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.
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. Community newspapers and your local elected officials may also serve as a resource for learning more about when and how to vote, what issues will be on the ballot, and more.
In many communities—but not all—this year’s Town Meeting Day will be held on March 7, 2023. Your municipality might vote by a “floor meeting” or an “Australian ballot,” or a combination of the two. During a floor meeting, community members gather at a set time to discuss and vote on issues collectively. You can read more about the mechanics of floor meetings in Chapters 3, 4, and 6 of A Citizen’s Guide to Vermont Town Meeting. An Australian ballot is more like the process of voting in a primary or general election, where community members cast a secret ballot at their polling place during a larger window of time or by vote early by mail.
Towns and cities have evolved their Town Meeting Day tradition over time and use a combination of these two voting methods, and many have expanded early and mail-in voting options. Some have shifted entirely to an Australian ballot vote with an informational meeting or public hearings held in-person and/or on Zoom prior to the election. You will need to consult the Secretary of State’s Office and resources specific to your community to know when and how to vote.
We hope you will make your voice heard on important local matters during your community’s Town Meeting Day.