[Adopted as Ch. III of the 1973 Bylaws]
No person except a legal voter of the Town shall be permitted to be on the main floor of the hall during any Town Meeting, except by permission of the meeting. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 1)
All articles in the warrant shall be acted upon in the order of their arrangement unless the meeting otherwise determines by vote. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 2)
Except in those cases where a particular procedure is required by law, or by other provisions of these bylaws, the Moderator, in his/her discretion and upon his/her own motion, may put a question to a vote of the meeting by any one of the following procedures: by voice vote; by counting the "Yeas" and "Nays", as determined from a show of hands by persons present and desiring to vote; by counting the "Yeas" and "Nays" as determined by having persons present and desiring to vote stand in their places to be counted; or by the use of an electronic voting system with handheld wireless devices distributed to each registered voter. Before asking for a vote on any question, the Moderator shall first clearly state the question to the meeting.
[Amended 5-14-2019 ATM by Art. 11, approved by Attorney General 9-5-2019]
Whenever a vote is to be taken upon a question by counting the "Yeas" and "Nays", whether by a show of hands or by a standing vote, the Moderator shall appoint tellers, if such tellers have not been designated and appointed at the outset of the meeting. The Moderator shall then instruct the voters to vote, according to the procedure to be followed, either by raising their hands to be counted by the tellers, if the vote is to be taken by a show of hands, or by rising in their places to be counted, if the vote is to be taken by a standing vote. No person shall be entitled to cast a vote who does not comply with the Moderator's instructions to occupy a seat, if seats are available in the hall. If there are not sufficient seats in the hall for all voters in attendance at the meeting, voters standing shall be counted separately, in the case of a standing vote, by a show of hands.
[Amended 10-19-1998 ATM, approved by Attorney General 2-17-1999]
Whenever a teller vote is being taken, in order to minimize delay in determining whether the required number of affirmative votes has been achieved, the Moderator, in his/her discretion and upon his/her own motion, may instruct the voters that the tellers will count and report the number of those voting in the negative before counting and reporting the number of those voting in the affirmative.
[Amended 10-19-1998 ATM, approved by Attorney General 2-17-1999]
After the tellers have completed the count of those voting in the negative, the Moderator shall then require them to report the number so voting to the chair and to the meeting. The Moderator shall then direct the Clerk to tally the votes; after the Clerk has made and recorded the tally, he/she shall report the result to the Moderator, who shall announce the tally and declare the result of the vote to the meeting.
If the initial decision of the Moderator on the outcome of the vote on any question is doubted, and if at least seven voters so signify by rising and standing in their places, the Moderator shall thereupon direct that the vote on said question be taken again. After a standing vote has thus been taken on the question, in response to a challenge to the Moderator's initial determination of the result of the vote, and the result of the second vote has been determined by the Moderator and announced to the meeting, in accordance with the procedures established by this bylaw, then no further challenge to the result, as thus determined and announced by the Moderator, shall be permitted. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 3)
In accordance with MGL c. 39, § 15, whenever a two-thirds vote is required by statute a vote may be declared as such by the Moderator without a count and be recorded as such by the Clerk upon the Moderator's declaration; provided, however, that if seven or more voters at the meeting doubt the vote, the Moderator shall take a count of the vote.
[Added 10-17-2011, approved by Attorney General 2-2-2012]
No motion, the effect of which would be to dissolve the meeting, shall be in order until every article in the warrant has been duly acted upon, but this shall not preclude the postponement of the consideration of any article to an adjournment of the meeting to a stated time. (1937: C. III [Proc.], s. 7)
[1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 10; amended 1973; 5-13-2014 ATM, approved by Attorney General 9-4-2014]
Except as may be otherwise expressly provided, either in these bylaws or by the laws of the Commonwealth, the rules for the conduct of Town meetings shall be the rules of procedure set forth in the manual entitled Town Meeting Time, by Richard B. Johnson et al. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1962)
The proponent of any article(s) on the warrant for any Town Meeting shall submit the main motion(s) for the respective article(s) to the Moderator in writing at least three business days before the first day of such meeting.
Once final action has been taken under an article and the meeting has taken up the next order of business, or has adjourned, the subject matter of a given article may not again be taken under consideration unless, in the discretion of the Moderator, a significant error or omission occurred in the language or the process of the original action under that article, or a significant change in circumstances has occurred, such that there is a substantial likelihood that the outcome could change upon reconsideration or that reconsideration is in the Town's best interest.
Any errors, omissions or changes of circumstance referred to in Subsection B shall be brought to the Moderator's attention as soon as practicable and the Moderator shall determine if and when the matter will be taken up anew. The Moderator shall announce that decision to the meeting and if the Moderator determines that the matter may be taken under consideration again, a two-thirds vote shall be necessary in order to proceed with reconsideration.
Notwithstanding Subsections B and C, if after all other votes and reconsideration from the floor are complete under a given article and the appropriations voted appear to make necessary a ballot override vote (either levy, capital outlay, or debt exclusion) under MGL c. 59, § 21C ("Proposition 2 1/2"), then the conditions for reconsideration shall be deemed to have been met, and the Moderator shall accept a motion for reconsideration on any appropriation from the Finance Committee only, for the purpose of reducing any appropriations so as to meet the requirements of Proposition 2 1/2, or for the purpose of making certain appropriations contingent upon an override vote on a printed ballot.
Any member who moves the previous question immediately after speaking on a given topic shall be out of order.
The Moderator may appoint a member of the meeting to perform the duties of the Moderator while the Moderator addresses the meeting, has a conflict of interest in presiding over a given matter, or is otherwise unavailable.
At every adjourned Town Meeting, the reading of the record of the next preceding meeting shall be first in order if request is made therefor. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 11)
Any person who is employed by another interested in any matter under discussion at a Town Meeting shall disclose the fact of his/her employment before speaking thereon. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 12)
No report of a committee chosen or appointed at a previous Town Meeting shall be acted upon at a subsequent Town Meeting, otherwise than to be received or published and distributed, unless it has been announced in the warrant for the subsequent meeting that a report of the said committee was there to be considered. (1937: c. XII, s. 4)
A vote to accept the report of a committee shall discharge the committee, but shall not be equivalent to a vote to carry out its recommendations. (1937: c. III [Proc.], s. 9)