Pandemic poses problems for town meetings, elections

Apr 1, 2020

In addition to health risks and economic hardship, the coronavirus pandemic poses problems for various town meetings and elections because it is no longer safe for people to gather in large crowds.

Wareham’s Annual Town Meeting was scheduled for April 27, but Town Moderator Claire Smith said that she would like to postpone it to June 15, or even later. 

“I think we need to postpone [the meeting] for as long as we have to to make sure that everyone is safe,” Smith said.

However, Massachusetts state law only allows for a postponement of 30 days. Smith said that lawmakers are currently working on emergency legislation that would allow for a longer postponement, but the bill has not been passed yet. 

Smith added that the town will hold its annual elections one week after the Annual Town Meeting, but that it is still unclear what the exact date will be for the meeting, or the election.

The Wareham Fire District originally scheduled its annual election for April 18, but has since postponed to May 16. According to the district’s clerk and treasurer Wendy Lemieux, residents can find early voting ballot applications at under the Clerk/Treasurer tab. 

Lemieux said that the fire district’s annual meeting has been scheduled for April 13, but that it will likely be continued to May. The meeting has a quorum of 50 people. 

The Onset Fire District has scheduled its annual meeting for May 18, and has a quorum of 25 people. According to Mary McCoy of the Prudential Committee, it is still too early to determine whether or not the meeting will need to be postponed due to the pandemic.