Vermont Audit Information

This information was updated in August 2014 using Title 17 of the Vermont Statutes (17 V.S.) current through the 2014 legislative session, and the Code of Vermont Rules (CVR), current through July 11, 2014. 

All references to statutes below can be found in Title 17 of the Vermont Statutes available here

State Summary

Vermont’s audit statute was signed into law in 2007.  The current version of the statute requires that the Secretary of State conduct an audit.  Audits are not binding on official results and do not lead to full recounts.

Transparency: 

Statutes specify that audits must be conducted publicly

Statutes require that audit results and data be made public

No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks

 

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 V.S. 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 V.S. 2581

Voting Systems Used: 

Paper ballot (optical scanners, hand counted paper ballots, or a mix)

 

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Binding: 

No statutory guidance binding audit results on election 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 V.S. 2493(a)(3)(D).

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit: 

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit

Audit Comprehensiveness: 

Absentee ballots included in the 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 V.S.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 V.S 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

Primary elections audited

Local election contests audited

Statewide election contests audited

Federal 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 V.S. 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 V.S. 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 V.S. 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 V.S. 2493 (a)(3)(D).

 

Timeline for Audit:

The audit must be conducted within 30 days of the election. See 17 V.S. 2493(a)(3)(A).