The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 49: NOMINATIONS

 

Sub-Chapter 1: Primary Elections

[Section 2351 effective until January 1, 2016; see also section 2351 effective January 1, 2016 set out below.]§ 2351. Primary election

A primary election shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in August in each even-numbered year for the nomination of candidates of major political parties for all offices to be voted for at the succeeding general election, except candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, their electors, and justices of the peace. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 7, 2010.)


[Section 2351 effective January 1, 2016; see also section 2351 effective until January 1, 2016 set out above.]§ 2351. Primary election

A primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in August in each even-numbered year for the nomination of candidates of major political parties for all offices to be voted for at the succeeding general election, except candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, their electors, and justices of the peace. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 7, 2010; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)


§ 2352. Nomination of candidates prior to special election

When the governor or any court, pursuant to law, orders a special election to be held for any of the offices covered by section 2351 of this title, a special primary election shall be held on the Tuesday which falls not less than 60 days nor more than 66 days prior to the date set for the special election. The nomination of candidates prior to a special election, including nomination both by primary and by other means, shall be governed by the rules applicable to nomination of candidates prior to the general election, except as may be specifically provided in this chapter. The term "general election," as used in this chapter, shall be deemed to include a special election, unless the context requires a different interpretation. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 7, 2010.)


§ 2353. Petitions to place names on ballot

(a) The name of any person shall be printed upon the primary ballot as a candidate for nomination by any major political party for any office indicated, if petitions containing the requisite number of signatures made by legal voters, in substantially the following form, are filed with the proper official, together with the person's written consent to having his or her name printed on the ballot:

I join in a petition to place on the primary ballot of the ......................... party the name of  ....................................., whose residence is in the (city), (town) of  .................... in the county of ...................., for the office of  .................... to be voted for on Tuesday, the  ............... day of August, 20  .......; and I certify that I am at the present time a registered voter and am qualified to vote for a candidate for this office.

(b) A person's name shall not be listed as a candidate on the primary ballot of more than one party in the same election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. May 6, 2008; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 7, 2010.)


§ 2354. Signing petitions

Any number of voters may sign the same petition. A voter's signature shall not be valid unless at the time he or she signs the voter is registered and qualified to vote for the candidate whose petition he or she signs. Each voter shall indicate his or her town of residence next to his signature. The signature of a voter on a candidate's petition does not necessarily indicate that the voter supports the candidate. A voter shall not sign more than one petition for the same office, unless more than one nomination is to be made, in which case he or she may sign as many petitions as there are nominations to be made for the same office. A petition shall contain the name of only one candidate. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 18.)


§ 2355. Number of signatures required

The number of signatures on primary petitions shall be not less than:

(1) For state and congressional officers, 500 hundred;

(2) For county officers or state senator, 100 hundred;

(3) For representative to the general assembly, 50. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


[Section 2356 effective until January 1, 2016; see also section 2356 effective January 1, 2016 set out below.]§ 2356. Time for filing petitions

Primary petitions and statements of nomination from minor party candidates and independent candidates shall be filed no sooner than the second Monday in May and not later than 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday after the first Monday in June preceding the primary election prescribed by section 2351 of this title, and not later than 5:00 p.m. of the 62nd day prior to the day of a special primary election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2003, No. 59, § 11; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 7, 2010.)


[Section 2356 effective January 1, 2016; see also section 2356 effective until January 1, 2016 set out above.]§ 2356. Time for filing petitions and statements of nomination

(a) Primary petitions for major party candidates and statements of nomination for minor party candidates shall be filed no sooner than the fourth Monday in April and not later than 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday after the first Monday in May preceding the primary election prescribed by section 2351 of this chapter, and not later than 5:00 p.m. of the 62nd day prior to the day of a special primary election.

(b) A petition or statement of nomination shall apply only to the election cycle in which the petition or statement of nomination is filed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2003, No. 59, § 11; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 7, 2010; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.)


§ 2357. Place of filing petition

(a) Primary petitions and consent forms shall be filed as follows:

(1) For state and congressional officers, with the secretary of state;

(2) For county officers with the county clerk;

(3) For state senator, with the senatorial district clerk;

(4) For representative to the general assembly, with the representative district clerk.

(b) The public official designated to accept a petition shall not accept a nominating petition unless a completed and signed consent form is filed at the same time. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 54, § 1.)


§ 2358. Examining petitions, supplementary petitions

(a) The officer with whom primary petitions are filed shall examine them and ascertain whether they contain a sufficient number of legible signatures. The officer shall not attempt to ascertain whether there are a sufficient number of signatures of actual voters, however, unless the officer has reason to believe that the petitions are defective in this respect.

(b) If found not to conform, he or she shall state in writing on a particular petition why it cannot be accepted, and within 72 hours from receipt he or she shall return it to the candidate in whose behalf it was filed. In such case, supplementary petitions may be filed not later than 10 days after the date for filing petitions. However, supplementary petitions shall not be accepted if petitions with signatures of different persons totaling at least the required number were not received by the filing deadline.

