Town Meetings and Elections

2023 Important Dates

Annual Town Meeting
Monday, April 3, 2023
6:30 PM
Early Check-In Starts at 5:30 PM
Come hear the MERSD Soundwaves Perform During Check-in
Manchester Memorial School

Annual Town Election
Tuesday May 16, 2023

Seats up for election:

Housing Authority

1 seat

5 year term

Library Trustee

1 seat

3 year term


1 seat

1 year term

Planning Board

2 seats

3 year terms

School Committee

1 seat

3 year terms

Select Board

2 seats 

3 year terms

To run for election, nomination papers are available as of January 2, 2023 and due back to the Town Clerk's office no later than March 28, 2023 with at least 29 signatures of registered voters.

For more information on running for office, click here

Absentee Ballots are available for all elections

Grab your application here and return to the Town Clerks office. 

Absentee Ballot Application


Office: 978-526-2040 | Email:

Volunteer at future elections:
Election Recruitment Application 

How to Run for Office

Annual Town Meeting takes place on the first Monday in April at 7:00 PM. One must be a registered voter in the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea to vote at Town Meeting. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to Town Meeting for a timely check in. 

State and local elections take place at Manchester Essex Regional High School, 36 Lincoln Street. You must be a registered voter in the Town of Manchester-by-the- Sea to vote.  The annual local election takes place on the third Tuesday in May. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 

Why must we vote in person at Town Meeting? 

Recently we’ve received a number of questions from residents about voting, in particular whether it is possible to vote by absentee ballot or by proxy. Under state law, neither is permitted.

 Town meetings are governed by Chapter 39 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The statute requires that voters be present at the meeting to hear the debate and exercise their right to vote. Historically, in colonial times attendance at town meeting was mandatory, and those who were absent or arrived late could be fined.

 As a practical matter, absentee ballots at town meeting could not be effective as they are for elections. In an election, the candidates and any referendum questions are known well in advance of the date. At a town meeting, on the other hand, no one can predict with certainty what motions or amendments may be proposed on town meeting floor. It would be impossible to anticipate the questions to be decided in preparing an absentee ballot.

 While we understand the frustration of residents whose travel plans or other circumstances may prevent their attending Town Meetings, the Town has no choice but to follow the requirements of state law. In 2003, almost 850 voters attended the meeting to consider construction of the Middle High School. With electronic voting, everyone will be able to express her or his choice privately, and we’ll know the result immediately – without having to count paper ballots as we did 15 years ago!

Alan Wilson, Town Moderator