What is a Virtual Town Meeting?

A Virtual Town Meeting combines all aspects of a traditional Town Meeting with new technologies. The overall goal is to increase public participation in making important Town legislative decisions. The meetings are held at the school or the Town Office Building, based on the discretion of the Board of Selectmen. As in any traditional Town Meeting, people in attendance will have the opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and vote. In a Virtual Town Meeting, residents are offered the opportunity to participate on-line from a remote location. Only eligible participants who have pre-registered and had their e-mail addresses verified and approved in advance will be able to participate remotely. The meeting will be streamed on the web (www.salemct.org) and broadcast on Public Access TV (Channel 12) when the meeting is at the Town Office Building. Remote (at home, at college, on a business trip or serving in the armed forces) registered participants may e-mail comments and questions to the moderator. The moderator will select comments to read at the meeting. When it is time for a vote, the people in attendance will vote (by voice, show-of-hands or paper ballot) and remote participants will reply to either the "Yes" or "No" email sent to them prior to the meeting. E-mailed votes will be sorted, counted, and added to the audience vote for a total count.

How do I Participate From A Remote Location?

During Virtual Town Meeting discussions/deliberations, members of the audience will raise their hand if they wish to make a comment or ask a question. Registered members participating remotely may e-mail in their comments or questions by replying to their recieved email with "Comment/Point-of-Order" in the subject line. When replying, participants are asked to enter their name and desired text. The moderator will call upon audience members and select e-mails to read. Input from remote participants will be given the same consideration as input from members present at the meeting.

How Do I Vote From Home?

When a vote is called for, the moderator will ask the audience in attendance to vote by a voice vote, show-of-hands or paper ballot. Members of the viewing (remote) audience will be asked to cast a vote by replying to either the "Yes" or "No" emails (as appropriate). Only one vote per registered email address will be permitted. E-mail votes will be sorted, counted, and added to the total vote of the audience in attendance. The cumulative total will represent the decision of the legislative body on the motion before the Town Meeting.