|VERMONT SECRETARY OF STATE - Jim Condos|
|State of Vermont
Office of the
Secretary of State
Volume 5 Number 2
Getting Ready at the Polls
Town clerks should furnish presiding officers with one or two certified copies of the checklist, depending on whether the town has opted not to use an exit checklist. 17 V.S.A. § 2507.
Town clerks must also deliver sufficient quantities of the ballots to the presiding officer. 17 V.S.A. § 2479.
The presiding officer should assign specific duties to each election official, ensuring that the election officials work in pairs, with each pair containing members from different political parties, if possible.
17 V.S.A. § 2562.
In an Australian Ballot Election the presiding officer declares the polls open on the day of the election between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. (the specific time is set by the board of civil authority or by the voters), and declares the polls closed at 7 p.m. 17 V.S.A § 2581.
Town meeting begins at a time designated by the legislative body, unless the town has voted a specific time at a previous meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2655.
Public Discussion and Politicking in the Polling Place
In towns that start their annual meeting on one of the three days preceding the first Tuesday in March and use the Australian Ballot system on Tuesday, public discussions of ballot issues and all other issues appearing in the warning, other than election of officers, is permitted at the Saturday, Sunday or Monday meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2640(c). Neither the warning, the notice, nor the ballot itself shall include any opinion or comment by any town body or officer or other person on any matter to be voted on. 17 V.S.A. § 2666.
In an Australian Ballot Election the presiding officer should ensure that within the building containing the polling place no campaign literature, stickers, buttons, information on write-on candidates or political materials are placed, handed out, or allowed to remain and that no candidate, election official or other person distributes election materials, solicits voters or otherwise campaigns. 17 V.S.A. § 2508.
Outside the building, the presiding officer must ensure that voters can enter and leave the polling place without interference from candidates or other citizens. 17 V.S.A. § 2508. The provisions of this section apply equally to election of candidates as to votes on public questions, including the budget, if done by Australian Ballot vote.
Maintaining Order at Town Meeting
In traditional town meeting, the moderator must follow reasonable and
necessary procedures to ensure that people who are not voters of the town
do not vote. 17 V.S.A. § 2656.
Remember that while Roberts Rules of Order or some other rules of procedure must be followed at town meeting, state law has modified these rules. For example, the assembly must not reconsider articles already voted once consideration of another article has begun; take no binding action during the "other business" portion of the meeting; allow sufficient time for voters to cast paper ballots whenever that method of voting is to be used. 17 V.S.A. §§ 2660(d); 2661(a).
Accessibility of Town Meeting
The legislative body must take reasonable measures to ensure that elderly or disabled voters may conveniently attend town meeting. Sign Language interpreters must be provided, if necessary. 17 V.S.A. § 2667 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Town Meeting must be held in an accessible location.
The board of civil authority must take reasonable measures to ensure that disabled and elderly voters may conveniently and secretly cast their votes. If it is not possible to hold the election in an accessible location, election officials must be permitted to carry a ballot to an elderly or disabled person in order to permit that person to mark his or her ballot while in a motor vehicle adjacent to the polling place. 17 V.S.A. § 2502.
A voter who declares to the presiding officer that he or she needs assistance voting may bring a person of his or her choice into the voting booth (so long as it is not the voter's employer or union representative) or the voter can ask the presiding officer to direct to elections officials to assist the voter. Those rendering assistance may not divulge information about the choice of the voter or manner in which the vote was cast. 17 V.S.A. § 2569.
Election of Officers
In order to be elected as a write-in candidate in an Australian Ballot election when no other candidate has received a greater number of votes, a candidate must receive 30 votes or the votes of 1% of the registered voters of the town, whichever is less. 17 V.S.A. § 2682 (c).
In traditional town meeting elections, the offices of selectboard, lister and auditor must be elected by paper ballot (unless it is done by Australian ballot). The offices of road commissioner and water commissioner, if elected, must also be elected by paper ballot. 17 V.S.A. § 2646.
A majority of those present and voting is required to elect an officer by paper ballot(unless the vote is by Australian Ballot.) This means that if there are three candidates, none of whom receive a majority of the votes by the third ballot, you must eliminate the candidate with the least votes and repeat the procedure until someone receives a majority of the votes. 17 V.S.A. § 2660(c).
When there is a single candidate, unless any voter opposes this, the town may agree to ask the clerk to cast one ballot for the candidate. 17 V.S.A. § 2660(b).
Table of Contents | Past Issues of Opinions | Secretary of State's Homepage
Tip of the Month
I have a listserve of title searchers, attorneys, etc that I e-mail with any unusual closing of my office due to seminars, holidays, etc. They find this most helpful.
I also have a handout on my counter, that lists the hours of my office, tax due dates, the tax rate, village office telephone numbers, names and telephone numbers of local officials etc.
