Vt. settles absentee ballot suit with more time
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | October 20,2012
MONTPELIER — Vermont will extend the deadline to Nov. 16 for Vermont military and other overseas voters to get their absentee ballots home to ensure they are counted in next month’s election, according to a settlement reached Friday with the U.S. Justice Department.
The agreement means the results from the Nov. 6 election won’t be made official until later in the month, tentatively Nov. 20.
“We’re pleased that we’re able to avoid litigation and we’ve come to an agreement that works for both of us,” said Secretary of State Jim Condos.
The deal settles a lawsuit, ending a legal battle that began after the state couldn’t send ballots to Vermont military and others serving overseas ahead of a Sept. 22 deadline.
Federal law requires that such ballots be sent by mail or email 45 days before the general election, which is Nov. 6. Some Vermont ballots were delayed because of a recount in the Progressive Party gubernatorial primary. The primary was Aug. 28, and results from that vote were not made final until Sept. 18.
Condos said 196 ballots were delayed but 154 of those were sent out by email two days after the deadline.
“We do think that there will be very few votes that will come in after election day,” he said.
He said he plans to ask the Legislature to move up the primary date to allow more time in the case of a recount.