For some reason, I have not received muninet messages today but the question below was forwarded to me by another town clerk.
The Question was:  for those towns that use Australian Ballot for elected officials at town meeting.

*         Is it a conflict for a candidate to work the polls during the day?

*         Is it a conflict to have a candidate or a candidates family member present to count ballots, even though they are not the ballots for either member?

First, unless your town has a charter that modifies state law, read 17 V.S.A. 2456.

 2456. Disqualifications

Notwithstanding the preceding sections of this subchapter, no person shall serve as an election official in any election in which his or her name appears on a ballot of the Australian ballot system as a candidate for any office unless he or she is the only candidate for that office, or unless the office for which he or she is a candidate is that of moderator, justice of the peace, town clerk, treasurer, ward clerk, or inspector of elections. When an Australian ballot is not used, a person shall not serve as an election official during the election to fill any office for which he or she is a nominee.
So, if a member of the BCA is running for state representative, the exception above, does not apply and the candidate cannot serve as an election official UNLESS he or she is the only candidate for state rep in the election.

If an election official is running unopposed, and so the statute allows the person to work as an election official, the best practice is for the official on the ballot to work on the exit checklist or some task where he or she is not constantly interacting with voters before the voter marks the ballot.

Also, if hand counting, the candidate should not count votes for his or her office, but because some towns are very small, it is not unusual to have a candidate or candidate's family members count the school ballots, if the candidate is running for town office, for example.  A candidate or candidate's family should not count ballots for the office that the candidate is seeking.

Best Regards, Kathy


Kathleen  S. DeWolfe

Director of Elections & Campaign Finance

Office of the Secretary of State

26 Terrace St.

Montpelier, VT 05609-1101

(802) 828-2304

Visit us at http://www.sec.state.vt.us, click on Elections

________________________________
From: Vermont Municipal Clerks Treasurers Association [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Donna Berry
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 12:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: conflicts for town meeting
Question for those towns that use Australian Ballot for elected officials at town meeting.

*         Is it a conflict for a candidate to work the polls during the day?

*         Is it a conflict to have a candidate or a candidates family member present to count ballots, even though they are not the ballots for either member?

In  such a small town it would nearly be impossible not to have a conflict somewhere.  How do other towns handle these situations?

Hope everyone has a good town meeting!
Thank you
Donna Berry
Town Clerk
Town of Concord