CHAPTER 90*
TOWN AND OTHER COMMUNITY MEETINGS

      *Sec. 7-1-7-9c cited. 43 CA 297.

Table of Contents

Sec. 7-1. Annual and special town meetings. Holding of meetings outside town.
Sec. 7-2. Ordinance concerning convening of special town meetings.
Sec. 7-3. Warning of town and other meetings.
Sec. 7-4. Record of warning.
Sec. 7-5. Place.
Sec. 7-6. Eligibility to vote.
Sec. 7-7. Conduct of meeting of municipal corporations. Vote by ballot or voting machine; when.
Sec. 7-8. Power of moderator.
Sec. 7-9. Petitions for vote. Form. Statement by circulator.
Sec. 7-9a. Circulation of petition for vote at town meeting.
Sec. 7-9b. Hours of voting at referenda.
Sec. 7-9c. Dates and hours of referenda.
Sec. 7-9d. Validation of prior referenda. Hours.

      Sec. 7-1. Annual and special town meetings. Holding of meetings outside town. (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, there shall be held in each town, annually, a town meeting for the transaction of business proper to come before such meeting, which meeting shall be designated as the annual town meeting. Special town meetings may be convened when the selectmen deem it necessary, and they shall warn a special town meeting on application of twenty inhabitants qualified to vote in town meetings, such meeting to be held within twenty-one days after receiving such application. Any town meeting may be adjourned from time to time as the interest of the town requires.

      (b) Where any town's public buildings do not contain adequate space for holding annual or special town meetings, any such town may hold any such meeting outside the boundaries of the town, provided such meetings are held at the nearest practical locations to the town.

      (1949 Rev., S. 491, 492; 1953, S. 205d; 1957, P.A. 226, S. 1; P.A. 73-412; P.A. 77-56.)

      History: P.A. 73-412 deleted requirement that annual meeting be held on first Monday in October barring other provisions in law; P.A. 77-56 added Subsec. (b) re meetings held outside of town.

      Vote may be rescinded at subsequent meeting. 34 C. 108. Calling of special meeting for legal purpose is obligatory; immaterial that application names a day. 41 C. 245. Mandamus to compel calling of special meeting; reasonable certainty enough in application. 89 C. 561. Cited. 139 C. 209. Mandamus lies for directing selectmen to call town meeting for acceptance of street as public highway. 151 C. 372. Cited. 204 C. 551. Provisions of section do not preempt provisions of town charters delineating the circumstances requiring town meeting involvement. 234 C. 513.

      Cited. 21 CA 351. Plaintiff's application to warn town meeting concerning dismissal of town planner was not proper under this section. 85 CA 555.

      No duty on the selectman to call a meeting pursuant to a petition where object is unlawful, frivolous or improper. 16 CS 486; 19 CS 216. While the board of selectmen is required to warn a town meeting on petition of twenty inhabitants qualified to vote, there is no duty to warn a meeting pursuant to such petition unless the board is reasonably certain that the object of the petition is lawful, proper, and not frivolous. 32 CS 237.


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      Sec. 7-2. Ordinance concerning convening of special town meetings. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 7-1, any town may adopt an ordinance, in the manner provided by section 7-157, requiring that a special town meeting be warned by the selectmen on application of at least fifty inhabitants qualified to vote at town meetings, such meeting to be held within twenty-one days after such application is received by the selectmen; provided nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any ordinance legally adopted prior to October 1, 1957.

      (1953, S. 206d; 1957, P.A. 226, S. 2.)

      Cited. 234 C. 513.

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      Sec. 7-3. Warning of town and other meetings. The warning of each town meeting, and of each meeting of a city, borough, school district or other public community or of an ecclesiastical society, shall specify the objects for which such meeting is to be held. Notice of a town meeting shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior place near the office of the town clerk of such town and at such other place or places as may be designated as hereinafter provided, a printed or written warning signed by the selectmen, or a majority of them, and by publishing a like warning in a newspaper published in such town or having a circulation therein, such posting and such publication to be at least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day that notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting; but any town may, at an annual meeting, designate any other place or places, in addition to the signpost or other exterior place, at which such warnings shall be set up. The selectmen shall, on or before the day of such meeting, cause a copy of each such warning to be left with the town clerk, who shall record the same. Notice of a meeting of a city or borough shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior place nearest to the office of the clerk of such city or borough or at such place or places as may be designated by special charter provision, a written or printed warning signed by the mayor or clerk in the case of a city or by the warden or clerk in the case of a borough, and by publishing a like warning in a newspaper published within the limits of such city or borough, or having a circulation therein, at least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day that notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting.

