Longing for a “Normal” Town Meeting

When I was presented with the prospect of running for town moderator in 2018, one of the points in favor was that the job involves a limited time commitment. Many years earlier, I had served as a planning board member and then as a selectman, but when my day job became insanely busy and my parental obligations increased, I had decided I could no longer handle the long biweekly meetings and additional obligations that those positions required.

2021 Town and School Moderators (SB 2 Meeting) Virtual Workshop

Attendees will receive an electronic copy of NHMA's 2020-2021 edition of Town Meeting and School Meeting Handbook along with a copy of the 2021 Supplement. Additional materials such as the PowerPoint presentation will also be distributed electronically. No print outs of the materials or hard copy of the publication will be provided.

Topics include:

How to Run an Annual Meeting During a Pandemic:

A Nightmare on Main Street – Town Meeting in a Pandemic

A year ago (January/February 2019) I wrote an article for these pages titled “Diary of a First-Time Moderator.” In it I described my experience presiding at the 2019 Henniker town meeting after first being elected moderator the year before. I recounted that despite a few glitches—an “Out of Service” sign on the boys’ room door, a bottle of water spilled on my copy of the warrant—the meeting went smoothly. I ended with this paragraph:

Town and City

The Importance of the Moderator: Why Town and School Meetings Don’t “Just Happen”

For most New Hampshire voters, the annual town or school meeting is the one opportunity they have to make decisions about spending money to run the local government and schools. But the annual meeting doesn't just happen. Without the artful skills of the moderator, decisions to appropriate money, adopt or amend ordinances, or make governmental changes may have no legal effect.

Amendments to Warrant Articles: Guidance for Town Meeting

Once the public hearings are over and the warrant is drafted and posted, it is up to the moderator—with the assistance of other officials, staff and the town attorney—to make sure that the town’s business is accomplished fairly and efficiently at the annual meeting. Preparation is, of course, the key to a successful town meeting. But there is no way to fully anticipate and prepare for a crucial legal issue that can arise whenever a voter at town meeting makes a motion to amend a warrant article: Would the proposed amendment violate a statute and thus make the article unenforceable?

Troubleshooting on Election Day

An election is a complex event. Election officials spend a lot of time each year learning election laws and preparing for the election so that it will run smoothly. There are always a few questions, however. These are some of the more common questions that arise among our members each year.

Q. Who is in charge of elections?

Exercising a Public Trust: Voting

“Your every voter, as surely as your Chief Magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust." So observed Grover Cleveland, the 22nd President of the United States, in his first inaugural address in 1885. Here in New Hampshire, citizens take elections and voting very seriously. For nearly 90 years, New Hampshire voters have participated in the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary—a tradition that is fiercely guarded.

Local Officials Prepare for Election Season

The election season is underway, and, inevitably, numerous questions arise. Moreover, the legislature has recently amended a number of election laws. The following are a few brief reminders and a summary of selected statutory amendments.

Official Ballots, Official Ballot Referendum and Secret Ballots Understanding the Differences

Q. Under what circumstances can the selectmen put a warrant article question on the town's official ballot?