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Important! Click Here For 2022 COVID-19 Related Town Meeting Information

In response to the concerns posed by COVID-19, the Governor signed Act 77 (“the Act”) on January 14, 2022. The law does the following:

  • Allows municipalities to postpone their 2022 annual meeting to a later (and potentially safer) date. It is up to the municipality to decide the later date. 
  • Allows municipalities to apply the Australian ballot system to its annual town meeting held in the year 2022 by vote of its legislative body. 
  • Allows municipalities to conduct the informational hearings (required) by electronic means without appointing a physical location.  
  • Clarifies that municipal officers will serve until the annual meeting; and when successors are chosen, if a legislative body chooses to move the date of the 2022 annual meeting. 
  • Authorizes the Secretary of State to waive statutory deadlines or other provisions (including those in municipal charters) related to a municipal election as necessary for a municipality to apply the Australian ballot system to its annual meeting. 

The choice to switch to Australian ballot voting is optional. Note that the Act specifically prohibits municipalities from using this temporary authority to permanently switch to Australian ballot voting for “any and all” articles, for any subsequent municipal elections.

Note also that, if the legislative body votes to use Australian ballot, an informational hearing will be required pursuant to 17 V.S.A. § 2680(h) in order to provide an opportunity for public discussion of the ballot items. Act 77 allows for entirely remote informational hearings. We have developed an Australian Ballot Info Sheet for those new to this form of voting, as well as a Remote Only Public Informational Hearing Toolkit which can be found in the Resources below.

When municipalities hold informational hearings in conjunction with this law, they must:

  • Use technology that allows the public to attend by electronic or other means.
  • Allow the public to access the meeting by telephone whenever feasible.  
  • Include and post information on how the public can access the meeting electronically in its agenda.
  • Record the hearings, unless unusual circumstances make it impossible for them to do so. 

Vermont town meeting is direct democracy practiced in its purest form. It is the key to town government, as voters determine the town business for the coming year. VLCT’s Municipal Assistance Center (MAC) has current online resources on a variety of town meeting topics for your Town Meeting Day preparation needs. Please refer to our  town meeting resources at the bottom of this page. In addition, our downloadable Municipal Calendar includes annual town meeting and elections related dates and deadlines. Each town office will receive an updated print poster in July 2022.

We are also available to help town officials with any town meeting related questions about their roles and responsibilities. Email us at info@vlct.org or call 1-800-649-7915. Please contact as soon as possible during this busy time of year.

The resources listed below are for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to provide members with current information, these documents are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information does not create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. VLCT makes no express or implied guarantee of legal enforceability or legal compliance.