In Vermont and New Hampshire, local government is a big deal. Each year in March, the towns gather in historic buildings, town halls, school gyms to discuss pressing issues facing the town. Then they vote. In person. By raising their hands. Or if the issue is particularly controversial by paper ballot. Walking one by one to the front of the room to place their paper ballots in an old, wooden ballot box.
Local government is a big deal. Tradition is important.
Town Meetings are a time for people to speak their minds about the direction of their town. But it's also a time for people to catch up with their neighbors and friends. It's also often a time for knitting.
Growing up in the South, the idea of gathering as a town to talk and vote for hours and hours was a foreign concept to me. But after covering 10 Town Meetings in towns across the Upper Valley, I decided I like the tradition. This is a place rooted in tradition and local governance.
Here are some of my favorite moments.
(All photos are Copyright 2015 - Valley News)