Warrant Articles, if adopted at the local election in March, direct town officials to take specific action. Preparation of the Warrant, a list of Articles to be voted on at a Town election, is, by law, the responsibility of the Selectmen. Most Warrant Articles are originated by the Board of Selectmen or the Planning Board (in the case of zoning ordinances or amendments). These do not require petition signatures.
Any registered voter in a New Hampshire town has the right to petition to have an Article placed on the Warrant. The subject of the Warrant Article can be wide-ranging, including spending Articles, zoning or building code amendments and town policy issues. The budget submission date and the final date for submission of petition Articles is the second Tuesday in January. RSA 40:13. Petitioned Articles concerning zoning matters are required by State law to be submitted by an earlier deadline in December.
Citizen Warrant Articles are petitions, submitted to the Board of Selectmen, that must bear the signatures of at least 25 registered Rye voters who support the Article, or 2% of all of registered Rye voters, whichever is less. It is preferred that a Warrant Article be worded as a question that can be answered with a “yes’ or “no.” That makes it easier for voters at the polls to know if they are voting for or against the proposition or budget item. The Warrant Articles are printed in each year’s Town Report. Town departments are restricted from helping residents with their proposed Warrant Articles because of potential conflicts of interest. For assistance creating Warrant Articles that deal with zoning, building code, or town planning issues, call the Rockingham Planning Commission (603) 778-0885. For “money” Warrant Articles, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration provides assistance.
Warrant Articles and budgets will be posted, and copies will be made available to the general public, no later than the last Monday in January. All Warrant Articles on the ballot will be discussed at the town’s Deliberative Session. It is only at the Deliberative Session that accepted Warrant Articles can be amended. If you have submitted a Warrant Article, it is advisable that you be present at the Deliberative Session to explain and support your Article.