Make a voting plan & vote your values

When we meet people’s basic needs—housing, health care, education—everyone can thrive. Ensuring that everyone has access to housing will make our communities stronger and more vibrant—criminalizing unhoused people will not. Harm reduction approaches to address the overdose crisis will save lives and make our communities safer—further criminalizing drug use will not. Stronger oversight will make police more accountable to the people they serve, including people of color, people with lower incomes, and people with disabilities—more police and prisons will not.

Our communities are struggling. We all know it and we can all feel it. That’s why we need leadership that prioritizes justice, equity, and compassion—and why it is crucial that you vote your values this town meeting day.

What is Town Meeting Day?

Democracy requires active participation, and voting in local elections is one of the most effective ways for you to make your community more vibrant, just, and equitable. Town Meeting Day is a longstanding tradition in Vermont where towns and cities vote on local matters, like Selectboard or City Council seats and school or town budgets.

Historically, it has also been an opportunity for neighbors to engage in robust discussion about a range of civic issues facing their communities during an in-person meeting. The tradition has evolved over time, with different municipalities adopting their own unique practices—including changing the date, location, and method of voting in these elections—so it requires a little bit of research to determine exactly how voting works in your community and what will be on the ballot, when. 

With this year also being a presidential election year, you will also have the opportunity to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Primary. Vermont has open primaries, which means you can choose which primary election you wish to cast a ballot in when you vote.

In some communities, the only election on March 5th will be the presidential primary.

Make Your Voting Plan

Step 1: Register to Vote

The first step to voting on Town Meeting Day is making sure you are registered to vote. Vermont offers same day registration, but it does not hurt to make sure you are registered ahead of time! Log onto your MyVoterPage or contact your Town or City Clerk to register, check your status, and/or make any necessary updates to your voter information.

Do not let being unsure about your voting registration status prevention you from turning out on Town Meeting Day, you can always register at the polls.

Step 2: Confirm when, where, and how to vote

The best way to find out more about how your community handles Town Meeting Day is to consult your Town or City Clerk’s office or log in to your MyVoterPage. You can find a full list of Vermont’s town clerks’ offices and their contact information starting on page 4 of this helpful guide from the Secretary of State’s Office. Your clerk can also confirm whether mail-in ballots are automatically being distributed or if you must request one if you wish to vote by mail.

Community newspapers and your local elected officials may also serve as a resource for learning more about when and where to vote and what Town Meeting Day looks like in your municipality. Curious how things work at a town meeting? Chapters 3, 4, and 6 of A Citizen's Guide to Vermont Town Meeting offers additional information about this tradition and the differences between "floor meeting" and "Australian ballot" style voting.

Step 3: Find out who and what is on the ballot

Your MyVoterPage or Town/City Clerk should be able to provide guidance about who and what will be on the ballot or up for discussion at your town meeting. Typically, this may include candidates for seats on your local government, or a vote on school and/or town budgets. 

Research the candidates and find out whose positions most closely align with your own. Keep an eye out for any informational events or community forums about what is on the ballot.

Step 4: Decide when and how you will vote

Once you have researched the candidates and issues and found out how voting mechanics work in your community, it is time to commit to a plan for when and how you will cast your vote--whether that is by mail or in-person. Then, ask three friends about their voting plan!