The Community Gazette surveyed all six New England States to determine how each state is addressing the public safety issues from the historic Town Meeting process of setting and approving municipal budgets.
Connecticut is the only state in the six New England states to ban municipal Town Meetings and designate Board of Finance to act on setting the annual budget and tax rate.
What follows is a recap of what each New England state is doing regarding local budget voting.
Maine is looking at instituting referendum voting to substitute for in-person town meetings for municipal budget votes.
Massachusetts has enacted rules to allow online town meetings to vote on municipal budgets.
New Hampshire has frozen school budgets to the current year, and left in-person town meeting decisions, so long as they confirm to social distancing, up to each community.
Rhode Island has put rules in place to allow online town meetings to replace in-person town meetings.
Vermont has enacted rules to allow municipalities to hold online town meetings.
Most New England Governors, regardless of political party, have said it is important to preserve the civil rights of citizens to determine their municipal budget by voting.
In a related development, the U.S. Justice Department announced on April 27th that it is actively investigating state and municipal officials who obstruct individual's civil rights during the COVID crisis, including the right to vote.