Amherst residents to vote on changing town’s form of government

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Amherst residents will soon vote on whether to change the town’s form of government.

If passed, it would replace the town’s 240-elected town meeting members, with a 13-member town council.

Amherst For All, a grassroots organization is looking to update Amherst’s government, with the help of voters. The changes include, creating a 13-member Town Council that would replace the current 240 elected town meeting members, into one elected decision-making body that meets year-round.

Amherst Charter Commission looking to change town’s form of government

A UMass democratic student told 22News, the new council would provide easier access to elected officials.

“A lot of people don’t have accessible phone numbers or emails, so you have to really like, seek them out,” said Reily Connaughton. “With the 13 member council you have a very clear person who you can go to, to talk about something you care about.”

Each voter is represented by two district representatives and three at-large members. If the charter passes, it would also bring “Rank Choice Voting” to Amherst, which means voters can rank their candidates in order of preference. It would also move election day from March to November to improve voter turnout.

This is the third attempt, in the last 22 years, to update the Amherst town charter. Residents will vote on March 27.

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