This year's annual town meeting will be Maynard's 145th. That's nothing. Pelham has been having town meetings in the same building since 1743.
|Vote-collecting baskets readied for a Maynard town meeting|
|Click on photos to enlarge|
One problem apparent across all communities in the state is declining attendance at town meetings. "All Those in Favor," a book by Susan Clark and Frank Bryan, addresses the issue head on. Their data shows that on average, just 11 percent of registered voters attend open town meeting. Factors include the fact that people often do not have long-term roots in the towns of their current residence
For Maynard, population estimated at 10,100 of which approximately 8,100 are older than the voting age of 18, and roughly 75% of those are registered voters. Rule of thumb is that ~90% of registered voters will vote in a Presidents' year election, fewer in non-Presidential years and fewer still in local elections. The Presidential vote total for Maynard in November 2012 (Obama versus Romney) was 5,788. In contrast, the Town of Maynard annual election, held every May, draws 1700-1900 voters. Someone running for Selectman can win a seat with 300-400 votes.
Maynard's annual town meetings, also held every May, draw 600-1000 voters. Special town meetings draw only 100-150 unless there are controversial articles. For example, May 19, 2013 was the Special Town Meeting to consider rezoning of 129 Parker Street (the old Digital property) for stores and a residences. A 2/3 majority was needed to approve the Article, which was recommended by the Selectmen and the Finance Committee. Voters numbered 989, divided 264 YES and 725 NO. A revised (much smaller) plan was approved at Special Town Meeting on January 11, 2016.