Town Meeting & Election Warrants, Minutes and Results

Visit the Town Moderator's page for Town Meeting guides, policies and procedures. 

Citizen's Petition Articles for Annual Town Meeting due Jan 30th:

Our open town meeting form of government not only affords each registered voter the opportunity to debate and cast their vote for an array of town issues – budgets, local bylaws, etc. – it also allows citizens the option of submitting their own proposals for voter consideration. The process is fairly simple and guidance is available if you need assistance.

Our Town By-law stipulates that citizen petition articles are to be submitted 60 days prior to the Annual Town Meeting, and 28 days prior to a Special Town Meeting. Our Annual Town Meeting is held the first Monday in April which is April 1st this year. Thus citizen articles need to be submitted to the Town Clerk’s Office by January 30th to be included in the upcoming meeting. A citizen article needs the signature of at least 10 registered voters in order to be placed on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting, that is, the list of articles (topics) to be voted. (100 signatures are required for a petition article that is to go on a special town meeting warrant.)  

The Town Clerk has a template that citizens can use in crafting their proposed article and in obtaining the requisite signatures. If you are unsure about how best to word the article you wish to have voters consider, Town Moderator Alan Wilson and I are available to assist as well as Town Clerk Christina St. Pierre.

Citizen articles have covered a wide array of topics in the past. Of course, proposals must fall within the scope of what a town can do legally. We have Town Counsel review proposed articles for compliance with state laws. Articles must be approved by voters at the Town Meeting and, if the article proposes a new general bylaw, the state’s Attorney General must approve it as well. Any article that proposes a change to our zoning or subdivision regulations must first be reviewed and reported on by the Planning Board before voters decide.

The citizen petition provides yet another avenue for all residents to engage in the process of governing our local affairs. You can also ask your Selectmen to advance a town meeting article instead of going the petition route. Either way, you have direct access to putting issues before your fellow citizens, thus playing a vital role in shaping the character and future of our town.    -Gregory T. Federspiel


Nomination Papers for Local Office now available! 

Nomination Papers are now available for the 2019 Annual Town Election! For offices that will appear on the ballot and important dates and deadlines please review the 2019 Local Election Calendar and Candidate Preliminary Overview.

2019 Nomination Papers Available for Local Municipal Office Holdings

 One Moderator for one year;

 Two Selectmen for three years each;

 Two School Committee members for three years each;

 One Board of Library Trustee for three years;

 Three Planning Board members for three years each;

 Three Constables for three years each;


PLEASE CONTACT THE TOWN CLERK’S OFFICE WITH ANY QUESTIONS!  

Office: 978-526-2040 Email: TownClerk@manchester.ma.us

                                  Click here to see if you are registered to vote, check your party enrollment or to register to vote online!


Why must we vote in person at Town Meeting? 

 As the Special Town Meeting scheduled for October 15 approaches, 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 on October 15, 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. We expect a similar or larger number to attend in October. 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
Christina St. Pierre, Town Clerk