The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 49: NOMINATIONS

 

Sub-Chapter 1: Primary Elections

§ 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.)

§ 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.)

§ 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.)

§ 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. A separate ballot for each major political party in the same format as is used for optical scan tabulator ballots 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]

________________________

 

Instructions to voters:  To vote for a candidate whose name is printed on the ballot, mark a cross (X) or fill in the oval at the right of that person's name and party designation. To vote for a candidate whose name is not printed on the ballot, write the person's name on the blank line in the appropriate block. When there are two or more persons to be elected to one office, you may vote for any number of candidates up to and including the maximum number.

(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.)

§ 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 party choice to any election official.

(b) All voting machines used in primary elections shall be so equipped that the voter can cast his or her vote for candidates within one party only, and without disclosing the party for whose candidates he or she is casting his or her vote. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

§§ 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; tie votes

Persons who receive a plurality of all the votes cast by a party in a primary shall be candidates of that party for the office designated on the ballot. If two or more candidates of the same party are tied for the same office, the choice among those tied shall be determined:

(1) Upon five days notice and not later than 10 days following the primary election, the state committee of a party, for a state or congressional office; the senatorial district committee for state senate; the county committee for county office; or the representative district committee for a representative to the general assembly shall meet to nominate a candidate from among the tied candidates.

(2) 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.)

§ 2370. Write-in candidates

A write-in candidate shall not qualify as a primary winner unless he or she receives at least one-half the number of votes 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. The write-in candidate who qualifies as a primary winner under this section must still be determined a winner under section 2369 of this title before he or she becomes the party's candidate in the general election. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 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.)

 

§ 2386. Time for filing statements

(a) Statements pursuant to this subchapter, except for vacancies created by the death or withdrawal of a candidate after the primary, shall be filed as set forth in section 2356 of this title.

(b) In the case of the death or withdrawal of a candidate after the primary election, the party committee shall have seven days from the date of the withdrawal to nominate a candidate. In no event, shall a statement be filed later than 60 days prior to the election. (Amended 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; 1985, No. 197 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2003, No. 59, § 13; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 7, 2010; 2009, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 10, 2010.)

§ 2387. Place for filing statements

Statements for the office of justice of the peace shall be filed with the town clerk. All other statements and consents shall be filed with the secretary of state. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)

 

Sub-Chapter 3: Independent Candidates

§ 2401. Applicability of subchapter

A person may be nominated and have his or her name printed on the general election ballot for any office by filing a consent similar in form to the consent prescribed by section 2361 of this title and a statement of nomination with the secretary of state. In the case of a nomination for justice of the peace, the consent form and statement of nomination shall be filed with the town clerk. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1995, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 2402. Requisites of statement

(a) A statement of nomination shall contain:

(1) The name of the office for which the nomination is made;

(2) The candidate's name and residence;

(3) If desired, a name, or other identification (in not more than three words) to be printed on the ballot following the candidate's name;

(4) In the case of nomination for president or vice president of the United States, the name and state of residence of each candidate for such office, together with the name, town of residence, and correct mailing address of each nominee for the office of elector. The statement of nomination shall include certification by the town clerk of each town where the signers appear to be voters that the persons whose names appear as signers of the statement are registered voters in the town and of the total number of valid signers from the town. Only the number of signers certified by each town clerk shall count toward the required number of signatures. The statement shall also be accompanied by a consent form from each nominee for elector. The consent form shall be similar to the consent form prescribed in section 2361 of this title.

(b)(1) To constitute a valid nomination, a statement shall contain signatures of voters qualified to vote in an election for the office in question, equal in number to at least:

(A) For presidential and vice presidential offices, 1,000;

(B) For state and congressional offices, 500;

(C) For county officers or state senators, 100;

(D) For representative to the general assembly, 50;

(E) For justice of the peace, 30 or one percent of the legal voters of the municipality, whichever is less.

(2) Signatures need not all be contained on one paper.

(c) A statement shall state that each signer is qualified to vote in an election for the office in question and that the voter's residence is as set forth next to the voter's name.

(d) A statement of nomination and a completed and signed consent form shall be filed as set forth in section 2356 of this title. No public official receiving nominations shall accept a petition unless a completed and signed consent form is filed at the same time.

(e) The secretary of state shall prescribe and furnish forms for a statement of nomination. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 30-32; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1995, No. 95 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2007, No. 54, § 3; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. May 6, 2008; 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. April 7, 2010; 2009, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 10, 2010.)

§ 2403. Number of candidates; party names

A statement of nomination shall contain the name of only one candidate, except in the case of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, who may be nominated by means of the same statement of nomination. A person shall not sign more than one statement of nomination for the same office. The political or other name on a statement of nomination shall be substantially different from the name of any organized political party. It shall also be substantially different from the political or other name already appearing on any other statement of nomination for the same office then on file with the same officer for the same election; if the secretary of state determines that it is not substantially different, the candidate named on the statement shall select a different political or other name, otherwise the secretary may reject the statement of nomination. Except in the case of presidential and vice presidential candidates, the word "independent" may not be used as part of a party name; if no party is indicated, the word "Independent" shall be printed on the ballot, and no candidate appearing on the ballot as a candidate of a political party shall also appear on the ballot as an "Independent."  (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2001, No. 5, § 15.)

§ 2404. Preservation of statements

The secretary of state shall preserve all statements until three months after the general election, after which they may be destroyed. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 34; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)

 

Sub-Chapter 4: Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 2411. Applicability of other law

Except as specifically provided in this chapter, all other provisions of this title shall govern the several procedures specified in this chapter for the making of nominations. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 2412. Withdrawal of candidacy

A candidate who has been validly nominated by one of the methods prescribed in this chapter shall have a right to withdraw his or her candidacy up until 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the primary by filing a written notice of withdrawal with the town clerk in case of a candidate for justice of the peace, and with the secretary of state in case of all other offices. The name of a candidate who has withdrawn shall not be printed on the ballot. After that date, if the candidate has filed a written notice of withdrawal, the town clerk or secretary of state may still remove the candidate's name from the ballot up until the printing deadline. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 35; 2003, No. 59, § 14.)

§ 2413. Nomination of justices of the peace

(a) The party members in each town, on or before the first Tuesday of August in each even numbered year, upon the call of the town committee, may meet in caucus and nominate candidates for justice of the peace. The committee shall give notice of the caucus as provided in subsection (d) of this section and the chairman and secretary shall file the statements required in section 2385 of this title not later than 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the primary election.

(b) If it does not hold a caucus as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the town committee shall meet and nominate candidates for justices of the peace as provided in sections 2381 through 2385 of this title.

(c) In any town in which a political party has not formally organized, any three members of the party who are voters in the town may call a caucus to nominate candidates for justice of the peace by giving notice as required in subsection (d) of this section. Upon meeting, the caucus shall first elect a chairman and a secretary. Thereafter the caucus shall nominate its candidates for justice of the peace, and cause its chairman and secretary to file the statements required in section 2385 of this title not later than 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the primary election.

(d) When a caucus is held to nominate candidates for justice of the peace, the town committee or other persons calling the caucus shall post the notice of caucus in at least three public places in the town, not less than seven days before the date of the caucus; in towns having a population of more than 1,000, they shall also publish the notice of caucus in a newspaper having general circulation in the town, not less than three days before the date of the caucus. (Added 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 36; amended 2009, No. 73 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. April 7, 2010; 2009, No. 98 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 10, 2010.)

 

Sub-Chapter 5: Presidential Nominations

§ 2420. Repealed. 1985, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.