklist which are returned to the town clerk before the close of the polls on election day shall be considered and acted upon by the board of civil authority before the ballots are counted. If the application is approved and the name added to the checklist, the early voter absentee ballots cast by that voter shall be treated as other valid early voter absentee ballots.

(d) An application for an early voter absentee ballot shall be valid for only one election, unless specific request is made by an early or absentee voter that the application be valid for both a primary election, excluding a presidential primary, and the general election next following, as long as both ballots are to be mailed to the same address.

(e) A person residing in a state institution may apply for early voter absentee ballots in the same manner and within the same time limits that apply for other early or absentee voters.

(f) The town clerk may, upon application, issue a duplicate early voter absentee ballot if the original ballot is not received by the voter within a reasonable period of time after mailing. The application may be made by a person entitled to apply for an early voter absentee ballot under subsection (a) of this section and shall be accompanied by a sworn statement affirming that the voter has not received the original ballot. If a duplicate early voter absentee ballot is issued and both the duplicate and original early voter absentee ballots are received before the close of the polls on election day, the ballot with the earlier postmark shall be counted. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 65; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1985, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 11, 12; 1989, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1993, No. 80, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 4, eff. April 10, 2001; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2003, No. 94 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2007, No. 72, § 2.)

§ 2532a. Mobile polling stations

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the secretary of state may authorize a town clerk to establish a mobile polling station at which two or more election officials who are not all members of the same political party shall make absentee ballots available. The town clerk shall notify the public of the mobile polling station three days prior to operation by posting at the town clerk's office and at the mobile polling station site the date and hours that the mobile polling station will operate. The secretary of state shall establish procedures that ensure that:

(1) prior to distributing a ballot, the election officials shall verify that the voter's name is on the town checklist or will register the individual to vote if he or she is not registered and is qualified to vote in the town. The election officials shall make a list of the names of each voter who has voted at the mobile polling site;

(2) each voter shall place his or her ballot in an early absentee ballot envelope, seal and sign the certificate, and return the ballot envelope to the election officials;

(3) upon the closure of the mobile polling place, the election officials shall immediately return the ballot envelopes, list of names, and any unvoted ballots to the town clerk who shall add each voter's name to the list of early or absentee voters and commingle the envelopes with other returned early absentee ballot envelopes in the vault. Ballots that are returned along with a new voter registration form shall be kept in a secure place in the vault until the registration process has been completed and then processed as in this subdivision. (Added 2007, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. July 1, 2009.)

§ 2533. Notification of invalid application

If the town clerk finds an application for an early or absentee voter ballot which has been submitted to him or her to be invalid or incomplete, he or she shall immediately notify the person making the application, either personally or by mail, stating the ground on which the same is found to be invalid. The application may be corrected but shall not be valid unless it is returned corrected to the clerk within the time allowed for submitting an original application. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2534. List of early or absentee voters

Upon receipt of the valid applications the town clerk shall make a list of the early or absentee voters. The list shall include each voter's name and address. A copy of the list shall be available upon request at the town clerk's office and, on election day, in each polling place in the town. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 1993, No. 79, § 2; 2001, No. 6, § 5, eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2535. Form of early voter absentee ballots and envelopes

(a) Early voter absentee ballots shall be the same as the official ballots to be used at the election.

(b) If necessary, special ballots may be prepared of such different weight of paper, or overall size and shape as shall be prescribed by the secretary of state, to conform with minimum postal, military, naval, air force, or other federal or military regulations and orders covering the transportation of such ballots, provided that the text is identical in substance, except as to type size, with that appearing on the official ballots.

(c) Envelopes, including return envelopes, containing early voter absentee ballots may, as circumstances require, be particularly imprinted, stamped, or superscribed with approved identification words or symbols designating the same as "Vermont Official Early or Absentee Voter Ballot" and with such additional words or devices as are necessary to comply with any censorship regulations or rules which may be in effect at the time of mailing. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2536. Furnishing early voter absentee ballot envelopes

Upon request, the secretary of state shall furnish the envelopes prescribed in sections 2535 and 2542 of this title to town clerks in such numbers as they request. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 66; 2001, No. 6, § 6, eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2537. Early or absentee voting in the town clerk's office

A voter may, if he or she chooses, apply in person to the town clerk for the early voter absentee ballots and envelopes rather than having them mailed as required by section 2539 of this title. In this case, the clerk shall furnish the early voter absentee ballots and envelopes when a valid application has been made. The voter may mark his or her ballots, seal them in the envelope, sign the certificate, and return the ballots in the sealed envelope to the town clerk or an assistant town clerk, without leaving the office of the town clerk, or the voter may take the ballots and return them to the town clerk in the same manner as if the ballots had been received by mail. No person, except justices of the peace as provided in section 2538 of this title, may take any ballot from the town clerk on behalf of any other person. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 67; 1993, No. 80, § 2; 2001, No. 6, § 7, eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2538. Delivery of ballots by justices of the peace

