Marion postpones election, Town Meeting 

Apr 9, 2020

MARION — At a video meeting on April 9, the Marion Board of Selectmen voted to postpone the May 11 Town Meeting and May 15 Annual Town Election due to coronavirus concerns. Selectmen did not set another date, but must hold elections before June 30, and will make the exact date clear 20 days before both events. 

Selectmen decided to leave the dates open-ended, following other towns like Rochester and Mattapoisett because “this is the first time for all of us,” Town Administrator Jay McGrail said. 

When Town Meeting is held, the board agreed to only vote on articles 1 through 4, which deal with the budget and enterprise funds, and hold a meeting at a later date to approve the rest of the articles. 

If needed, should the stay at home order be extended, the town may be able to hold Town Meeting at Sippican School and use Zoom to stream into classrooms that only have 10 people in them, with the Selectmen in the auditorium.

McGrail said that he has experience using a similar method as overflow for a Hingham Town Meeting a few years ago that saw an influx of residents due to a highly-contested article. 

Although Zoom would make this possible, having a completely remote Town Meeting is not possible because “if we can't guarantee, whether by Zoom or something else, the technology to do that, we could run into a situation where we could shut someone out, to no fault of their own,” said McGrail.

In regards to elections, Town Clerk Lissa Magauran said while the town cannot require mail-in voting, it could shorten the hours at polling stations to encourage people to vote early and/or by mail.

Selectmen also voted to close all warrants for Town Meeting and reallocate a portion of funds from the Sippican School egress project to the Board of Selectmen stabilization fund because the project was under budget. The warrant draft will be made available online.

McGrail and the Selectmen also want to publicly thank all the community center staff for working in torrential rain on Thursday. McGrail said that they gave out groceries to over 100 families.