Montpelier, VT – With Town Meeting Day set for March 7, Vermont Governor Phil Scott has signed legislation to continue allowing municipalities to decide how their local elections will be conducted.
House Bill 42 gives cities and towns the flexibility to use ballots at town meetings and to move the meetings to a later date. It also allows public bodies, such as city councils or committees, to meet electronically and broadcast the proceedings for the public.
The regulations have been in effect the last two years due to the pandemic. Time was of the essence to extend them: Communities planning for Town Meeting Day must alert the public to any voting changes by February 5.
Scott said he was signing the bill “at the request of Vermont municipalities who value an extension to pandemic-era flexibilities.”
The Governor did take issue with a provision that changes how school boards word budget items on the ballot. “I have concerns with the removal of the disclosure of per pupil costs from Vermonters when voting,” Scott said. “Voters deserve this transparency, and I see no defensible reason why we should extend its omission from ballots.”
The Governor also called on the Legislature to implement universal mail-in voting. It would extend the automatic mailing of ballots to all Vermont elections including municipal and primary elections.