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Merrimack Village District Annual Meeting Guide

Changes - 3/27
  1. Specifics around voting on article 4 were updated (must wait until it is discussed)
  2. Wording about not being able to register to vote at the meeting was added
  3. 4PM: wording about BEING ABLE TO REGISTER TO VOTE was added (SOS modified decision)
Introduction
My name is Brian McCarthy, I am the Village District Moderator.

I have hijacked my MerrimackVotes website to get some information out about the upcoming Merrimack Village District Annual meeting. I simply don't have time to get the entire site up and ready before Tuesday.

This single page will contain a description of what happens at the Annual meeting and what voters can expect.

Use the Contact page at the bottom to send me your comments.

Thanks

This May Not Be Perfect
This is my best effort to inform those attending the MVD Annual meeting of the process. I believe voters will feel more comfortable at the meeting when they know what to expect.

However, I may have missed something, or described it 'not quite right' here. For that I apologize in advance.

There are many more details of the process in the RSAs and voters can visit the State's website to find more information.

The Annual Meeting
The Village District follows what would be considered 'old style town meeting' format of elections.

What is allowed and the the process is all defined by state RSAs, but if you have ever felt satisfied after attempting to get a simple question answered by looking at the RSAs, you must be a lawyer. The answer is there, but you may end up jumping through 8 different RSAs and make assumptions about 'does this apply to a village district?'.

The MVD Annual Meeting is: March 27th, 2018 - 7:00 PM

James Mastricola Upper Elementary School - All Purpose Room
26 Baboosic Lake Rd
Merrimack, NH 03054

Checking in

YOU will be able to register to vote this evening.

When you arrive, if you plan to vote, you will need to check in. You are required to have valid ID. Visit the State site for details of what is considered a valid ID: Voter ID Law.

Here is the summary:

(1) A driver's license issued by any state or the federal government.
(2) An identification card issued under RSA 260:21, RSA 260:21-a, or RSA 260:21-b or a nondriver's identification card issued by the motor vehicles division, department, agency, or office of any other state.
(3) A United States armed services identification card.
(4) A United States passport or passcard.
(5) A valid student identification card if:
(A) The card is issued by:
(i) A college, university, or career school in New Hampshire and approved to operate or licensed to operate in New Hampshire.
(ii) A public high school in New Hampshire.
(iii) A nonpublic high school in New Hampshire accredited by a private school accrediting agency that is recognized by the department of education.
(iv) Dartmouth College.
(v) A college or university operated by the university system of New Hampshire or the community college system of New Hampshire.
(B) The card has either an expiration date or an issuance date that has not been exceeded by a period of more than 5 years, except that, at all elections prior to September 1, 2018, student identification cards without a date of expiration or issuance shall be accepted.
(6) A challenged voter affidavit in accordance with subparagraph I(c).

You will be handed two ballots, one for the elected officials and a second one for Article 4.

You will also be given a voter card. Hang onto that, you will need it.

You are allowed to leave and return to the meeting but keep your card with you. Even if you do not plan on returning you need to take your card with you.

Beginning the Meeting
At about 7:00 PM, the meeting will be called to order and the pledge of allegiance will be made.

The moderator will give a quick summary of how the evening will proceed (most of what is listed on this page).

The moderator will then ask the commissioners to introduce the table.

The Village District will then make a short statement.

The ballot boxes will be opened at this time, however, you can not cast your bond ballot until after article 4 is read and discussed.

Voting - The Ballots
At any time after the meeting is called to order, you can fill in your ballots and place them into the ballot boxes.

Article 4 voting must wait until after it has been discussed.

There will be voting booths with pens located at the back of the room. Unlike normal voting day, there will not be a large number of voting booths so you may need to wait to get into one.

Do not put your voter card in the box!

Unlike voting date for the Town/School District, there will not be a ballot machine in use. The ballots will be counted by hand by the moderator and assistant moderators after the ballot box is closed.

