For the Public
About Town Meeting
Resources to help you understand Town Meeting Law, Procedure, etc.
- The Town Meeting Process– a 6 minute video introduction to Town Meeting
- The Secretary of State’s Citizens Guide to Town Meeting
- Massachusetts Law About Town Meetings- A compilation of laws, rules, and web sources on Massachusetts Town Meeting Law.
- Town Meeting- an Outline- prepared by the Massachusetts Moderators Association to assist the reader in understanding the role of the Moderator, present ideas for preparing for a Town Meeting, point out potential pitfalls in the conduct of the meeting, and suggest a vehicle for a “post-mortem” review of the meeting.
- Glossary of Town Meeting Terms
Materials Prepared by the MMA Education Committee to Assist Educators in Teaching Students About Town Meeting
- READ THIS FIRST
- 1 MMA TM Lessons Keys to Success
- 2 MMA Lesson Outline
- 3 MMA Town Meeeting Lesson Power Point
- 4 MMA Constable Posting Places
- 5 MMA Sample warrant 1
- 5 MMA Sample warrant 2
- 5 MMA Sample warrant BLANK
- 5 MMA Sample warrant 3
- 7 MMA UBD Curriculum Town Meeting
- 8 MMA TOWN MEETING an Outline
- Teacher’s Manual Glossary MMA
- Teacher Student Surveys
- Link to The Town Meeting Process video
Town Meetings serve as the legislative component of local government in many communities throughout New England. Town Meetings operate in accordance with rules of procedure established by general laws, local bylaws, and local customs and traditions. As part of their bylaws, many towns reference a standard parliamentary handbook to provide for most of their rules of procedure. Use of a standard handbook to supplement a few local rules of procedure defined in bylaws provides participants in Town Meeting with a complete framework that all can readily learn and understand.
The Massachusetts Moderators Association first published in 1962 a handbook of parliamentary law called Town Meeting Time: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law that focuses especially on the operation of town meetings.
You can order a copy of Town Meeting Time online by clicking HERE.
Or download a printable form to order by mail HERE.
Town Meeting Time is also available in many public libraries throughout Massachusetts.
Town Meeting Videos
The Massachusetts Moderators Association has produced two educational videos to encourage voters to participate in their Town Meetings across Massachusetts. One video entitled Town Meeting and You describes the experiences of voters in open Town Meetings. It helps to familiarize those who have not previously attended Town Meeting with the key elements of this form of local government, and it serves as a refresher for those who have.
The second video entitled Voice of the People: The Representative Town Meeting includes some of the same content, since, in many respects, open and representative Town Meetings operate in similar fashion. The video describes, in addition, the role of town meeting members who are elected by the voters in each precinct to represent them and vote on their behalf on all matters decided by town meeting.
Each video runs approximately thirty minutes. Click on the following links to view.