An “SB2” Form of Government


The SB2 (Senate Bill #2) form of government was instituted by the New Hampshire Legislature in 1995. It has been said that SB2 was enacted (1) due to concerns that too many voters did not attend traditional town meetings and (2) a popular belief that taxes would be reduced if appropriations were defeated at the polls due to increased voter participation.

At a traditional town meeting the voters gather to discuss and vote on the town budget and other proposals at the same meeting. Voting at town meetings may be by raised hands or, when requested, by secret ballot. SB2 is also known as the “official ballot” form of government.

Under SB2, the first session of a town’s annual meeting, also known as the “Deliberative Session,” is held approximately one month prior to Town election. At this meeting, all Articles on the Warrant, which include the annual budget, are presented for discussion. While the wording or dollar amounts on the Warrant Articles may be, subject to certain limitations, amended at this meeting, no up or down votes on the Articles take place at the Deliberative Session.

Voting in an SB2 town occurs at the second session of the annual meeting, either at a town polling place on a designated day or by absentee ballot. Rye has chosen the second Tuesday in March for its town election. The election date may be changed pursuant to majority vote by a Warrant Article proposing the date change. If a vote is taken to approve the change of the local election date, the new date becomes effective the following year.

Adoption of the SB2 form requires a 3/5 majority vote. Towns may switch back to the traditional town meeting form if the voters approve such a change by a 3/5 majority vote. Rye adopted the SB2 form of government in 1998. It rejected attempts to rescind SB2 in 1999 and again in 2011.

The positions which are elected on Election Day in Rye are:

Selectman (3 years) Town Moderator (2 years)
Town Clerk/Tax Collector (3 years) Treasurer (3 years)
Cemetery Trustees (3 years) Supervisors of the Checklist (6 years)
Library Trustees

(3 years)

Trustees of the Trust   Funds

(3 years)

Budget Committee (3 years) Planning Board   (3 years)
School Board   (3 years) School Clerk   (3 years)
School Moderator (2 years) Sewer Commission (3 years)
School Treasurer (3 years) Zoning Board   of Adjustment (3 years)


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