The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 17: Elections

Chapter 51: CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

Sub-Chapter 09: Recounts And Contest Of Elections

17 V.S.A. § 2603. Contest of elections



§ 2603. Contest of elections

(a) The result of an election for any office, other than for the general assembly, or public question may be contested by any legal voter entitled to vote on the office or public question to be contested.

(b) A contest is initiated by filing a complaint with a superior court alleging:

(1) that errors were committed in the conduct of the election or in count or return of votes, sufficient to change the ultimate result;

(2) that there was fraud in the electoral process, sufficient to change the ultimate result; or

(3) that for any other reason, the result of the election is not valid.

(c) The complaint shall be filed within 15 days after the election in question, or if there is a recount, within 10 days after the court issues its judgment on the recount. In the case of candidates for state or congressional office, for a presidential election, or for a statewide public question, the complaint shall be filed with the civil division of the superior court, Washington County. In the case of any other candidate or public question, the complaint shall be filed with the superior court in any county in which votes were cast for the office or question being challenged.

(d) The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to contests of elections, except that such cases shall be placed upon a special calendar, and hearings shall be scheduled on a priority basis, as public policy demands that such questions be resolved promptly.

(e) After hearing, the court shall issue findings of fact and a judgment, which shall supersede any certificate of election previously issued. If the court finds just cause, the court shall grant appropriate relief, which may include, without limitation, ordering a recount, or ordering a new election. If during the hearing the court receives credible evidence of criminal conduct, the court shall order a transcript of all or part of the testimony to be forwarded to the proper state's attorney. If a new election is ordered, the court shall set a date for it, after consulting with the secretary of state; in ordering a new election, the court shall have authority to issue appropriate orders, either to provide for special cases not covered by law, or to supersede provisions of law which may conflict with the needs of the particular situation.

(f) The court shall send a certified copy of its findings of fact and judgment to the secretary of state. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1979, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 94, 95; 1981, No. 239 (Adj. Sess.), § 19;  1985, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1985, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 141.)