Articles on the Warrant
Each article, starting with article 4, is:
  • Read by the moderator as it exists on the warrant
  • A registered voter moves the article (moderator may ask the voter to speak their name for the minutes)
  • A registered voter seconds the article (again, may need to speak their name)
  • The voter who moved the article is recognized to provide any additional information on the article.
  • Discussion is open on the article. See Discussion of Articles
    If an article has wording prescribed by RSAs/DRA than the article can not be amended (Article 4)
  • After discussion the motion is re-read (if changed)
  • Any voter can 'call the question' to suggest the moderator ask for a vote.
  • A vote is taken on the article and the outcome announced. See Voting
Closing the Ballot Box
  After all the articles have been voted on, and at least one hour after voting was open, the moderator will ask if there is anyone present who has yet to cast their ballots. Once those people (if there were any) have voted, the ballot boxes will be closed and the ballots will be counted by the moderator and assistant moderators.
Announcing The Results/Races/Bond Articles
  Once the ballots are counted the moderator will announce the results of the races for office and the bond article.
Concluding the Meeting
  After the results of the office races are announced, the moderator will entertain a motion to adjourn the meeting and ask 'all in favor'.

Have a great evening everyone!

Discussion of Articles
  Any registered voter may speak to an article. They may make a comment, question/clarification or suggest an amendment. Any article may be amended except those articles which wording is prescribed by RSAs or DRA.

Voters are asked to line up behind the microphone and are allowed to make one comment, question or amendment before yielding the microphone to the next voter.

The voter at the microphone:

  • States their name and address and shows their voter card (even if they have been to the microphone before)
  • In the case of an amendment (when allowed):
    • Must be in writing (written down)
    • The amendment is read by the voter
    • The written amendment is handed to the moderator
    • A Motion to move the amendment must be made and seconded - by registered voters
    • If the amendment is not moved and seconded then no vote or discussion takes place
    • A discussion on the amendment only begins
      No further amendments can be made until this amendment is voted on
    • A vote (majority wins) is taken on the amendment
    • If passed, the article, as amended, is now open for discussion
  • In the case of a question:
    • The question is asked to the Moderator
    • The moderator will recognize a board member to respond. The board member may defer to a specialist to answer.
    • A follow up question may be allowed
  • In the case of a comment/statement:
    • The statement is made to the Moderator
    • There is no requirement for the board to respond
Time for the next voter to speak.
Voting on Articles/Calling the Question
  Unless a secret ballot is requested, articles will be voted on by a show of those Voter Cards you were handed when you checked in.

The moderator will ask for a show of cards for "YES", then a show of cards for "NO". If the numbers are close, the moderator may repeat the process and ask assistant moderators to count the cards.

With the exception of Article 11, a simple majority is required for an article to pass.

If a secret ballot is called for by five or more voters the secret ballot process is:

  • Find an assistant moderator (they will be positioned around the room)
  • Present your voter card to them (they will make a mark on it and give it back to you)
  • Assistant Moderator will give you a ballot with a Yes/No on it
  • Circle or make a mark stating if you are for or against the question being asked
  • Place your ballot in the ballot box
Once all those wishing to vote have voted, the box will be closed, and the ballot box will be brought forward to be tallied by the moderator/assistant moderator.

No further business can take place until the results of the secret ballot are announced.

Article 11
  Article 11 is a petition warrant article which is not anything special, what does make it special is its intent.

The dissolution of a Village District is prescribed by State RSA:52-21 which states that 2/3 of its legal voters are required to vote in the affirmative.

66% of the votes cast for article 11 must say yes.

This means the moderator must have an absolute count of those for and against in order to make the calculation.

Voters Rights and Responsibilities
Every voter is responsible to:
  1. Recognize that the meeting is a legislative assembly where voters gather to conduct business
  2. The Moderator is responsible to preside over the meeting and ensure that the process is orderly.
  3. Arrive early enough for the meeting to allow sufficient time to check in.
  4. Be courteous to all officials, presenters, and fellow voters. Recognize the right of others to have a differing opinion.
  5. Avoid personal attacks and inappropriate language.
  6. Understand that occasional problems are to be expected when presenting information to or managing the movement of large numbers of voters, and be patient and courteous with officials and fellow voters when they occur.
  7. Sign your voter card upon receipt and keep it to yourself. You will need to show this card to speak or vote at the meeting. If you leave the meeting, take it with you, do not throw it away at the meeting site.
  8. Do not smoke on School Property. This includes the bathrooms and the parking lots.
  9. Put your cell phone on vibrate, or turn it off. If you must make or take a call, leave the room