Town Meeting quorum reduced to 200 voters; mail-in voting available for town election

2020 Town Meeting
2020 Town Meeting, Photo by Joshua Ross Photography
April 14, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer

Although the usual quorum of 300 voters to convene a Town Meeting has been reduced to 200 again this year due to COVID-19 considerations -- which is allowed under state law -- as many residents as possible are encouraged to attend.

"This is just an acknowledgment that we are in fact still in a pandemic," Town Administrator Tom Mayo told the Selectmen last night.

The quorum was reduced for the 2020 and 2021 Town Meetings -- and for the Special Town Meeting held last fall -- with hopes that at least that number of voters would arrive promptly to allow the meeting to begin on time.

Safety protocols such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks will be in place throughout the entire meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 8, at 2 p.m. on the multi-purpose field at Hingham High School for the second year in a row. Guidelines will be announced soon.

The rain dates for this year's Town Meeting are Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, at 2 p.m.

While state COVID-19 regulations allow communities to reduce the usual Town Meeting quorums set by towns and cities to no fewer than 10 percent of the total -- in Hingham's case, 30 -- all three selectmen as well as Town Moderator Michael Puzo agreed that reducing the quorum to 200 makes sense and is consistent with Hingham's 200 quorum for the second and subsequent nights of Town Meeting. "I think reducing the quorum to 200 is appropriate for Hingham," Selectmen Chair Mary Power said.

Copies of the warrant will arrive at every Hingham household soon. "We're hoping that Hingham citizens will look through their warrant and join us for Town Meeting on May 8," she said.

Election update

The in-person town election has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 22. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As an alternative to in-person voting on the day of the election, vote-by-mail applications are available at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2021-Vote-by-Mail-Application.pdf or by calling or emailing the Hingham Town Clerk's office: (781) 741-1410 or [email protected].

There are five races in the town election: Selectman, Town Clerk, Board of Health, Municipal Light Board, and Board of Assessors, which makes for an exciting election season.

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