Interested in Becoming a Member?
If you are interested in becoming a Town Meeting member contact the Town Clerk's office by email or by phone (259-3035).
Overview of Membership
Town Meeting Membership in Amherst consists of 240 elected members, with 24 members chosen from each of the Town's ten precincts. In addition, a number of ex officio members also serve in this legislative branch of Town government
Town Meeting Members are elected at the town elections held every spring. Any registered voter of Amherst may seek election. Nomination papers, available from the Town Clerk, require at least one signature of a registered voter of the precinct in which the candidate resides and must be filed with the Board of Registrars at least 49 days before the election. The one signature can be that of the candidate.
The full term of office is three years, but there are often unexpired, one-year and two-year terms to be filled. Candidates must specify the term for which they are running when they take out papers.
When redistricting changes precinct boundaries, all seats in the affected precincts must be filled at the next town election. In such cases, the third of those elected from each precinct who receive the highest number of votes serve three-year terms; the next third, two-year terms; and the remaining third, one-year terms.
Vacancies A vacancy in town meeting membership occurs when a member resigns, becomes an ex officio member, relocates from one precinct to another, or moves out of town. A member who moves from one precinct to another may continue to serve until the next annual town election. A town meeting member who moves out of town ceases to be a town meeting member immediately.
A town meeting member may resign by filing a signed and dated notice with the Town Clerk.
Vacancies that occur after the annual town election are filled until the next annual town election by one of three procedures.
If the vacancy occurs between the election and before Annual Town Meeting, it is filled by the losing candidate at the same election who received the largest number of votes in that precinct. This is a multi-layered process. Click here for an explanation.
If the vacancy occurs after the annual town meeting the town clerk, not less than thirty (30) days prior to the first special town meeting after October 1 but before December 31, must mail written notice of such vacancy to the remaining elected members of the precinct and shall publish said notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the town. Nomination papers to fill any vacant seat may be filed by any registered voter of the precinct with the town clerk until the close of business on the eighth (8th) day following the date of publication. The town clerk shall on or before the close of business on the seventh (7th) day thereafter certify the qualified candidates, mailing to the remaining town meeting members in the precinct a copy of such certification together with a written ballot identifying the qualified candidates and the number of vacancies to be filled. The remaining elected town meeting members of the precinct shall, on or before the seventh (7th) day following said mailing, cause their ballots to be delivered to the town clerk in a sealed envelope. On the first business day following said seventh (7th) day the town clerk shall open the envelopes at a duly noticed public meeting and shall certify the election of those with the largest number of votes, ties to be resolved by the town clerk by lot.
If a vacancy cannot be filled by either of the first two procedures, the remaining elected members of the precinct may vote to fill the vacancy from among the registred voters of the precinct. After receiving a petition signed by ten elected town meeting members of the precinct, the Town Clerk calls a meeting of the remaining town meeting members to fill the vacancy. A majority of the elected town meeting members from the precinct constitutes a quorum. Election is by ballot and a majority of votes cast is required. Click here for details on how this process for filling a vacancy works.