New England Town Meetings: An Opportunity to Pass Medicare for All Resolutions
As one of the foremost examples of direct democracy in the United States, New England’s Town Meetings offer the opportunity to pass many Medicare for All resolutions in towns across the states of New Hampshire and Vermont this spring.
If you live in New Hampshire or Vermont, please schedule a call with us on this relatively simple process to educate your town about Medicare for All.
Below is a timeline to break down the steps towards passing a resolution at your Town Meeting, based on advice from citizen groups in New Hampshire. The process for Vermont Towns is very similar – and we are excited to work with leaders across New England to build momentum for Medicare for All at this critical moment.
Timeline: How to bring a Medicare for All resolution to your Town Meeting
Gather and Verify the Information You’ll Need
Here are some things we can help with:
- Many New England Town Meeting resolutions (see below for examples) have included a dollar amount for the town’s expenses on private insurance plans for city employees. We can advise you on how to obtain this number from your clerk’s office.
- We can connect you to activists who passed resolutions previously for advice
- We can brainstorm ways to obtain petition signatures from your neighbors
- We can help out with a press strategy to spread awareness of your warrant and article before the town meeting and after it passes.
2) Read the text of successful resolutions:
3) Write your petition – We have created a sample petition form with recommended language for your use that you may download here.
4) Establish a relationship with your town clerk. This official is about to be your new best friend for the next few months! Figure out early on what their working hours are and the best way to reach them. Here is some key information you’ll need your town clerk to verify:
a) Show them your petition language to make sure it meets the town’s requirements for a petitioned warrant article – and work with them to get the language right to meet these standards.
b) How many signatures are required? In most NH towns, the minimum is 25 signatures from registered voters.
c) When is the deadline for submitting petitions?
5) Let us know you’re collecting signatures so we can add your effort to the Resolutions map and connect you with other activists in your town.
1) Remember that you cannot change the language of your petition after signatures are collected – or it will invalidate the signatures.
2) In most New Hampshire towns, you will need a minimum of 25 signatures of registered voters. We recommend collecting 50 or more to be sure you have enough valid signatures. Town clerks or voting officials will remove any names that don’t belong to registered voters, so more is better!
3) Public spaces, such as outside grocery and hardware stores, community meetings, town hall and polling stations, are all great places to collect signatures. Bring clipboards, tables and signage – and a smile!
4) Submit your signatures before the deadline to the Town Clerk for verification.
February and March: Prepare for Town Meeting Day
Let us know when your article has been placed on the warrant. We’ll help you reach out to local media and activists to get ready for the vote.
*Many thanks to NH Rebellion, the Democracy is for People campaign, and PNHP-NH for advice and resources.