“Robert’s Rules” & The Basic Law of Town Meeting

According to state law, town meetings in Vermont are governed by Robert’s Rules of Order (although a town may adopt some other rules of order if it chooses). These rules are amended by several additional state laws, including:

  • Only warned articles can be considered at Town Meeting. No articles or subjects may be raised that did not appear on the warning.
  • Once an article has been decided, whether voted up or down, it cannot be reconsidered after the assembly has taken up work on another article; for an article to be reconsidered a new warning and meeting are required.
  • While Robert’s Rules require a majority vote to request a paper ballot, state law permits seven voters to request one.

Robert’s Rules of Order is available in paperback and is published in various editions. You may wish to buy and read the latest edition; you can even bring your copy to town meeting, and use it to raise issues of procedure with the Moderator.

Don’t worry! If you’re not familiar with Robert’s Rules, don’t let that keep you home from town meeting. Most of the discussion methods are common sense, and the Moderator is trained to lead the group through all procedures. What’s most important is your participation. If in doubt, just raise your hand and ask.