By | 07 Mar 2023 at 2:27 PM
National Town Meeting Day 2023: Date, History, Facts

National Town Meeting Day, observed annually on the first Tuesday of March, is one of our beloved government- and state-related national holidays. This year’s date is March 7. We appreciate how town meetings can bring communities together, motivate individuals to surmount obstacles and biases, and result in community-wide conclusions and resolutions. And did you know that the first town meetings in the United States occurred in Vermont, New England?

The background of National Town Meeting Day

Vermont has held town meetings, a form of direct democracy in which community members assemble to legislate policy and budgets, since 1762. The Vermont Republic was not founded until 15 years later, and statehood was not granted until 1791, due to the importance of these meetings to the state’s history.

The first municipal meetings were held by English settlers. As a result of their participation in these local gatherings, these colonists established parish-based governments, with town selectmen functioning as a continuation of vestry churchwardens. In colonial New England, there was minimal separation between church and town governance; however, with the disestablishment of state churches, meetings continued to play a very important role and continue to influence the governance of New England towns today.

It is a New England custom that dates back to the time before local governments ceded much of their authority to state and federal governments. It is a tradition that has endured for over two centuries and fifty years. Actually, there are two distinct categories of town meetings. An open town meeting is a type of town meeting in which all registered voters are permitted to vote and act on the community’s legislative matters. Representative town meetings function identically to open town meetings, with the exception that not all registered voters may participate.

Since the inception of town meetings, the first Tuesday of March has become a day for town residents to discuss major and minor issues. For many years, it has also been known as National Town Meeting Day, as an entire day is set aside for these gatherings. Numerous communities continue to hold in-person meetings to make decisions on matters such as school budgets, road maintenance, and non-binding resolutions.

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A simple plurality of voters can always veto a moderator’s decision.

The actions of one town meeting are not obligatory on subsequent town meetings.

It is not necessary to have a college degree in order to speak at a town meeting.

You have the right to request a secret ballot on any issue or policy about which you have doubts.

At a town meeting, all attendees are treated equally, and no query is too simple or trivial to be asked.


Year Date Day
2022 March 1 Tuesday
2023 March 7 Tuesday
2024 March 5 Tuesday
2025 March 4 Tuesday
2026 March 3 Tuesday