Weekly News Roundup – 05/05/24 – Town Meeting Edition

Weekly News Roundup – 05/05/24 – Town Meeting Edition

Annual Town Meeting 2024

Begins Monday, May 6, 2024 at 7:00 PM at Hopkinton Middle School. By tradition the meeting ends at 11:00 PM and continues on consecutive evenings from 7:00-11:00 PM until all articles are voted. Annual Town Meeting typically lasts 2-3 nights.

Key Documents

Take a Deep Dive into the Details:

Get Ready for Electronic Voting

2024 Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting will be using an electronic voting system, from Meridia. For a showcase and explanation of the system, please view the video below. (Please note, video was originally recorded for 2023 Special Town Meeting.)

Bonus Content

eHop will again be providing reusable stainless steel water bottles this year, but you have to come to Town Meeting in person to get one! Free, while supplies last… Or better yet, bring back your reusable water from last year…

Key Town Meeting Articles for 2024

Know Your Vote

Video: Watch the replay of eHop’s Know Your Vote 2024 on YouTube

Town Meeting 101

Never been to Hopkinton Town Meeting before? Don’t worry, you are not alone, 90% of registered voters have not attended ANY of the last 5 Annual Town Meetings! Watch our short video to see how it works…

Town Meeting 101 Video Essay

You do not need to bring anything to Town Meeting. However, many people find that bringing a phone/tablet (silenced) or a notebook and pen or pencil is helpful to make notes during the discussions. Only water is allowed in the auditorium, no other food or drink is allowed in the room. There is a reusable water bottle filling station and a drinking fountain outside the auditorium. Many people also find that something to occupy one’s hands is helpful. If you are a knitter, for example, bring a small project. There are plenty of padded stationary folding auditorium style chairs, which are reasonably comfortable. But remember you’ll be there for a long time, so wear comfortable clothes.

Town Meeting begins at 7 pm and is typically held in the Middle School Auditorium.  Allow time to park and walk to the building. As you enter the building head directly to the sign-in tables. To actually vote in the auditorium, you must be a Hopkinton resident registered to vote and you must sign in at the voter table. Your name will be checked off and you’ll be given an electronic voting clicker device and a small piece of paper marked “Voter Pass.” Hold on to the clicker; you will need it when it is time for the votes to be counted. (The piece of paper may be used if needed as a backup method for the clickers.) Handouts: You may opt to save paper by viewing the documents on your phone and skip the handouts table (recommended). There will be a table of handouts and fact sheets regarding all the proposed articles to be voted on from the town boards and committees. There is some terrific information here that may answer many of your questions. The information will also be displayed on the auditorium screen above the stage during the meeting. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available. In addition, CART live captioning will be provided. Please ask when you check in if you have any questions.

You do not have to be present for the entire town meeting to vote, though the more that participate in whole, the more balanced the democratic process. A quorum of 1% of the registered voters (128 voters) in town is needed for the transaction of any business. There is no set time to check in. The meeting will be broadcast live via HCAM TV (Comcast 8/Verizon 30/Streaming live on HCAM (May 6 Video, May 7 Video), but you MUST be present to vote. You just need to check in prior to the vote, whenever you arrive. You only have to check in once, and you can come and go from the auditorium as you please, but you must in the meeting room to cast your vote. You can text (with phone switched to silent mode) from within the auditorium, although there is minimal cell coverage. Step outside to make a phone call.

The Select Board presides over the meeting, which is facilitated by the Town Moderator, Ellen Rutter, and recorded by the Town Clerk, Connor Degan. The format of the meeting itself follows procedures set out in the Town Bylaws (similar to Robert’s Rules of Order). Articles are presented, motions made, discussions ensue. Sometimes it can be a little confusing if an amendment comes up, so keep your ears open. Listen carefully — and you’ll learn a lot.

The committee or board presenting each article may make a brief presentation before each article. The Town Moderator will facilitate a question and answer period for registered residents. If you choose to ask a question or comment on an article, step up to one of the microphones located in the auditorium aisles. Wait for the moderator, to recognize you, then state your name and address, and keep your comments brief, civil, and to the point. The comment, question and answer period will end when either #1 the moderator sees that no one else is waiting at the microphone to speak or #2 a voter comes to the microphone, is recognized by the moderator, and says “I move the question” or “I call the question.” The motion to end debate must be seconded and then adopted by a ⅔ vote. When debate is over, it moves to a vote on the article using the handheld electronic clickers (with the paper voting passes available as a backup if needed).

Although you can leave at any time, we recommend you do NOT leave until the meeting is officially adjourned. Someone may ask for a recount or ask to reconsider an article, and if a large group has already left, the outcome could be different, especially if the original vote was close. If you have any other questions about Town Meeting, please ask.