For the town of Sterling, Massachusetts, the annual open town meeting is a tradition that has stood the test of time. Each year, citizens of all ages gather to vote on topics like administration, infrastructure, zoning, and more. These votes can often be quite contentious, and as the voters’ sentiment evolves over time, so does the meeting agenda. A typical meeting often contains motions from the floor, motions to move the question, amendments, indefinite postponement, and more. The result of these motions is often a meeting agenda that looks wildly different once the final vote is counted. When it comes to counting these votes electronically, the town needs a voting system that provides enough flexibility to meet the demands of the meeting.
Sterling is no stranger to Meridia’s electronic voting clickers, which have been a staple of their annual town meetings since 2020. Citizens and selectmen alike have praised the clickers for being fast, easy to set up, and simple to use. However, one often overlooked feature is the flexibility of the TownVOTE software, which provides all the tools necessary to quickly duplicate, edit, and create new articles, amendments, and motions on the fly.
During the May 2nd town meeting, several citizens exercised their rights to motion from the floor and propose amendments. Naturally, this required a few extra impromptu votes that weren’t on the original agenda. Fortunately, TownVOTE software can handle this with ease. Unlike PowerPoint, voters aren’t locked into a rigid, pre-planned presentation which requires switching from editing mode to presentation mode in order to make last-minute changes. Each successful vote brings users right back to the agenda list, where votes can easily be duplicated and changed from simple majority to ⅔ majority, or from anonymous to public results. This provides an unparalleled level of flexibility for the user, who can now quickly create new articles and motions to adapt to an ever-evolving meeting. These powerful tools allowed the meeting to continue seamlessly, without any hiccups or unexpected slowdowns.