Bill Marcussen: Town Meeting Voters Didn’t Know What They Were Doing

Selectman Bill Marcussen said today that at Town Meeting in March 2017, when voters were discussing Warrant Article 9, there “were opinions voiced at that point that are demonstrably at odds with reality.”

Voters discussed Article 9 for 20 minutes and amended it twice before taking a final vote on it, making it the most discussed article at Town Meeting. But Bill said today that “the discussion didn’t go on to a further conclusion.”

“I believe that the vote as it was taken was done without full understanding on part of some of the voters,” he said. However, before the final vote on the article, Town Meeting’s Moderator, Dan Barnard, asked the voters: “Does everybody understand where we’re at? We’re voting now on Article Number 9. It has been amended to limit the selectmen’s prerogatives to sealed bid, and is constructed in such a way that the authority will expire at the end of one year.”

Bill also claimed that “it was a close vote, as you know.”

A close vote would not make the vote any less valid. At Town Meeting articles pass with a 50% + 1 vote, unless the article involves taking on debt that future Town Meetings would be obligated to fund. In that case a 2/3 majority is required.

However, none of the votes on Article 9 were close.

The first amendment to Article 9, which I put forward and that removed the language “indefinitely, until rescinded” from the article, had a recorded vote of 67 yes to 57 no (roughly 55% to 45%). The second amendment to Article 9, which was put forward by Steve Snow and limited the selectmen to selling by sealed bids, had even more overwhelming support and the Moderator, Dan, did not call for a recorded vote but instead declared that amendment passed by show of hands.

The final vote to pass Article 9 as amended was not close, either. Dan again did not call for a recorded vote but instead declared the article as amended to be passed by a show of hands, indicating that a clear majority favored it. All three current selectmen are shown on video voting for the amended article.

Published in Board of Selectmen
Max Ledoux

Author: Max Ledoux

I've lived in Tuftonboro since 2014. I grew up in Lisbon Falls, Maine (the Moxie capital of the world). I run tuftonboro.net.

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