State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Vermont

This information was updated in March 2017.

State Summary:

Vermont's audit statute was signed into law in 2007. With the passage of SB 86 in 2014, Vermont’s post-election audits became mandatory rather than at the discretion of the Secretary of State. Vermont's post-election audits are not binding on official results and do not lead to full recounts. Rules and procedures for Vermont's post-election audit are found in 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493 and the Code of Vermont Rules (CVR).

Transparency:

No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks
Statutes require that audit results and data be made public
Statutes specify that audits must be conducted publicly

The Secretary of State is to "publicly announce the results of the audit as well as the results from the original return of the vote." See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(C). The same rules that apply for the initial counting of the ballots apply for the audit.  According to these rules, the public is allowed to observe the counting process. There is no reference to whether the public can verify marks on the ballots. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2581.

Voting Systems Used:

Paper ballot

Vermont uses precinct-count optical scanners or hand counts statewide. For details visit the Vermont page on The Verifier.

Binding:

No statutory guidance whether audit results are binding on official results

The audit results may be used as a basis for investigating potential election fraud, but they do not automatically change the official results. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(D).

Audit Comprehensiveness:

Absentee ballots included in audit
Ballots counted by hand on election day included in the audit

The Secretary conducts an audit of "any polling place election results." See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(A). The polling place election results include absentee ballots. See CVR 04-010-001(5).  The audit also includes ballots counted by hand on election day. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(C).

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

Contests and Issues Audited:

Every contest and ballot issue voted on the ballot is audited
Federal election contests audited
Local election contests audited
Primary elections audited
Statewide election contests audited

Vermont's statute does not list any predetermined contests, or provide a procedure for randomly selecting contests or issues for auditing. This suggests the entire ballot is audited. The statute states that audits may occur for primary as well as general elections. See  17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(A).

Type of Audit Units:

Precincts/districts

The statute uses the term "polling places" rather than "precincts," but does not provide any requirements regarding the number of polling places to be randomly selected by the Secretary of State. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(A). According to the Vermont Office of the Secretary of State, the selection of polling places is determined by the Secretary of State.

Counting Method:

Mix of machine and hand count

"The Secretary shall open the ballot bags and conduct the audit in the same manner as ballots are counted under sections 2581 through 2588 of this chapter."  See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(C). This means that the counting method used for the audit is the same as the counting method used in the polling place on election day (i.e. polling places that were hand counted would be audited by hand count and polling places that used tabulators would be audited by tabulators).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: The Secretary of State both conducts and oversees the audit. Should the audit results suggest potential election fraud, further action may be taken by the Attorney General. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493 (a)(3)(D).

Timeline for Audit: The audit must be conducted within 30 days of the election. See 17 Vt. Stat. Ann. §2493(a)(3)(A).

Additional Resources:


Vermont Secretary of State---Elections
Vermont Statutes Title 17 Elections
Code of Vermont Rules





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