HB1124 (2006) Detail

Relative to the wording of ballot questions and specifying that a simple majority is required to pass a ballot question, unless a supermajority vote is otherwise required.


HB 1124 – AS INTRODUCED

2006 SESSION

06-2916

08/10

HOUSE BILL 1124

AN ACT relative to the wording of ballot questions and specifying that a simple majority is required to pass a ballot question, unless a supermajority vote is otherwise required.

SPONSORS: Rep. Winchell, Rock 6

COMMITTEE: Municipal and County Government

ANALYSIS

This bill clarifies that a simple majority is required to pass a ballot question unless a law specifically requires a supermajority.

This bill requires the wording for appropriation questions to be in “yes-no” form.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

06-2916

08/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six

AN ACT relative to the wording of ballot questions and specifying that a simple majority is required to pass a ballot question, unless a supermajority vote is otherwise required.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Warrant. Amend RSA 39:2 to read as follows:

39:2 Warrant. The warrant for any town meeting shall be under the hands of the selectmen, and shall prescribe the place, day and hour of the meeting, and, if there is an election at said meeting, in which an official printed ballot containing more than one name is used, the warrant therefor shall prescribe the time the polls are to open and also an hour before which the polls may not close. A town meeting may vote to keep the polls open to a later hour but may not vote to close the polls at an earlier hour than that prescribed by the selectmen hereunder. The subject matter of all business to be acted upon at the town meeting shall be distinctly stated in the warrant, and nothing done at any meeting, except the election of any town officer required by law to be made at such meeting, shall be valid unless the subject thereof is so stated. Provided that in a case where the article in the warrant calls for the appropriation of a specific sum of money, the sum of money appropriated thereunder may be decreased or increased by the vote of the town, provided further that in a town under the municipal budget act no increase shall be valid which would violate the provisions of RSA 32:18, except as provided in RSA 32:18-a. Any question seeking to appropriate funds shall be worded as a “yes-no” question where a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the appropriation. Approval of all warrant articles shall be by simple majority except for questions which by law require a supermajority vote. Only “yes” and “no” votes shall be included in the calculation of the required majority.

2 Use of Secret Ballot. Amend RSA 49-D:3, I-a through II-a to read as follows:

I-a. Official ballot town council shall be a variation of the town council which provides for voting on some or all matters that general law requires to be addressed at the annual or a special meeting of a town, by official ballot. In such event, the town council shall be vested only with the limited authority to vote on all matters not voted on by official ballot. When an official ballot town council is included in any charter, the provisions of RSA 49-D:3, I, relative to town councils, shall apply in all respects, except with respect to those matters to be voted on by official ballot. When a charter provides for an official ballot town council it shall also specify with precision the budgetary items to be included on the official ballot, a finalization process for the annual budget, the process for public hearings, debate, discussion, and amendment of questions to be placed on the official ballot, the procedures for the transfer of funds among various departments, funds, accounts, and agencies as may be necessary during the year, and the applicability of the official ballot procedure to special elections. Any question seeking to appropriate funds shall be worded as a “yes-no” question where a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the appropriation. Approval of all warrant articles shall be by simple majority except for questions which by law require a supermajority vote. Only “yes” and “no” votes shall be included in the calculation of the required majority. The majority vote required to approve bonds or notes shall be either 2/3 or 3/5 as adopted and provided for in the charter. If a charter does not specify which majority vote is required, than the required majority vote shall be 2/3. All voting by official ballot shall be in accordance with the procedures established in RSA 669:19-29, RSA 670:5-7 and RSA 671:20-30, including all requirements pertaining to absentee voting, polling places, and polling hours. Nonbudgetary items may be placed on the official ballot pursuant to this section notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 40:4-e and RSA 39:3-d.

II. Budgetary town meeting shall be a variation of the open town meeting but vested with the limited authority to vote on the annual town operating budget as presented by the governing body. When included in any charter the provisions of general law relative to town meeting, their warning, the right for petitioned articles at such meetings and conduct of such meetings shall apply to a budgetary town meeting in all aspects relative to the appropriation of funds, including the approval of bond issues. Any question seeking to appropriate funds shall be worded as a “yes-no” question where a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the appropriation. Approval of all warrant articles shall be by simple majority except for questions which by law require a supermajority vote. Only “yes” and “no” votes shall be included in the calculation of the required majority. When a charter provides for a budgetary town meeting it shall also delineate procedures for the transfer of funds among various departments, funds, accounts and agencies as may be necessary during the year.

II-a. Official ballot town meeting shall be a variation of the open town meeting which provides for voting on some or all warrant articles, including part or all of the annual town operating budget, by official ballot. In such event, the open town meeting shall be vested only with the limited authority to vote on all matters not voted on by official ballot. When an official ballot town meeting is included in any charter, the provisions of general law relative to town meetings, their warning, the right for petitioned articles at such meetings, and the conduct of such meetings shall apply to the official ballot and open town meeting in all respects. Any question seeking to appropriate funds shall be worded as a “yes-no” question where a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the appropriation. Approval of all warrant articles shall be by simple majority except for questions which by law require a supermajority vote. Only “yes” and “no” votes shall be included in the calculation of the required majority. The majority vote required to approve bonds or notes shall be either 2/3 or 3/5 as adopted and provided for in the charter. If a charter is silent with regard to such required majority, then the majority vote shall be 2/3. When a charter provides for an official ballot town meeting it shall also specify with precision the budgetary items to be included on the official ballot, a finalization process for the annual budget, the process for public hearings, debate, discussion, and amendment of questions to be placed on the official ballot, the procedures for the transfer of funds among various departments, funds, accounts, and agencies as may be necessary during the year, and the applicability of the official ballot procedure to special meetings. All voting by official ballot shall be in accordance with the procedures established in RSA 669:19-29, RSA 670:5-7 and RSA 671:20-30, including all requirements pertaining to absentee voting, polling places, and polling hours. Nonbudgetary items may be placed on the official ballot pursuant to this section notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 40:4-e and RSA 39:3-d.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Links

HB1124 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1124 Revision: 9401 Date: Jan. 21, 2010, midnight

Docket