If you have a tip that you would like to share in a future Opinions newsletter please send it to:
Dencie L. Mitchell, Grand Isle Town Clerk & Treasurer
P.O. Box 49
Grand Isle, VT 05458
Or email it to her firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for Tax Collector to turn over moneys collected and settle account with Treasurer. 24 V.S.A. § 1532
Last day for Listers to file corrected grand list for preceding year in order to render it valid. 32 V.S.A. § 4112
Last day to hold first public hearing on charter amendments if article is to be voted at Town Meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2645(a)(3)
(Not less than 30 days before Town Meeting) Last day for municipality to post warning and notice of Town Meeting. Also post most recent checklist. 17 V.S.A. § 2641(a), 2642, 2521(a)
(25 days before Town Meeting) Auditors must meet by this date to examine and adjust town finances. 24 V.S.A. § 1681
(25 days before Town Meeting) Town officers must settle accounts with Auditors to be eligible for re-election. 24 V.S.A. § 992
Last day for any municipality which has enacted special weight limits, which are other than State legal limits for highways and bridges, to file complete copy of the limitations with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 23 V.S.A. § 1400b
Last day for Selectboard to file with Town Clerk annual statement of description and measurement of all Class 1, 2 and 3 town highways, then in existence, including special designations. 19 V.S.A. § 305(b)
February 12: (In towns using Australian Ballot 20 days before election) Under direction of the Town Clerk, ballots must be back from printer. Machine ballots must be tested at least 10 days before the election.17 V.S.A. § 2681a(a)
February 18: (At least two weeks before Town Meeting) Town Clerk must have liquor ballots printed if liquor issue is on Annual Meeting agenda and if town does not use Australian Ballot. 7 V.S.A. § 163
Last day for legislative body to post warning for public informational hearing on any public question to be voted by Australian Ballot at Town Meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2680(g)
(Second Saturday before the election) Town Clerk's office must be open from 10:00 a.m. or earlier until at least 12:00 noon for the purpose of receiving applications for addition to the checklist or notices of intent to register from people moving to town or turning 18 before the election. 17 V.S.A. § 2144(a)
Last day for Town Clerk to receive a request for an application for addition to the checklist simultaneously with a request for an early voter or absentee ballot. 17 V.S.A. § 2532(b)(c)
(At least 10 days before Town Meeting) Last day for Town Clerk authorized by voters to approve additions to the checklist to forward to Board of Civil Authority a list of voters added. 17 V.S.A. § 2144b(d)
First day (after 12:00 noon) for Board of Civil Authority to revise checklist resulting from application deadline for Town Meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2142
(At least 10 days before Town Meeting) Selectboard must mail or otherwise distribute Town Meeting warning in annual town report by this date to avoid publishing warning in newspaper. 17 V.S.A. § 2641(b)
(At least 10 days before Annual Meeting) Auditors' Report, or the findings of the public accountant employed in accordance with 17 V.S.A. § 2651(b), must be distributed. 24 V.S.A. § 1682, 17 V.S.A. § 2651b
Last day for Town Clerk to post sample ballots and official voter information cards in the same places Clerk has previously posted copies of the warning, notice and checklist. 17 V.S.A. § 2522(a)
(10 days before the election) Candidates for local election who are spending more than $500 must file a campaign finance report with officer with whom nominating papers were filed. 17 V.S.A. § 2822, 2103(13)
February 23: State Withholding Tax Return is due if reporting more than $2500 but less than $9000 per quarter. 32 V.S.A. § 5842(a)(3)
February 24: (Any of the eight days before or the day of the election) In towns using Australian Ballot, Town Clerk must give pairs of Justices ballots, envelopes, to deliver to ill or physically disabled voters. 17 V.S.A. § 2538(b)(c)
(Five days before Town Meeting) Treasurer must settle accounts with Auditors. 24 V.S.A. § 1578
Town Meeting Warning must be published in
newspaper by this date if town report has not been distributed otherwise.
17 V.S.A. § 2641(b)
March 2003 Calendar
March 1:(At least three days prior to election) By this date Board of Civil Authority must designate pairs of Justices assuring political balance in each pair to deliver ballots to ill and disabled voters in towns using Australian Ballot. 17 § 2538(a)
In towns using Australian Ballot, a voter or an authorized person on behalf of a voter, may request an early voter absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. or the closing of the Town Clerk's office. 17 § 2531(a), 2532(a)
Last day for legislative body to hold public informational hearing on any public question to be voted by Australian Ballot at Town Meeting. 17 § 2680(g)
TOWN MEETING DAY (First Tuesday in March). 1 § 371, 17 § 2640(a)
(Before polls open) In towns using Australian Ballot, Town Clerk must give Election Officials a list of those voters who have already cast early voter or absentee ballots. 17 § 2548(a)
March 5: (No later than 24 hours after polls closed) Presiding Officer and one other Election Official shall transfer the totals from the summary sheets to the return and both sign the return. 17 § 2588
March 9: (Within five days after Town Meeting) Town Clerk must certify financial actions of Town Meeting to Treasurer and to Chair of the Selectboard. 24 § 1167
March 10: (Within six days after Town Meeting) Town Clerk is to report to the Director of Property Valuation on method adopted at Town Meeting for collection of taxes. 32 § 5167
March 11: (Within seven days after election) Last day for Selectboard or Town Clerk to warn a run-off election if there was a tie vote for any Australian Ballot race at Town Meeting. 17 § 2682(e)
(Within 10 days after election) Last day for a defeated candidate requesting recount of an election voted by Australian Ballot to file a petition with the Town Clerk. 17 § 2683
(Within 10 days after the election) Deadline for a voter to file a request for a recount with the Town Clerk of any issue voted by Australian Ballot. 17 § 2688
(Within 10 days after Town Meeting) Last day for Town Clerk to certify to Secretary of State facts of origin and procedure followed for each municipal charter amendment proposal. Clerk shall also certify the result of any vote required before an act of the General Assembly takes effect. 17 § 2663, 2645(b)
Last day for candidates for Town Meeting local election who are spending more than $500 to file second campaign finance report with officer with whom nominating papers were filed. 17 § 2822
March 19: (Within 15 days after an election) Last day a voter contesting any Australian Ballot vote can file complaint with Superior Court. 17 § 2603(c)
March 26: (15 days after the warning of the run-off election) First day a run-off election may be held. 17:2682(e)
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