Participate in a Town Meeting

How Do I Vote?

Voters in open Town Meeting vote by various methods.

Voice Vote

Many Town Meeting votes are by voice. The moderator asks that all in favor (everyone voting "yes") say, "Yea" (which is pronounced "yay"). Then the moderator asks that all opposed (everyone voting "no") say, "Nay." The moderator listens and decides which side prevailed.

Show of Cards

When you check into a Middleton Town Meeting you will be given a colored card. When a counted vote is needed, the moderator asks that all in favor raise their cards. "Counters" will then come forward and count the vote in favor. Then the moderator asks that all opposed raise their cards, and these are counted in the same way. The Counters report to the moderator who then announces the results of the vote.

Secret Ballots

In Middleton, the vote will be by secret ballot if 25 % percent of the voters present and voting ask for it.

Are There Votes That Cannot Be Taken by Voice?

Yes. Votes that require 2/3 of the vote, not a simple majority, for an article to pass. If the voice vote is not unanimous and it is not perfectly clear to the Moderator that a 2/3 plurality was obtained, then the moderator will ask for a counted vote.

What if I Think That the Moderator Did Not Decide Correctly a Voice Vote?

Stand immediately and say one of the following: "I doubt it," "I doubt the vote," or "I question it." If at least six other voters stand with you, the moderator must count votes more formally. The moderator must then verify the vote by calling for a counted vote.

How Do I Speak in Debate?

If you wish to speak, raise your hand and wait for the moderator to acknowledge you. When the moderator acknowledges you, state your name and your address.

Speak about the topic being discussed. Don't speak about a previous topic (unless there is a motion to rescind or reconsider).

Make your comments to the moderator, not to the Town Meeting or individual Town Meeting Members.

You may attack a previous speaker's argument, but do not attack a previous speaker. For example, do not say, "The previous speaker is dead wrong." Instead, say something like, "I disagree with the argument we just heard."