      (1949 Rev., S. 493; 1953, S. 211d; 1963, P.A. 212; P.A. 84-146, S. 1.)

      History: 1963 act deleted provisions for posting warnings on signposts in the municipality and substituted posting on signpost or other exterior place nearest clerk's office; P.A. 84-146 made technical grammatical change.

      Both warning and notice are requisite for legal meeting. 4 D. 62; 5 C. 391; 37 C. 392; 44 C. 157; 52 C. 483; 58 C. 488; 60 C. 165; 121 U. S. 121. Warning is to be affirmatively proved. 8 C. 247. Town clerk's record that meeting was legally warned is prima facie evidence thereof. 25 C. 555; see 121 U. S. 121. The hour of meeting presumed to be a proper hour. 13 C. 227. The notice should fairly state the purpose of meeting. Id.; 15 C. 327; 36 C. 83; 53 C. 577; 58 C. 488. Town may act within the limits of the warning. 55 C. 245. The statute prescribed method of notice, while by its vote the society prescribed more general notice. Held that the society vote was merely directory. 15 C. 327. A validating act of the general assembly cures all defects incident to the act validated. 52 C. 45. "Soldier's bounty" validating acts, so held. 32 C. 47; 37 C. 225. Town has no inherent legal powers. 32 C. 47. Warning needs no address, but addressed "to the inhabitants" is valid. Id. Clerk's certificate imports verity only as to matters of lawful consideration. 44 C. 158; 51 C. 22. Five days before the meeting means five days before the day of meeting. Id. A meeting illegally warned voted a guarantee; a subsequent legal meeting voted "to let conditions of former vote remain as they now stand". Held not to be a ratification. Id; see 121 U.S. 121. Town is not estopped by erroneous record of town clerk, as against one acting under it. Id. Meeting voted to adjourn "to Wednesday evening". Held to mean the next Wednesday. 52 C. 45. Unless restrictive in terms, a subsequent board of selectmen may carry out the purpose of a vote. Id., 498. As to what constitutes an appropriation. 58 C. 486. Town may by acquiescence ratify unauthorized act of selectmen. 59 C. 447. General notice sufficient as to action required by law. 77 C. 197. Notice published in newspaper four days before meeting insufficient. 83 C. 331. Warning to consider water company's proposition in regard to laying water main held to cover vote to contract with company for laying the water main. 97 C. 636. Unnecessary for warning to state number of grand jurors to be elected. 111 C. 341. Cited. 152 C. 237. Cited. 185 C. 556. Cited. 234 C. 513.

      Warning advising voters "to determine what is to be done about the addition of a room to the ... school" did not warn of the action taken rescinding votes passed at a prior meeting authorizing the building of an addition to the school. 13 CS 116.


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      Sec. 7-4. Record of warning. The person who posts, causes to be published or in any other manner gives notice of the warning for any meeting of a town, city, borough, school district or other public community or of an ecclesiastical society shall make return, in writing, to the person whose duty it is to keep a record of such meeting, showing the notice given of such warning, and such return shall be kept on file and recorded at length with the warning or doings of such meeting.

      (1949 Rev., S. 494; 1953, S. 212d.)

      As to necessity of recording warning, see 121 U.S. 121.

      Recorded return of notice of warning best evidence of contents of warning. 97 C. 633.

      Town not charged with the neglect of its officers to file sufficient notice of town meeting. 29 CS 59.


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      Sec. 7-5. Place. In any town, the place of holding town meetings may be determined by a majority of the voters present and voting at any town meeting specially warned and held for that purpose.

      (1949 Rev., S. 529; 1953, S. 207d.)

      See Sec. 9-1 for applicable definitions.

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      Sec. 7-6. Eligibility to vote. At any town meeting other than a regular or special town election or at any meeting of any fire, sewer or school district or any other municipal subdivision of any town incorporated by any special act, any person who is an elector of such town may vote and any citizen of the United States of the age of eighteen years or more who, jointly or severally, is liable to the town, district or subdivision for taxes assessed against him on an assessment of not less than one thousand dollars on the last-completed grand list of such town, district or subdivision, or who would be so liable if not entitled to an exemption under subdivision (17), (19), (22), (23), (25) or (26) of section 12-81, may vote, unless restricted by the provisions of any special act relating to such town, district or subdivision.

      (1949 Rev., S. 496; 1953, 1955, S. 209d; 1963, P.A. 642, S. 5; 1972, P.A. 127, S. 3; P.A. 02-130, S. 15.)

