Getting on the Ballot
Signatures for Qualifying Ballot Items
Advisory articles, or any items that do not require direct funding from city taxpayers, require a number of verified, registered Montpelier voters' signatures equal to 5% of active voters on the checklist at the time of submission (generally a number from 300-350 - check with the Clerk's office for a specific number).
Articles calling for specific funding from the city require a number of verified, registered Montpelier voters' signatures equal to 10% of the checklist at the time of submission (generally a number from 600-700 - check with the Clerk's office for a specific number)
Please contact the City Clerk for the specific numbers attached to these percentages, as the additions and deletions to the checklist can happen daily, impacting these numbers. All ballots should be submitted to the City Clerk's Office.
A sample form can be found by clicking here.
What is the 2020 Annual City Meeting Ballot Filing Deadline?
The filing deadline for articles to be submitted by petition for the 2022 City Meeting ballot is 5 p.m., Thursday, January 23, 2020.
Is the City Council Required to Put an Item With Enough Signatures on the Ballot?
The board may warn “advisory” or non-binding articles that are petitioned, but it is only required to do so if they relate to town business. A recent Supreme Court case clarified the rule by saying that a town did not have to warn a petitioned article directing the legislative body to inform the legislature that the citizens wished it to consider a law requiring parental notification when a minor sought an abortion.
Any proposed articles that involve action that is specifically delegated in the Vermont Statutes to the legislative body, (i.e. City Council or School Board) or to any other town board or official should be rejected by the legislative body and not placed on the warning. The chair should explain to the petitioners that state law gives the particular duty or responsibility for taking action to a specific individual or board and that the town voters cannot change that statutory mandate. Examples of illegal articles include an article to direct the City Council to fire the zoning administrator (statute reserves this power to the City Council), or an article to approve a local ordinance (statute reserves promulgation of ordinances to the City Council, electorate can only petition to disapprove an ordinance within 60 days of its adoption.)
Is the Final Vote on the Ballot Item Legally Binding?
All articles involving issues that Vermont law states the voters or electorate are capable of deciding and binding the town, must be placed on the warning by the City Council. Examples of binding articles include increasing the size of the City Council or school board, zoning bylaws, establishing special reserve funds, funding approval for particular equipment or improvements. These categories of articles are specifically mentioned in the Vermont Statutes as being for the electorate or voters to decide by vote. All others are considered non-binding.