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Having fielded some questions of late on voting at Town Meeting, a few observations on the issue.
Under our local by-law, all votes at TM are taken first as voice votes and the outcome is called by the moderator. That works well for most actions of the meeting and also moves things along.
So, when do we have a counted vote and how is that vote taken? Well, if after the voice vote, the moderator is in doubt as to the result, or if seven (7) voters rise and express doubt as to the moderator’s call, then we move to a counted vote. That counted vote is most typically taken as a standing vote, except we will have ballot vote (instead of a standing vote) if either the Advisory Committee or fifty (50) voters “promptly call” for a ballot vote.
Given how long a ballot vote takes, our practice has been not to request a ballot vote absent compelling reasons to do so. That said, if we’re going to have a counted vote after a voice vote, and either the Advisory Committee or fifty voters call for a ballot vote, seeing compelling reasons to do so, then a ballot vote will be taken, instead of a standing vote.
See you on April 22nd to start the business of this year’s meeting.
Michael Puzo, Hingham Town Moderator