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Thanks Will.  The only legal question left unanswered is with regards to
sending out absentee ballots to all those who requested them at the original
election.  I ran this by Kathy Scheele several years ago and was told those
original requesters are entitled to receive the re-vote ballot as the
re-vote is a continuation of the original election.  Is there anything in
statute to support that?

 

Thanks again.

 

Carol D

 

Carolyn S. Dawes, CVT

Barre City Clerk/Treasurer

6 North Main St.

PO Box 418

Barre, VT   05641

(802) 476-0242 phone

(802) 476-0264 fax

www.barrecity.org

 

 

 

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Senning, Will
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 12:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: School budget revote

 

Roberta,

 

  The basic answer to the question you are raising is that you have to
simply do your best in this situation to have the ballots prepared and sent
to voters who request an absentee ballot as soon as possible – as far in
advance of the vote as you can.  Due to the statutorily shortened time frame
for votes on a budget after it has been rejected, it is impossible to comply
with the standard absentee ballot requirements (that they be prepared no
less than 20 days before the election and sent to the voter upon request.)

 

  There is support in the statutes for this approach.  16 V.S.A. §711e
<http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=16&Chapter=011&Se
ction=00711e>  governs the process for union school districts that vote
their budget by Australian ballot.  Subsection (a) makes it clear that union
school district budget votes by Australian ballot should follow the
procedures set out in 17 V.S.A. §2680
<http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=17&Chapter=055&Se
ction=02680> .  Both of these statutes state that “[i]f the proposed budget
is rejected . . . the date of the public informational meeting shall be at
least five days following the public notice. [and] The date of the vote
shall be at least seven days following the public notice.”  So it is clear
from both of these statutes that there is a reduced warning time for a vote
on a budget after it has been rejected – 7 days instead of the standard 30.
The reason for this is that the legislature saw a need for municipal budgets
to be passed as soon as possible, and waiting thirty days to have a budget
on the books was too long.

 

  Subsection (e) of 16 V.S.A. §711e states that “[u]nless clearly
inconsistent, the provisions of 17 V.S.A. chapter 55 [“Local Elections”]
shall apply to actions taken under this section.”  This means that, unless
it is clearly inconsistent, the standard local election laws apply to these
union school district budget votes.  Here, the provision of the election
laws (Chap. 55) that requires ballots to be prepared no less than 20 days
before the election is clearly inconsistent with the provision allowing for
a meeting to be warned for no less than 7 days.  Since it is clearly
inconsistent, and the absentee rules in Title 17 cannot possibly be applied,
you are left to comply as closely as you possibly can with those laws.  In
this case that means, as I stated at the beginning, you simply have to do
your best to have the ballots prepared and available for absentee and early
voters as soon as possible.

 

  I have reviewed your question and my response with the Agency of Education
and they agree with this interpretation.    

 

  Please always feel free to contact me directly with your questions.

 

Regards,

 

Will

 

 

William Senning

Elections Administrator

Office of the Secretary of State

128 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05633-1101

Phone: (802) 828-0175

FAX: (802) 828-5171

  _____  

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Roberta Dana
Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 7:39 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: School budget revote

 

On Town meeting day, our union district school budget was not passed
(Australian ballot).

The school board is planning on making final decisions on a new budget at a
school board meeting to be held on March 14th.

They will need to print ballots and deliver them to the three town clerks in
the district.  

They are planning on having the school budget revote on March 27th which is
less than two weeks from their final budget decision meeting meaning that in
my estimation, there will not be enough time allowed for the clerks to
accept requests for absentee ballots, mail out absentee ballots and then for
the registered voters to get their ballots returned to the town office by
the end of voting day.  Also, we do have a situation where a registered
voter is leaving the country on vacation more than likely before the ballots
are ready meaning that this voter will NOT get a chance to vote on this
issue.

Is this just a "tough luck" voter or is this a legal issue?

IMHO, the vote is being rushed and there could very well be more voters out
there that will not be able to vote due to the constricted timing!

Any opinions are welcome!

 

 

 

Roberta Dana
Groton Town Treasurer
& Collector of Current Taxes
1476 Scott Hwy
Groton, VT 05046
802-584-3131
[log in to unmask]