      History: 1963 act corrected erroneous references to subsections of Sec. 12-81; 1972 act changed voting age from 21 to 18; P.A. 02-130 replaced "citizen" with "citizen of the United States", effective May 10, 2002.

      See Sec. 9-1 for applicable definitions.

      See Sec. 9-360 re penalty for fraudulent voting.

      See Sec. 9-365 re employers' threat or punitive action relative to employees' vote.


      Freehold estate ratable, but not rated, does not qualify. 2 D. 504. Cited. 184 C. 200. Cited. 212 C. 338. Cited. 234 C. 513.

      Cited. 36 CA 584.

      Requisite value necessary to vote determined without reference to existence of mortgage on the property; where husband and wife are joint owners, each is entitled to vote if assessed value is not less than $2,000; history of statute reviewed. 19 CS 234. Cited. 43 CS 297.


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      Sec. 7-7. Conduct of meeting of municipal corporations. Vote by ballot or voting machine; when. All towns, when lawfully assembled for any purpose other than the election of town officers, and all societies and other municipal corporations when lawfully assembled, shall choose a moderator to preside at such meetings, unless otherwise provided by law; and, except as otherwise provided by law, all questions arising in such meetings shall be decided in accordance with standard parliamentary practice, and towns, societies and municipal corporations may, by ordinance, adopt rules of order for the conduct of their meetings. At any such town meeting the moderator shall be chosen from the last-completed registry list of such town. Two hundred or more persons or ten per cent of the total number qualified to vote in the meeting of a town or other municipal corporation, whichever is less, may petition the clerk or secretary of such town or municipal corporation, in writing, at least twenty-four hours prior to any such meeting, requesting that any item or items on the call of such meeting be submitted to the persons qualified to vote in such meeting not less than seven nor more than fourteen days thereafter, on a day to be set by the town meeting or, if the town meeting does not set a date, by the town selectmen, for a vote by paper ballots or by a "Yes" or "No" vote on the voting machines, during the hours between twelve o'clock noon and eight o'clock p.m.; but any municipality may, any provision of any special act to the contrary notwithstanding, by vote of its legislative body provide for an earlier hour for opening the polls but not earlier than six o'clock a.m. The selectmen of the town may, not less than five days prior to the day of any such meeting, on their own initiative, remove any item on the call of such meeting for submission to the voters in the manner provided by this section or may submit any item which, in the absence of such a vote, could properly come before such a meeting to the voters at a date set for such vote or along with any other vote the date of which has been previously set. The paper ballots or voting machine ballot labels, as the case may be, shall be provided by such clerk or secretary. When such a petition has been filed with such clerk or secretary, the moderator of such meeting, after completion of other business and after reasonable discussion, shall adjourn such meeting and order such vote on such item or items in accordance with the petition; and any item so voted may be rescinded in the same manner. If such moderator resigns or is for any other cause unable to serve as moderator at such adjourned meeting, such clerk or secretary shall serve, or may appoint an elector of such municipality to serve, as moderator of such adjourned meeting. Such clerk or secretary, as the case may be, shall phrase such item or items in a form suitable for printing on such paper ballots or ballot labels, provided that the designation of any such item shall be in the form of a question, as prescribed under section 9-369. The vote on any item on the call of a town or other municipal corporation shall be taken by paper ballot if so voted at the meeting, if no petition has been filed under this section with reference to such item.

      (1949 Rev., S. 495; 1953, S. 210d; 1957, P.A. 545; 1961, P.A. 593; 1967, P.A. 805, S. 2; 1969, P.A. 3, S. 1; 694, S. 18; P.A. 73-467; P.A. 79-631, S. 28, 111; P.A. 81-228; P.A. 86-170, S. 3, 13.)

      History: 1961 act substituted deciding of questions in accordance with standard parliamentary practices for deciding by majority vote and authorized adoption of rules of order by ordinance; 1967 act changed poll opening from 8 to 6 a.m. and amended town's options re hours to remove option of shorter voting period than specified; 1969 acts changed poll hours from between "6 a.m. and 6 p.m." to between "twelve noon and eight p.m." and replaced former option of keeping polls open until eight p.m. with option for earlier opening than specified; P.A. 73-467 changed requirements for petition to 10% of population or the previous 200 persons, whichever is less; P.A. 79-631 made technical changes; P.A. 81-228 allowed selectmen to call for referendum on their own initiative; P.A. 86-170 required that designation on ballot label be in form of question.

      See Sec. 9-1 for applicable definitions.

      Cited. 184 C. 200. Cited. 204 C. 551. Cited. 234 C. 513.

      Cited. 13 CA 325.