(a) In the case of persons who are early or absentee voters due to illness or physical disability, ballots shall be delivered in the following manner unless the early or absentee voter has requested pursuant to section 2539 of this title that the early voter absentee ballots be mailed. Not later than three days prior to the election, the board of civil authority shall designate in pairs justices of the peace in numbers sufficient to deliver early voter absentee ballots to the applicants for early voter absentee ballots who have stated in their applications that they are unable to vote in person at the polling place due to illness or physical disability but who have not requested in their applications that early voter absentee ballots be mailed to them. No pair shall consist of two justices from the same political party. If there shall not be available a sufficient number of justices to make up the required number of pairs, a member of each remaining pair shall be designated by the board, to be selected from lists of registered voters submitted by the chairs of the town committees of political parties, and from among registered voters who in written application to the board state that they are not affiliated with any political party. No candidate or spouse, parent, or child of a candidate shall be eligible to perform the duties prescribed by this section unless the candidate involved is not disqualified by section 2456 of this title from serving as an election official. This shall not prevent a candidate for district office from serving as a justice in another district. The compensation of justices and voters designated under this subsection shall be fixed by the board of civil authority and shall be paid by the town.

(b) The town clerk shall divide the list of ill or physically disabled applicants into approximately as many equal parts as there are pairs of justices so designated, having regard to the several parts of the town in which the applicants may be found. During the eight days immediately preceding election day and on election day, the clerk shall deliver to each pair of justices one part of the list, together with early or absentee voter ballots and envelopes for each applicant. When justices receive ballots and envelopes prior to election day, they shall receive only the ballots and envelopes they are assigned to deliver on that day.

(c) Each pair of justices on the days they are assigned to deliver the ballots and envelopes, shall call upon each of the early or absentee voters whose name appears on the part of the list furnished to them and shall deliver early voter absentee ballots and envelopes to each early or absentee voter. The early or absentee voter shall then proceed to mark the ballots alone or in the presence of the justices, but without exhibiting them to the justices or to any other person, except that when the early or absentee voter is blind or physically unable to mark his or her ballot, they may be marked by one of the justices in full view of the other. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 68; 1995, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 17, § 1; 2001, No. 6, § 12(a), (b), eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2539. Mailing of early voter absentee ballots; permanently disabled voters

(a) Unless the early or absentee voter votes in the town clerk's office, or unless the justices are to deliver the early voter absentee ballots to the early or absentee voter, the town clerk shall provide to the early or absentee voter who comes to the town clerk's office a complete set of early voter absentee ballots or mail a complete set of early voter absentee ballots to each early or absentee voter for whom a valid application has been filed. The early voter absentee ballots shall be mailed forthwith upon the filing of a valid application, or upon the town clerk's receipt of the necessary ballots, whichever is later. Early voter absentee ballots to persons having addresses outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia shall be sent air mail, first class, postpaid when such service is available.

(b) In the case of persons who are early or absentee voters due to illness or physical disability, if the voter or authorized person requests in his or her application or otherwise that early voter absentee ballots be mailed rather than delivered by justices of the peace, the town clerk shall mail the ballots; otherwise the ballots shall be delivered to such voters by justices of the peace. In the case of all other early or absentee voters, the town clerk shall mail the early voter absentee ballots, unless the voter chooses to apply and vote in person at the town clerk's office. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 69; 2001, No. 6, § 8, eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2540. Instructions to be sent with ballots

(a) The town clerk shall send with all early voter absentee ballots and envelopes printed instructions, which may be included on the envelope, in substantially the following form:

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR EARLY OR ABSENTEE VOTERS

 

    1. Mark the ballots.

    2. Seal them in this envelope.

    3. Fill out and sign the certificate on the envelope.

    4. Mail or deliver the sealed envelope containing the ballots to the town clerk of the town where you are a registered voter in time to arrive no later than election day.

    Note: If these ballots have been brought to you personally by two justices of the peace because of your illness or physical disability, just return them to the justices after you have sealed and signed the envelope. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT  TO MARK YOUR BALLOTS IN PRIVATE  - but if you ask for help in filling out the  ballots, they will give it to you.

 

BE SURE TO FILL OUT AND SIGN THE CERTIFICATE ON THIS ENVELOPE OR YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT!

     (b) In the case of early absentee voting in a primary, the instructions shall also include appropriate instructions prepared by the secretary of state for separating and depositing unvoted ballots in a separate envelope provided and clearly marked for that purpose.

 (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 70; 2001, No. 6, §§ 12(a)-12(c), eff. April 10, 2001.)

§ 2541. Marking of ballots

(a) An early or absentee voter to whom ballots, envelopes, and instructions are mailed shall mark the ballots in accordance with the instructions.

(b) When an early or absentee voter is blind or is physically unable to go to the polls to vote in person or to mark his or her ballots, they may be marked by one of the officers who delivers the ballots, in the presence of the other officer. A person who gives assistance to a voter in the marking or registering of ballots shall not in any way divulge any information regarding the choice of the voter or the manner in which the voter's ballot was cast.

(c) If an early or absentee voter spoils a ballot, the voter may return the spoiled ballot by mail or in person to the town clerk and receive another ballot, consistent with the provisions of section 2568 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 71; 2001, No. 6, § 9, eff. April 10, 2001.)