Vermont Law on Political Campaigning Outside of Polling
Places on Election Day
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The law was amended in 2001 to give more authority to the Presiding
Officer on the day of the election. The Presiding officer can prohibit all signs from being placed
in the ground or affixed to anything on the property of the polling place. However, the presiding
officer cannot prohibit a person from standing and holding a sign outside the polling place so long
as the person does not hinder or impede the progress of any voter going into or out of the polling
- Political Campaign signs at the Polling Place on Election Day may be regulated by the Presiding
Officer. 17 V.S.A.§2508.
For the day of the election, the Presiding Officer can adopt a policy to allow signs to be
placed in certain areas so long as the policy is applied evenly to all candidates or political
issues regardless of the political content. The Presiding officer can limit the size or number of
signs per candidate.
Candidates or political activists can stand outside of polling places on the day of election and
hand out brochures or "palm cards" to voters so long as they do not hinder or impede the
progress of voters going into and out of the polling place. 24 V.S.A.§2508. There is no
specific number of feet away from the polling place limitation in Vermont law. It is up to the
Presiding Officer at each polling place to set reasonable rules to allow voters to enter and leave
the polling place without interference. The rules will depend on the physical characteristics of
the each polling place.
Generally the presiding officer will come outside early in the day to explain to all
interested persons where they can stand and greet voters, where they can stand to hold signs, and
where they can stand to offer printed information to voters. In our experience, most people
generally abide by the rules established by the presiding officer without any problems. If there
is a problem, the presiding officer can call a law enforcement officer for assistance.
No political literature, buttons, or other political materials can be DISPLAYED inside the
polling place. 17 V.S.A.§2508. However, any voter can bring a small brochure, card, or paper
into the voting booth with him or her to assist the voter in casting his votes. The voter must
remove the literature and take it out of the polling place when he or she has finished voting. We
strongly suggest that presiding officers arrange to have either an election official or volunteer
check the voting booths frequently to make sure that no literature has been left in the booths.
Exit polls or surveys can be done outside of the polling place so long as a voter voluntarily
offers to participate and the persons conducting the polls or surveys does not hinder or impede the
progress of the voter as he or she enters or leaves the polling place. 17 V.S.A.§2508. No
person (not even town officials) can be allowed to distribute surveys or questionnaires inside the
Any person can park a car, van, or truck in a legal parking space on a public street or in a
public parking lot with a political campaign sign displayed even in the vicinity of the polling
place. If the car is not legally parked, the presiding officer can ask a law enforcement
officer to arrange to have the car moved. If the car is legally parked, the display of the sign is
In establishing reasonable rules for campaigning outside of the polling place, the presiding
officer must establish a sufficient number of parking spaces to allow voters with disabilities to
have access to the polling place, or to have two election officials bring ballots out to the
disabled person’s car.