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Windham Town Meeting 2021 and the Separate Warning Below

If you are planning to run for election or re-election for Town Office, you must sign a Consent Form for Local Election (required by the Secretary of State and attached at the bottom of this info) to have your name placed on the ballot. The form is attached (or a link is below). It must be returned to the Town Office by 5 PM, this Monday, January 25. It must be completed and signed, and can be left in the locked, secure mail slot to the left of the Town Office front door at any time prior to this deadline, or you may deliver it in person this Saturday, January 23 from 8 AM to Noon, or on Monday, January 25, 2 PM to 5 PM.

Link to Consent Form:

“A candidate for local election does not need to petition to have his/her name included on the ballot. However, Act 162 does not waive the consent form requirement and candidates must still complete the consent form and submit it to the Town Clerk. Candidates for office do not need to petition to have their names included on the ballot, but must submit a consent form to the Town Clerk by the 6th Monday prior to Town Meeting, January 25, 2021.”

The following positions are up for election:

  Corrected list:   Officers to be Elected at Town Meeting on March 2, 2021

Position Available                       Term Length              Current Holder of Seat

Town Moderator                              1 year term                Michael McLaine

Select Board                                   3 year term                Peter Chamberlain – Peter is not running                                                                                                for re-election

Lister                                               3 year term                Russell Cumming

Auditor                                            3 year term                Kathaleen Jungermann

Delinquent Tax Collector                 1 year term                Paul Wyman

Town Agent                                                                        Position Eliminated

Library Trustee                                5 year term                John Hoover

Windham Center                             5 year term                Mark Emmons              

         Cemetery Commission           1 year term                Due to resignation

West Windham                                5 year term                Michael Pelton

         Cemetery Commission           

North Windham                               5 year term                Jonathan Gordon

         Cemetery Commission

Leland & Gray Union High              4 year term                Howard Iris

         School Representative

Windham School Director               3 year term                Elizabeth McDonald

Windham School Director               1 year term                Carolyn Partridge

MORE INFORMATION (previously provided) :

Town Meeting 2021 will be March 2, 2021. The Vermont legislature has passed Act 162 which allows a legislative body of a town, including those who normally vote from the floor, to vote to use Australian ballot for Town Meeting 2021. Windham does not have any facility that would provide the space needed during the current pandemic to hold an in-person Town Meeting in 2021. Act 162 applies to any Town Meeting, regular or special, in 2021.

Maureen Bell has provided the following synopsis:

· Towns cannot hold Town Meeting, including floor voting, remotely.

· Informational hearings can be held remotely since informational hearings are meetings of the Selectboard.

· Selectboards must vote to adopt Australian ballot in 2021 at a duly warned meeting. (This was adopted at the Windham Selectboard Meeting on November 16, 2020.)

· Act 162 temporarily allows towns to hold any meeting in 2021 using Australian ballot.

· Australian ballot differs from floor voting and paper ballot voting in that it requires a uniformly preprinted ballot, similar to that used during the November general election.

· An informational hearing must be held on any public or budget question being voted within 10 days prior to March 2, and access to the informational hearing must be provided to the public.

· The informational hearing must be warned at least 10 days in advance of the hearing date.

· The informational hearing can be held remotely via Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, by phone, etc. and there is no need to designate a physical location for the hearing.

· Access information must be included in the warning for the informational hearing.

· A candidate for local election does not need to petition to have his/her name included on the ballot. However, Act 162 does not waive the consent form requirement and candidates must still complete the consent form and submit it to the Town Clerk. Candidates for office do not need to petition to have their names included on the ballot, but must submit a consent form to the Town Clerk by the 6th Monday prior to Town Meeting, January 25, 2021.

Maureen also shared highlights of a webinar she attended concerning Town Meeting 2021 conducted by Elections Director, Will Senning, of the Secretary of State’s Office. At its November 16, 2020 Regular Selectboard Meeting, the Windham Selectboard voted to adopt Australian balloting for Town Meeting(s) in 2021. Maureen noted the need to make voters aware of this change. An information meeting will be scheduled prior to Town Meeting, most likely on either Saturday or Sunday immediately preceding Town Meeting. Maureen suggested that the School Board hold a separate informational meeting because of the difficulty in incorporating two separate entities in one Zoom meeting. Maureen has mentioned this to Carolyn Partridge who will discuss it with the other School Board members.

Maureen again highlighted some of the pertinent information and dates for Town Meeting:

· Paper ballots must be available by February 10, 2021 for a March 2, 2021 Town Meeting.

· The meeting must be warned no more than 40 (January 21, 2021) and no less than 30 days in advance (January 31, 2021).

· The consent form for a candidate for town office position must be submitted to the Town Clerk on or before January 25, 2021 for you to be included on the ballot. The petition requirement usually required for Australian ballot has been waived for 2021.

· Petitions for article questions must be received by January 14, 2021. The only petition received to date by the Selectboard is one to increase the Selectboard from 3 to 5 members. This will be a “yes or no” article on the ballot.

· Questions on the ballot will be worded so that voters answer “yes” or “no.” (except for votes for officers)

· On Town Meeting day, Windham Meeting House will serve as the polling place for in-person voting and ballot drop-off.

 · Voters can request by phone, email or letter that an early/absentee ballot be mailed to them.

Mike McLaine, the Windham Town Clerk, clarified that these requests would be handled in the same way as early/absentee balloting has been handled for previous elections. Ballots will not be mailed to you (as they were for the November election) without a request. The State is not providing postage for early/absentee balloting, and will be done at the Town’s expense.

Submitted by Ellen F. McDuffie

4228 Windham Hill Road

Windham, VT 05359