Title 17: Elections
Chapter 43: QUALIFICATION AND REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
17 V.S.A. § 2150. Removing names from checklist
§ 2150. Removing names from checklist
(a) When a voter from one town becomes a resident of another town and is placed on the checklist there, the clerk shall send one copy of the voter registration application form or other official notice to the clerk of the town where the voter was formerly a resident, and that clerk shall strike the voter's name from the checklist of that town. Likewise, when a town clerk receives a copy of the death certificate of a voter, public notice of the death of a voter, or official notice from the department of motor vehicles that a voter has authorized his or her address to be changed for voting purposes, the clerk shall strike the voter's name from the checklist. A town clerk shall also strike from the checklist the name of any voter who files a written request that his or her name be stricken.
(b) The board of civil authority at any time may consider the eligibility of persons on the checklist whom the board believes may be deceased, may have moved from the municipality, or may be registered in another place and may remove names of persons no longer qualified to vote. However, the board shall not remove any name from the checklist except in accordance with the procedures in subsection (d) of this section and any systematic program for removing names from the checklist shall be completed at least 90 days before an election.
(c) In addition to any actions it takes under subsections (a) and (b) of this section, by September 15 of each odd-numbered year the board of civil authority shall review the most recent checklist name by name and consider, for each person whose name appears on the checklist, whether that person is still qualified to vote. In every case where the board of civil authority is unable to determine under subdivisions (d)(1) and (2) of this section that a person is still qualified to vote, the board of civil authority shall send a written notice to the person and take appropriate action as provided in subdivisions (d)(3) through (5) of this section. The intent is that when this process is completed there will have been some confirmation or indication of continued eligibility for each person whose name remains on the updated checklist.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, a board of civil authority shall only remove a name from the checklist in accordance with the following procedure:
(1) If the board of civil authority is satisfied that a voter whose eligibility is being considered is still qualified to vote in the municipality, the voter's name shall remain on the checklist, and no further action shall be taken.
(2) If the board of civil authority does not immediately know that the voter is still qualified to vote in the municipality, the board shall attempt to determine with certainty what the true status of the voter's eligibility is. The board of civil authority may consider and rely upon official and unofficial public records and documents, including but not limited to, telephone directories, city directories, newspapers, death certificates, obituary (or other public notice of death), tax records, any checklist or checklists showing persons who voted in any election within the last four years. The board of civil authority may also designate one or more persons to attempt to contact the voter personally. Any voter whom the board of civil authority finds through such inquiry to be eligible to remain on the checklist shall be retained without further action being taken. The name of any voter proven to be deceased shall be removed from the checklist.
(3) If after conducting its inquiry the board of civil authority is unable to locate a voter whose name is on the checklist, or if the inquiry reveals facts indicating that the voter may no longer be eligible to vote in the municipality, the board of civil authority shall send a written notice to the voter. The notice shall be sent by first class mail to the most recent known address of the voter asking the voter to verify his or her current eligibility to vote in the municipality. The notice shall be sent with the required United States Postal Service language for requesting change of address information. Enclosed with the notice shall be a postage paid pre-addressed return form on which the voter may reply swearing or affirming the voter's current place of residence as the municipality in question or alternatively consenting to the removal of the voter's name. The notice required by this subsection shall also include the following:
(A) A statement informing the voter that if the voter has not changed his or her residence, or if the voter has changed his or her residence but the change was within the area covered by the checklist, the voter should return the form to the town clerk's office on or before the date upon which the checklist is closed under section 2144 of this title. The statement shall also inform the voter that if he or she fails to return the form as provided in this subdivision, written affirmation of the voter's address shall be required before the voter is permitted to vote.
(B) Information concerning how the voter can register to vote in another state or another municipality within this state.
(4) If the voter confirms in writing that the voter has changed his or her residence to a place outside the area covered by the checklist, the board of civil authority shall remove the voter's name from the checklist.
(5) In the case of voters who failed to respond to the notice sent pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, the board of civil authority shall remove the voter's name from the checklist on the day after the second general election following the date of such notice, if the voter has not voted or appeared to vote in an election since the notice was sent or has not otherwise demonstrated his or her eligibility to remain on the checklist.
(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (5) of this subsection, if at any time subsequent to removal of a person's name from the checklist, the board determines that the person was still qualified to vote and that the voter's name should not have been removed, the board shall add the person's name to the checklist as provided in section 2147 of this title. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed, so that if there is any reasonable doubt whether a person's name should have been removed from the checklist the person shall have the right to have the person's name immediately returned to the checklist.
(7) The board of civil authority shall keep detailed records of its proceedings under this subchapter for at least two years. These records, except records relating to a person's decision not to register to vote or to the identity of the voter registration agency through which any particular voter registered, shall be public records and shall be available for inspection and copying at actual cost. The records shall include: (A) in the case of each name removed from the checklist, a clear statement of the reason or reasons for which the name was removed; (B) in the case of the updating of the checklist required by subsection (c) of this section, the working copy or copies of the checklist used in the name by name review conducted to ascertain continued eligibility to vote; (C) the total number of new registrations occurring during the period between general elections; (D) the total number of persons removed from the checklist during the period between general elections; and (E)
lists of the names and addresses of all persons to whom notices were sent under this subsection, and information concerning whether or not each person to whom a notice was sent responded to the notice as of the date that inspection of the records is made. A letter certifying compliance with this section shall be filed with the secretary of state by September 20 of each odd-numbered year. Upon request of any superior or district judge or upon request of the secretary of state the town clerk shall forward a certified copy of the records of checklist maintenance. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. July 1, 1982; § 40, eff. Jan. 1, 1983; 1983, No. 90, §§ 5, 6, eff. April 29, 1983; 1985, No. 45; 1997, No. 47, § 9; 2001, No. 5, § 9; 2003, No. 59, § 6.)