The New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action

By Joseph F. Zimmerman | Go to book overview

Appendix I

Marshfield, Massachusetts, Town Meeting Rules and Definitions

1. The conduct of Marshfield’s Town Meeting is dictated by Federal and State law, the Town’s Charter and By-Laws, local tradition, and the publication entitled, “Town Meeting Time.”

2. The Moderator shall preside over the Town Meeting, decide all questions of order and procedure, and announce the results of all votes. The results of all votes as announced by the Moderator shall be final except on a voice vote which may be questioned by seven (7) voters standing immediately after the announced results of a vote. In such a case, a standing vote shall be taken without debate.

3. Non-voters will be seated in a special section unless permission is granted by the Town Meeting to be seated elsewhere. Non-voters may be allowed to address the Town Meeting with permission of the Moderator unless a majority of voters choose to deny such a privilege.

4. Articles in the Warrant give notice of the issues subject to discussion at a Town Meeting and establish the parameters of matters that can be debated and acted on. Amendments, motions and/or debate determined by the Moderator, with the advice of Town Counsel, to be “beyond the scope” of the Articles may not be permitted.

5. In order for the Town Meeting to act on or discuss an Article, a motion must be made. The Moderator will call for a motion on each Article and, if no motion is made after the second call, the Moderator will “pass over” the Article and move on to the next Article. In order to bring back a “pass over” Article for a motion and discussion, there must be an approved “motion for reconsideration.”

6. Articles may be postponed by a majority vote or advanced by approval of the Moderator and a 2/3 vote.

7. To address the Town Meeting, a speaker must be recognized by the Moderator and, once recognized, a speaker should first give [his] or her name and address for the record.

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The New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Law-Making by Assembled Citizens 1
  • Chapter 2 - Genesis of the Town Meeting 15
  • Chapter 3 - The Massachusetts Open Town Meeting 27
  • Chapter 4 - The New Hampshire Open Town Meeting 59
  • Chapter 5 - The Vermont Open Town Meeting 83
  • Chapter 6 - The Maine Open Town Meeting 103
  • Chapter 7 - The Connecticut Open Town Meeting 117
  • Chapter 8 - The Rhode Island Financial Town Meeting 129
  • Chapter 9 - The Representative Town Meeting 139
  • Chapter 10 - Democratic Law-Making 163
  • Appendix I 195
  • Appendix II 197
  • Appendix III 199
  • Appendix IV 207
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 229
  • About the Author 233
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