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Guide to NH Town Meeting, March 12

Guide to NH Town Meeting, March 12

Town Meeting in New Hampshire is coming up March 12. Here's what you need to know. By Seng Kui Lim/Getty

By Katy Savage

March 7, 2024

What is Town Meeting?

It’s a New Hampshire tradition that dates back to the 1600s. This is a day where residents across the state gather at  town halls, gyms, and community centers and vote. They may elect Select Board members and school commissioners, vote on school and town budgets, and other items.

What are Warrant Articles? 

The warrant establishes the agenda for the meeting.

There are two ways articles get on the warrant:  

  1. The Select Board can decide items to put on the warrant, such as asking voters to buy a new fire truck. 
  2. Or, voters can also petition to get an article on the warrant. 

What happens during the Town Meeting? 

The town moderator is in charge of running the meeting and establishing rules of governance. Many follow Robert’s Rules of Order, but they aren’t required to do so. 

The people have the last word 

If you don’t like an article (e.g., let’s say you think a fire truck is too costly), you can propose an amendment to the article. As long as someone seconds the amendment, the amendment will go to a vote in the room.

What are SB2 towns?

Not every town will meet on Town Meeting Day. 

Some towns have adopted an SB2 model, instituted by the Legislature in 1995. Under SB 2, a “deliberative session” is held about a month prior to the election, wherein residents gather to talk about the articles. However, no voting takes place. The voting is done on an established election day. Towns or school districts may hold elections on the second Tuesday in March, the second Tuesday in April, or the second Tuesday in May.  

Where can I vote?

Check your town’s website for where Town Meeting is held and where voting takes place.

How do I register to vote?

In order to participate, you must be a registered voter of the town. If you aren’t registered yet, you can register to vote at your polling place on election day.  Be sure to bring your photo ID, proof of citizenship, and proof of domicile to expedite the process.

Here’s a list of other resources:  

Town Meeting explainer (by NHPR)

Understand your rights: 16 things to know about Town Meeting

603 Forward voting guide 

 

 

 

 

Author

  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up.

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