Towns set new info sessions, Town Meetings, votes in response to Covid-19 pandemic

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing, LLC

With Town Meeting Day just four weeks away and the rules for gathering during the Covid-19 pandemic still restrictive, select boards are looking at the options presented to them by the Vermont Legislature.

With the passage of H. 48, the state gave municipalities – including school districts – more flexibility with conducting their annual meetings. These include postponing the annual meeting until later or deciding all of the questions by Australian ballot.

Each board has had to make its decision taking into account public opinion, local tradition and past practices. Below is a digest of how local towns will handle their meetings.


Andover will decide all of its town meeting questions by Australian ballot from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday March 2 at Andover Town Hall, 953 Weston-Andover Road. In advance of voting, the town will hold an informational meeting at Town Hall at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27 to discuss the Australian ballot articles on the Town Meeting Warning. There is very limited in-person meeting space at the Town Hall, so you must contact the Andover Town Clerk at  875-2765 if you wish to attend in-person. Here is an agenda for the informational meeting including information for attending online.


On Jan. 22, the Select Board of Baltimore decided to postpone its Town Meeting until June 1, 2021. The location and format will be posted via the warning at a  later date.

There will be voting will be by Australian ballot from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2 for the Green Mountain Unified School District budget. The vote will take place at Town Offices, 1902 Baltimore Road.


Cavendish will also forego an in-person meeting in favor of Australian ballot this year. In addition to the articles on the town’s warning, voters will also be asked if they approve the Green Mountain Unified School District budget.

The town will hold an informational meeting via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 23.

Cavendish has one contested race for public office for a three-year seat on the Select Board. Michael Kell will try to unseat incumbent Michael Ripley in that race. Cavendish continues to have trouble finding candidates for the Green Mountain Unified School District, which operates Cavendish Town Elementary. Last year Kate Lamphere and Fred Marin both tried to step down from the board, but no one ran for the positions and they returned rather than see the town unrepresented. Town Clerk Diane McNamara told The Telegraph that just a minimum of 11 write-in votes is needed for election to a town office.


The Chester Select Board decided not to postpone the annual meeting and not to have voting from the floor but to have all of the articles on the town’s warning be voted by Australian ballot.  It also opted not to put a retail cannabis question on the town’s warning but to consider that in the future.

The town will hold an informational meeting via Zoom at 6  p.m. on Monday, March 1, then vote all of its articles the following day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 556 Elm St. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot by calling the Town Hall at 875-2173 or by emailing a request to Town Clerk Deb Aldrich or Assistant Town Clerk Amie O’Brien. Those emails are  and Residents can also request an absentee ballot from the myvoter page of the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.

Chester has two contested races for Select Board with Scott Blair and Jeannie Wade challenging incumbent Heather Chase for a three-year term and incumbents Leigh Dakin and Jeff Holden and William (Will) Hoser running for two one-year terms.


The town of Grafton will not hold a traditional in-person meeting but will mail a ballot to every registered voter. These can be returned by mail, dropped off at the Town Office, 117 Main St. or voted on from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 2 at the Brick Meeting House at 2 Main St.

There will be an informational meeting  via Microsoft Teams at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22. You can find the warning here.


One of the first towns in the area to make a decision on its 2021 Town Meeting, Landgrove announced on its website that, “Town Meeting 2021 cannot be held live in person in our little building during COVID pandemic,” and noted that the state authorized last fall that select boards for this year only can hold an informational session online and voting by Australian ballot. That informational session will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 1 with details on logging or dialing in to come.

According to the town website, “ballots will be mailed to all registered voters and can be returned by postpaid envelope or in person on election day, March 2nd, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall for both the Town Meeting ballot and the Taconic and Green ballot.


The town of Londonderry is postponing its annual meeting until May 1  25 and using a clause in H.48 to extend the terms of town officers until that meeting. The gathering is intended to be conducted in Pingree Park with a warning and details to come.  The postponement notwithstanding, Derry voters will still be voting the Taconic and Green school budget by Australian ballot on Tuesday, March 2.  Ballots for the T&G budget will be mailed to residents before March and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  at the Town Office at 100 Old School St. in South Londonderry. Town Clerk Kelly Pajala said voters can also return their ballots by mail or in person at the Town Office.


Peru will hold an informational meeting via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 1 and vote its warned articles and those of the Taconic and Green School District by Australian ballot the following day. Voting will take place at the Town Office, 402 Main St., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and registered voters can also request an absentee ballot from the Town Clerk or from the myvoter page of the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.


The Weston Select Board has set May 25 as the day for its Town Meeting rather than doing it by Australian ballot, but the details are not firmed up because the board also decided to revisit the issue at its March 23 meeting.

At that time, members will look at the state of virus spread and may opt to forego the meeting and fall back on the Australian ballot. Board members expressed the fear that the tradition of voting the articles from the floor in person would be endangered by mail-in voting.


The Town Windham will be mailing ballots for the town warning and for the Windham School District to all active registered voters with prepaid envelopes for mailing back. In addition, residents may vote at the Meeting House, 26 Harrington Road, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 2. There will be no in-person town meeting but an informational meeting will be held via Zoom on Saturday, Feb. 20.

All of the races for public offices in Windham are uncontested except for school board positions where Erin Kehoe and Beth McDonald are vying for a three year seat and Bridget Corby and Carolyn Partridge are competing for the balance of a term ending in 2022.

Green Mountain Unified School District

The GMUSD board voted to hold its annual meeting in person at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 27. You can see the warning for that meeting here.

In the meantime, it will hold a Zoom informational meeting ahead of Town Meeting day voting on its budget warning. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 25 and voters can connect to it at

Or by phone at 646-876-9923 and enter 82354752331# US (New York)

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