Forecast snowstorm causes towns to postpone elections

  • Temple residents vote in last year's town election. —STAFF FILE PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

Published: 3/13/2023 10:33:07 AM

Due to the storm projected for Tuesday, towns have postponed their elections to March 28.

Antrim, Bennington, New Ipswich, Greenville, Greenfield, Lyndeborough, Mason, Rindge, Jaffrey, Wilton, Sharon, Dublin, Francestown, Hancock, Peterborough and Temple had delayed their elections. Greenville, Greenfield, Lyndeborough, Dublin, Mason, Francestown, Greenfield, Temple and Jaffrey will still hold Town Meeting March 18. 

Wilton’s Town Meeting is still scheduled for Thursday. Sharon’s Town Meeting was also scheduled for Tuesday, and will also be March 28. Peterborough was only scheduled to vote in this round as part of the ConVal election, as its election and Town Meeting are May 9 and 10.

As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service had declared a winter storm warning for western and central New Hampshire. Under state law (RSA 40:4), this gives moderators the option of postponing either Tuesday’s ballot voting or any Tuesday night town meetings, or both. They must make that decision at least two hours before the polls open.

That law was passed by the Legislature followed widespread confusion on town meeting day in 2017, when a huge storm led some moderators to postpone voting or meetings, only to be told that the move was illegal because no state law allowed it.

Then came 2020 and the COVID-19 shutdown just as town meeting was about to happen. Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency declaration gave moderators latitude on how to respond and much scrambling ensured. Some towns held meetings outdoors, some held it as a drive-through, some set up online versions. 

Material from the Concord Monitor was used in this report. Updates will be provided as circumstances change.

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