Vermont Supreme Court Rules Ballots Public Record After 90 Days
Vermont: To preserve the integrity of an election the ballots from it must be kept sealed and inaccessible for 90 days. After this period of time has passed, clerks are allowed by law to destroy the election material. However, if the ballot and tally sheets are not destroyed after that time, they become public record. 
The issue came from a request in 2008 from Timothy Price to Fairlee officials to view ballots from the year 2006. After asking a judge permission to see the ballots, the judge determined that Price should have asked the town clerk, and by that time the records were destroyed.
On Friday, April 29, 2011, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in a 4 to 1 opinion that the ballots and tally sheets should become public record after 90 days. Associate Justice Brian Burgess said that “When that time has run and the election results have been certified, however, the purpose of maintaining the ballots under seal has been fully served, and the confidentiality requirement rendered superfluous. Subsequent disclosure of the ballots and tally sheets can have no effect on the election’s outcome or finality."
Associate Justice John Dooley felt that the disclosure of such records could undermine the public's confidence in election results that are later found to have errors and discrepancies, but the majority of the court disagreed. Dooley then dissented, saying that a new law was being created by the majority.
“This is an example of creating a right where the governing statute does not provide for it. The right the majority has created is logical for the reasons it states. I agree that it would be good public policy. I cannot agree that we can make it up.” Dooley stated.
He also went on to note that discussions of changing the records act this year was being done by state lawmakers.
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