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In response to the concerns posed by COVID-19, the Governor signed Act 77 ("the Act") on January 14, 2022. Among other things, the Act allows a municipality to apply the Australian ballot system to its annual town meeting held in the year 2022 by vote of its legislative body. The process for using the Australian ballot system at town meeting requires a public informational hearing to be held within the 10 days immediately preceding the town meeting at which the Australian ballot system of voting is to be used. Under the Act’s temporary changes to the law, this hearing may be held entirely remotely, without designating a physical location.

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; and
  • record the hearings, unless unusual circumstances make it impossible for them to do so.

This toolkit provides guidance to those legislative bodies striving to hold the public informational hearing required to be held when conducting their annual town meetings by Australian ballot by remote access only.

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.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Municipal Assistance Center Staff. Members may contact the Municipal Assistance Center at or 1-800-649-7915 for assistance.

Publication Date: 
Friday, January 21, 2022