It’s that time of year again: Town meeting season kicks into gear

  • Pittsfield residents cast secret ballots on the citizen petition to restore funding for two police officers during town meeting at Pittsfield Elementary School on Saturday, March 18, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Monitor staff 
Saturday, January 27, 2018

Have you always wanted to be a supervisor of the checklist? School district treasurer? Cemetery trustee?

If so, get cracking. The 10-day filing period for town and school offices closes Friday.

Elections are part of the annual town meeting season, which kicks into gear Saturday with the start of deliberative sessions in town halls and schools around New Hampshire.

In Greater Concord, 23 towns or school districts operate under SB 2 town meeting, which means items such as budgets and warrant articles are discussed at deliberative sessions in February, but voted on, by ballot, later. Most vote on traditional election day, March 13.

This includes the Henniker School District, which switched to SB2 this year. Its deliberative session will be Feb. 5, starting at 7 p.m. at the Henniker Community School.

This was the only community in the state to make this change in 2017, a sign of how the spread of SB2, which was created in 1995, has slowed. Statewide, 80 school districts and 64 towns operate under SB2, roughly one-third of the total.

The region’s remaining towns and school districts use traditional annual meeting schedules, where items are discussed and voted on, usually through a show of hands, by people who show up at the meeting. These meetings are generally scheduled in the weeks around March 13.

No matter whether SB2 or traditional meeting, however, the second Tuesday in March is the day that almost all towns and school districts cast ballots for local offices – some as high-profile as selectman, school board member or meeting moderator, and some as obscure as library trustee or overseer of welfare.

The one local anomaly to this schedule is Merrimack Valley School District, which will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, March 8, and also has all-day polling for offices on that day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cities such as Concord and Franklin do not follow town meeting schedule; their elections are in November.

Signing up as a local candidate is a lot easier than getting on the presidential primary ballot. Just head down to the office of your local town clerk or school district clerk and put your name down. In some communities you can register for school district offices at town hall.

Sometimes clerks charge a dollar or two as a filing fee, but generally they only require evidence that you’re a registered voter, so bring some ID and sign up for whichever office strikes your fancy.

The following local municipalities that use the SB 2 town meeting system will hold deliberative sessions in February. 

Allenstown: Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. Armand Dupont School

Allenstown School District: Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. Armand Dupont School

Belmont: Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. at Belmont High School

Danbury: Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at Danbury Town Hall

Deerfield: Feb 3 at 9 a.m. at Deerfield Town Hall

Deerfield School District: Feb. 10 at 9 a.m. at Deerfield Community School

Epsom: Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. at Epsom Central School

Epsom School District: Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Epsom Central School

Gilford: Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at Gilford Middle School 

Gilford School District: Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at Gilford High School

Gilmanton: Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. at Gilmanton Elementary School 

Gilmanton School District: Feb. 7 at  7 p.m. at Gilmanton Elementary School

Henniker School District: Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at Henniker Community School

Hillsboro-Deering School District: Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at Hillsboro-Deering Middle School

John Stark School District: Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at John Stark Regional High School

Newfound School District: Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. at Newfound Regional High School

New Hampton: Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at the New Hampton Fire Station

Northwood: Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Northwood School District: Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at Northwood School Gym

Shaker Regional School District: Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at Belmont High School

Weare: Feb. 10 at 9 a.m. at Weare Middle School Cafe 

Weare School District: Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Weare Middle School

The deadline to file to run for an elected position is Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. Ballot voting on amended warrant items and elected positions will be held on March 13.