Massachusetts General Laws for Town Moderators

Massachusetts General Laws/Chapter 39:

Moderators; Powers and Duties.

Section 15.  The moderator shall preside and regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, and make public declaration of all votes, and may administer in open meeting the oath of office to any town officer chosen thereat. If a vote so declared is immediately questioned by seven or more voters, he shall verify it by polling the voters or by dividing the meeting unless the town has by a previous order or by by-law provided another method. If a two thirds, four fifths or nine tenths vote of a town meeting is required by statute, the count shall be taken, and the vote shall be recorded in the records by the clerk; provided, however, that a town may decide by by-law or vote not to take a count and record the vote if a two-thirds vote of a town meeting is required by statute; and provided, further, that if the vote is unanimous, a count need not be taken, and the clerk shall record the vote as unanimous.

A town may pass by-laws, subject to this section, for the regulation of the proceedings at town meetings. Such by-laws shall be approved and published in the manner prescribed by section thirty-two of chapter forty.

In any town having a representative town meeting form of government the town meeting members shall not use the secret ballot when voting in the exercise of the corporate powers of said town or on any motion unless two thirds of the town meeting members present and voting thereon vote that a secret ballot be used.

Powers of Moderator; Preservation of Order.

Section 17.  No person shall address a town meeting without leave of the moderator, and all persons shall, at the request of the moderator, be silent. If a person, after warning from the moderator, persists in disorderly behavior, the moderator may order him to withdraw from the meeting, and, if he does not withdraw, may order a constable or any other person to remove him and confine him in some convenient place until the meeting is adjourned.

Duties of Moderators; Reception of Votes.

Section 18.  The moderator shall receive the vote of any person whose name is on the voting list or who presents a proper certificate from the registrars of voters.