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      Sec. 7-8. Power of moderator. The moderator of any town meeting, and of any meeting of any society or other community lawfully assembled, may, when any disorder arises in the meeting and the offender refuses to submit to the moderator's lawful authority, order any proper officer to take the offender into custody and, if necessary, to remove the offender from such meeting until the offender conforms to order or, if need be, until such meeting is closed, and thereupon such officer shall have power to command all necessary assistance. Any person refusing to assist when commanded shall be liable to the same penalties as for refusing to assist constables in the execution of their duties; but no person commanded to assist shall be deprived of such person's right to act in the meeting, nor shall the offender be so deprived any longer than the offender refuses to conform to order.

      (1949 Rev., S. 521; 1953, S. 213d; P.A. 00-99, S. 134, 154.)

      History: P.A. 00-99 deleted reference to sheriffs and made technical changes, effective December 1, 2000.

      See Sec. 53a-182 re disorderly conduct.

      The enforcement of this provision requires no issue of process. 65 C. 30. Cited. 135 C. 150.

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      Sec. 7-9. Petitions for vote. Form. Statement by circulator. Whenever under the provisions of the general statutes or any special act, any action for a vote by the electors or voters of a municipality is to be initiated by the petition of such electors or voters, in addition to such other requirements as such statute or special act may impose, such petition shall be on a form prescribed or approved by the clerk of such municipality, and each page of such petition shall contain a statement, signed under penalties of false statement, by the person who circulated the same, setting forth such circulator's name and address, and stating that each person whose name appears on said page signed the same in person in the presence of such circulator, that the circulator either knows each such signer or that the signer satisfactorily identified himself to the circulator and that all the signatures on said page were obtained not earlier than six months prior to the filing of said petition. Any page of a petition which does not contain such a statement by the circulator shall be invalid. Any circulator who makes a false statement in the statement hereinbefore provided shall be subject to the penalty provided for false statement.

      (1957, P.A. 347; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 58.)

      History: 1971 act substituted "false statement" for "perjury".

      Cited. 184 C. 410. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 197 C. 82. Cited. 205 C. 290. Cited. 234 C. 513.

      Petition asking for referendum on authorization of bond issue to finance new school complex invalid because of failure to comply with section. 28 CS 295. Requirement that each page of petition contain six months' clause, applicable to referenda under section 12-574a. 30 CS 365.


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      Sec. 7-9a. Circulation of petition for vote at town meeting. No petition shall be valid for any action for a vote by the electors or voters at any regular or special town meeting unless such petition shall be circulated by a person resident or eligible to vote in such town.

      (February, 1965, P.A. 360.)

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      Sec. 7-9b. Hours of voting at referenda. Whenever any municipality conducts a referendum on a day other than a state or local election, the polls shall be open between twelve noon and eight p.m., but any municipality may, any provision of any special act to the contrary notwithstanding, by vote of its legislative body provide that the polls at any such referendum shall open at an earlier hour but not earlier than six a.m.

      (1967, P.A. 805, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 3, S. 2; 694, S. 19.)

      History: 1969 acts changed poll hours from between "six a.m. and six p.m." to between "twelve noon and eight p.m.", removed distinctions between towns and cities and boroughs in voting on poll hours and replaced former option for eight p.m. closing with option for earlier opening.

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      Sec. 7-9c. Dates and hours of referenda. Unless otherwise provided by law, a referendum on any question may be held at such hours as is provided in section 7-9b and on such date as the legislative body of the political subdivision holding such referendum shall determine pursuant to the provisions of the local charter, special act or home rule ordinance or not earlier than the thirtieth day following the day upon which the municipal clerk, upon instruction from the legislative body, issues a warning therefor by publishing a notice thereof in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality. In the case of any question to be submitted at an election as that term is defined in section 9-1, the provisions of sections 9-369, 9-369a and 9-370 shall apply. The provisions of this section shall not apply to votes scheduled under section 7-7.

      (1969, P.A. 426, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 507, S. 3; P.A. 89-297, S. 7; P.A. 97-276.)

      History: 1971 act added specific provisions for questions submitted at elections and deleted reference to questions "not involving a constitutional amendment or the election of municipal officers"; P.A. 89-297 deleted "pursuant to petitions filed" after "scheduled" in last sentence, providing that section does not apply to any votes scheduled under Sec. 7-7; P.A. 97-276 added provision requiring referendums to be consistent with the local charter, special act or home rule ordinance.

      Cited. 204 C. 551.

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      Sec. 7-9d. Validation of prior referenda. Hours. Section 7-9d is repealed.

      (1969, P.A. 624, S. 1, 2; P.A. 82-327, S. 12.)

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