Pandemic Impacts New England Town Meeting | WAMC

Pandemic Impacts New England Town Meeting

Feb 26, 2021

A casualty of the coronavirus pandemic could be the centuries-old tradition of the New England town meeting.

The basis of the town meeting is to bring everyone together in the same room — sometimes a literal town hall, sometimes a school gymnasium — where voters hash out local issues until a decision is made.

The restrictions on in-person gatherings imposed by the pandemic make that impossible.  But others counter that the challenges of getting people together during town meeting, virus or not, restrict the number of people who can participate.

In Vermont, the traditional Town Meeting Day is the first Tuesday in March, this year March 2nd.  The state authorized towns this year only to decide local issues with pre-printed ballots.

Most towns that chose the option are holding remote informational meetings to help voters make decisions.

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