(c) A signature shall not count for the purpose of meeting the requirements of section 2355 of this title if the officer with whom primary petitions are filed:

(1) cannot identify the name of the person who signed; or

(2) if necessary, determines that the person is not on the checklist of the town which the person indicates as his town of residence.

(d) An officer with whom primary petitions may be filed may obtain from the appropriate town clerks certified copies of current checklists as needed to verify the adequacy of primary petitions; town clerks who are asked by a filing officer to furnish certified copies of checklists for this purpose shall furnish the copies promptly and without charge. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 20; 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)


§ 2359. Notification to secretary of state

Within three days after the last day for filing petitions, all town and county clerks who have received petitions shall notify the secretary of state of the names of all candidates, the offices for which they have filed, and whether each has submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures to comply with the requirements of section 2355 of this title. Town and county clerks shall also notify the secretary of state of any petitions found not to conform to the requirements of this chapter and returned to a candidate under section 2358 of this title, and shall notify the secretary of state of the status of such petition not later than two days after the last day for filing supplementary petitions. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)


§ 2360. Preservation of petitions

The secretary of state and county and town clerks shall retain the primary petitions filed with them until 30 days following the general election for which they were used, at which time they may be destroyed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 2361. Consent of candidate

A candidate for whom petitions containing sufficient valid signatures have been filed shall file with the official with whom the petitions were filed a consent to the printing of the candidate's name on the ballot. The secretary of state shall prepare and furnish forms for this purpose. The consent shall set forth the name of the candidate, as the candidate wishes to have it printed on the ballot, the candidate's town of residence, and correct mailing address. The consent shall be filed on or before the day petitions are due. Unless a consent is filed, the candidate's name shall not be printed on the primary ballot. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 59, § 12.)


§ 2362. Primary ballots

(a) The ballots shall be prepared and furnished to the towns by the Secretary of State and shall contain the names of all candidates for nomination at the primary. Ballots shall be printed on index stock and configured to be readable by vote tabulators. A separate ballot for each major political party shall be printed in substantially the following form:

 

OFFICIAL VERMONT PRIMARY ELECTION BALLOT

VOTE ON ONE PARTY BALLOT ONLY AND PLACE IN BALLOT

BOX OR VOTE TABULATOR

ALL OTHER PARTY BALLOTS MUST BE PLACED IN UNVOTED

BALLOT BOX

________________________

[MAJOR POLITICAL PARTY NAME]

________________________

 

(b) Following the names of candidates printed on the ballot after the name of each office to be filled shall be as many blank lines for write-in candidates as there are persons to be elected to that office. If no primary petition is filed for an office or for a candidate belonging to a party, the ballot shall contain the name of the office and blank lines for write-in candidates. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 2007, No. 54, § 2; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 20.)


§ 2363. Separate party ballots

(a) The names of all candidates of a party shall be printed upon one ballot. Each section shall bear in print larger than any other print on the ballot the words VOTE IN ONE PARTY ONLY OR YOUR BALLOT WILL BE VOID in a prominent place on the ballot. The voter shall vote for the candidates of one party only. A person voting at the primary shall not be required to indicate his or her party choice to any election official.

(b) [Repealed.]  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)


§§ 2364-2367. Repealed. 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 120.


§ 2368. Canvassing committee meetings

After the primary election is conducted, the canvassing committee for state and national offices and statewide public questions shall meet at 10 a.m. one week after the day of the election. The canvassing committee for county offices and countywide public questions and state senator shall meet at 10 a.m. on the third day following the election. The canvassing committees for local offices and local public questions, including state representative, shall meet at 10 a.m. on the day after the election, except that in the case of canvassing committees for state representative in multi-town representative districts, the committees shall meet at 10 a.m. on the third day after the election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; amended 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)


§ 2369. Determining winner; the votes

(a) A person who receives a plurality of all the votes cast by a party in a primary shall be a candidate of that party for the office designated on the ballot.

(b) If two or more candidates of the same party are tied for the same office, the choice among those tied shall be determined upon five days' notice and not later than 10 days following the primary election by the committee of that party, which shall meet to nominate a candidate from among the tied candidates. The committee that nominates a candidate shall be as follows:

(1) the State committee of a party for a State or congressional office;

(2) the senatorial district committee for State Senate;

(3) the county committee for county office; or

(4) the representative district committee for a Representative to the General Assembly.

(c) The committee chair shall certify the candidate nomination for the general election to the Secretary of State within 48 hours of the nomination. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. April 7, 2010; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 70.)


§ 2370. Write-in candidates

(a) A write-in candidate shall not qualify as a primary winner unless he or she receives at least one-half the number of votes as the number of signatures required for his or her office on a primary petition, except that if a write-in candidate receives more votes than a candidate whose name is printed on the ballot, he or she may qualify as a primary winner.

(b) The write-in candidate who qualifies as a primary winner under this section must still be determined a winner under section 2369 of this chapter before he or she becomes the party's candidate in the general election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)


§ 2371. Nominees; notice to nominees

(a) The canvassing committee shall prepare and sign certificates of nomination and mail or deliver in person to each candidate nominated a notice of his or her nomination within two days after their meeting. On each certificate the canvassing committee shall indicate the name, town of residence, party affiliation, and mailing address of the candidate nominated. At the same time that they mail or deliver the certificates of nomination, the canvassing committees shall also file with the office of the secretary of state a list showing the vote for each candidate of each party for each office.

