March 7 - Town Meeting Day in Vermont

Posted on March 7, 2017

Democracy is, basically, rule OF the people BY the people. 

There are very few large groups of people who are ruled by pure democracy. Here's why: it becomes pretty much impossible for all of the people in a nation to sit down together in one group and discuss and then vote on the laws of the land. The same is true of modern states and provinces and counties and even cities.

Our governed groups are just too big for us all to sit down in a giant sharing circle and talk things out!

Large groups must utilize what is called "representational democracy"; people elect representatives who meet to discuss and vote on laws.

Small groups such as some private schools (Sudbury Valley school is famous for this), villages, towns, and families CAN have direct, pure democracy. 

Vermont towns are famous for their town meetings, which have been called democracy being practiced in its purest form. 

All the legal voters in a town are invited to get together to air their grievances (complaints) and bring up new business such as plans for the future.

Most Vermont town meetings happen on the first Tuesday of March (today!), but towns and cities can vote to choose another date. There are lots of rules about the town meetings. Most important is the rule that any "articles" (which I gather are proposed laws and policies and changes) must be publicly posted in at least two places between 30 to 40 days ahead of the town meeting. This gives people warning so that they can read up on and discuss articles and so that they can be sure to go to the town meeting to vote on the article.

Towns make the choice between pre-printed paper ballots or floor voting.

At the town meeting, typically Vermonters choose their town officials, approve zoning by-laws and the town budget, authorize borrowing money, and so forth.


Also on this date:

Plan ahead:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

No comments:

Post a Comment