Edgartown temporarily lowers quorum

Edgartown has reduced its quorum ahead of tonight's town meeting at the Old Whaling Church. -Max Eagan

The Edgartown select board met Monday to approve an adjustment of the quorum requirements for the special and annual town meetings, scheduled for 7 pm Tuesday, April 12, at the Old Whaling Church. 

The quorum is the minimum number of registered voters that must be present in order for the proceedings to be legally valid. 

“This doesn’t prohibit people from coming,” said town administrator James Hagerty. “This enables us to pass the budget, if in fact we don’t reach that quorum level.”

“We have to hedge in the event” that the quorum requirements are not met, he added.

In 2021, Edgartown’s quorum of 207 was not met, causing delays in the proceedings, said Hagerty. The initial quorum level for 2022 had been 213, but concerns over reaching that have encouraged the select board to adjust it to 150. 

Select board member Arthur Smadbeck agreed with lowering the quorum, noting that the delays in 2021 “were inconvenient for the people that did show up.” 

Department head reports, based on the town census, cite 5,232 year-round Edgartown residents, with 4,262 that are currently registered voters, said Hagerty. 

Due to the pandemic, the Old Whaling Church on Main Street has not hosted a town meeting for the last two years. The town meeting is open to all registered voters.