(b) Unless a person who is notified of being nominated withdraws the candidacy, the person's name, residence, and party affiliation shall be printed upon the general election ballot in the same manner as they appear in the notice of nomination; provided, however, that within five days of the date of mailing or personal delivery a candidate may request that an error in the candidate's name, residence, or party affiliation be corrected or that the candidate's preference as to the candidate's own name be used on the ballot. The candidate shall also have the right to make the choice as set forth in section 2474 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; amended 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.) § 1.)


 

Sub-Chapter 2: Nomination By Party Committee

§ 2381. Applicability of subchapter

(a) A candidate may also be nominated and have the candidate's name printed on the general election ballot in accordance with the provisions set forth in this subchapter, in the following instances:

(1) In case of a vacancy on the general election ballot occasioned by death, removal, or withdrawal of a candidate, or the failure of a major political party to nominate a candidate by primary;

(2) In case a minor political party desires to nominate a candidate for any office for which major political parties nominate candidates by primary or for the offices of president and vice-president of the United States;

(3) In case of nomination for the office of justice of the peace, in the event that such nomination has not already been made by caucus as provided in section 2413 of this title.

(b) In no event may any committee nominate a candidate or candidates for statewide office under this subchapter unless the political party has town committees organized in at least 10 towns in this state in accordance with procedures in chapter 45 of this title. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 24.)


§ 2382. Which committee to nominate

Nominations of party candidates pursuant to this subchapter shall be made by the following political committee of the party:

(1) By the state committee in the case of state or congressional officers;

(2) By the county committee in the case of county officers;

(3) By the senatorial district committee in the case of the office of state senator;

(4) By the representative district committee in the case of the office of representative to the general assembly;

(5) By the town committee in the case of the office of justice of the peace. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 2383. Notice of meetings

The chairman of the appropriate committee, or if the chairman has not called a meeting then any three members of the committee, may set a date, time, and place for a committee meeting for the nomination of candidates pursuant to this subchapter and shall give not less than five days' notice in writing to all members of the committee. The notice shall specifically state the offices for which nominations may be made. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 2384. Procedure upon meeting

At the time and place set for the meeting, the committee shall proceed to nominate such candidates as it may desire pursuant to this subchapter. Nomination shall require a majority of those present and voting, and if no candidate shall have received a majority after two ballots, the candidate with the lowest number of votes in the second and in each succeeding ballot shall be eliminated until a candidate receives a majority. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 2385. Statement by committee officers; consent of candidate

(a) When a nomination is made under the provisions of this subchapter, the chairman and the secretary of the committee making the nomination shall file a statement of nomination in substantially the following form:

"The  ...................................................... met on  ............................... and nominated the

(name of committee)                            (date)

following person (or persons) to be a candidate (or candidates) of the

.................................................................... for the office (or offices) indicated

(Name of political party)

.................................................................................................................................................

(Name of candidate)              (residence)                       (office for  which nominated)

"Notice of the meeting was properly given in compliance with all requirements of section 2383 of Title 17 and the procedures required by section 2384 of Title 17 were followed. A copy of the notice of the meeting is attached. "We swear under oath that we understand the above provisions of law and that the statements we have made in this document are true. Sworn to before me

...........................................................                         ..........................................................

Notary Public                                                               Signature of Chairman

...........................................................                         ..........................................................”

Date                                                                             Signature of Secretary

(b) The statement of nomination shall be signed by the chairman or acting chairman and secretary or acting secretary of the committee making the nomination. They shall swear in their statement of nomination that the notice requirements of section 2383 of this title and procedural requirements of section 2384 of this title were complied with and that the persons listed as candidates were nominated at the meeting.

     (c) A copy of the notice that was sent to all committee members pursuant to section 2383 of this title shall be filed along with the statement of nomination.

     (d) Except in the case of nominations for justice of the peace, the candidate named in the statement shall file a consent to having the candidate's name printed on the ballot, similar in form to the consent required in section 2361  of this title before the last day for filing statements of nomination. It shall be sufficient for meeting this requirement if the candidate signs the statement of nomination with a statement in substantially the following form:

 

     "I consent to having my name printed on the general election ballot for the

 office of _______________________________________________________________ .

(office for which nomination was made)

 

     My name (as I wish it to appear on the ballot), town or city of residence and party are as follows:

____________________            ____________________________  _______________________

Name (please print)             Town of residence (please print)      Party (please print)

______________________                 __________________________________________

Date                                                                 Signature of Candidate

                  ___________________________________________

Mailing Address

(e) In the case of nominations by town committee or caucus for the office of justice of the peace, before filing the statement of nomination the chairman, acting chairman, secretary or acting secretary shall check with each nominee and confirm that he consents to have his name printed on the ballot as a candidate for that position and to serve if elected. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; amended 1985, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)