New dates set for some town meetings, elections

With schools closed through May 4, town meetings have been pushed ahead to May and even June. - Gabrielle Mannino

Tisbury voters were supposed to tackle the town’s business on Tuesday, March 31, but selectmen there were the first to delay the annual New England tradition in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One by one since that March 13 vote in Tisbury, Vineyard towns have pushed forward annual town meetings and annual town elections due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. A state law enacted on March 23 permits local elections to be delayed until June 30. A law was already on the books permitting towns to delay or “recess and continue” town meetings should a public safety emergency arise after a warrant has been issued. 

Aquinnah’s annual town meeting is pushed to June 23 and the annual town election is pushed to June 24.

Chilmark recently set, as opposed to postponed, its annual town meeting for June 8 and its annual town election for June 10.

Edgartown postponed its annual town meeting to May 12, its special town meeting to May 12, and its annual town election May 14.

Oak Bluffs annual town meeting was moved to May 12 and its annual town election moved to May 14.

Tisbury’s annual town meeting moved to April 30. The town has no new date yet for the annual town election. The original election date was April 14. These are likely to change given Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent announcement extending school closings through May 4. Tisbury selectmen are scheduled to meet Friday at 1.

West Tisbury postponed its annual town meeting to May 12. Selectmen voted 2-0 to postpone the annual town election but haven’t yet selected a new date.


  1. Everything I’m reading and hearing makes me believe May will be way too early to hold a large meeting in an enclosed space, even if it is allowed. I have a feeling that long after meeting limits are lifted many people will not want to congregate, possibly until everyone gets the vaccine. Maybe, just maybe this will be the impetus to modernize this archaic form of town government, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Umm…you do understand that town meetings are basically what this country was built on,right?

      • Exactly. This country was built 244 years ago and a lot of things we did back then are archaic and long past their functionality, including town meetings. For that matter, the island should have one government. But, enough politics, nobody is going to want to gather in a crowded interior space in May!

        • Both you and Jackie seem unhappy with the country that harbors you. May I suggest Vietnam with it’s panoramic rice paddy vistas and water buffalo, or perhaps Zimbabwe with it’s goats and villages, not to mention the non stop and entertaining riots and shortages.

        • Nothing archaic about all citizens of a town getting a say in how that town is run or that towns money is spent.

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