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Submitting Private Warrant Articles

You have taken papers to present an article to an Annual or a Special Town Meeting.

The following are some suggestions that we feel will be helpful to you as you proceed with this process:

  1. Make sure you check the date that the warrant closes -- the Town Clerk's Office will have these dates. Allow time to gather the necessary signatures in support of your article. You will need 10 certified signatures of registered voters for an Annual Town Meeting, 100 for a scheduled Special Town Meeting, and 200 to call a Special Town Meeting.
  2. A registered voter must be able to read the proposed warrant article when signing. Signatures should appear on the petition with the proposed warrant article. Do not attach separate signature pages. It is important that you demonstrate the signers had an opportunity to read and understand the proposed article. You cannot demonstrate this if signature pages are submitted which do not contain the proposed article on one side or the other. Circulate as many petition forms as necessary to get the required number of signatures.
  3. Private articles must be moved by a registered voter at the meeting. The name of the person that is petitioning the Town Meeting to place the article on the Warrant appears on the written warrant ("On petition of Mary Smith and others"). If the person who will move the article is different than the petitioner, we ask for this information so that the Moderator may call on the person by name at the Meeting.
  4. If you are offering a financial article for the Town Meeting to consider, we suggest that you contact the appropriate Department for help with the wording of the article. We encourage you to do this early so that Departments can effectively help you through the process.
  5. If you are petitioning for a private street to be accepted by the Town Meeting, please visit the Planning Department for instructions on how this process works and ask their help with the proper wording of a street acceptance article.
  6. If your intention is to change the General or Zoning Bylaw with your article, you must reference the bylaw in the warrant article. Example: "To see if the Town will vote to amend the General (Zoning) Bylaw by....". Consult with your Town Clerk to help you with the wording of this type of article.
  7. You may write a brief explanation of your warrant article for the Finance Committee Report. Please file the explanation of your article when you return your papers for certification. This explanation will be published in the Finance Committee report which is distributed to all residents at least ten (10) days before an Annual Town Meeting and seven (7) days before a Special Town Meeting.
  8. To withdraw an article from the warrant after it is submitted and certified, a petitioner must withdraw it on the floor of Town Meeting and a vote will be taken at Town Meeting to withdraw the article.
  9. If you need more space for your article than is available on the front of the form, attach an additional page or pages to each petition and be sure to clearly indicate on the front page that the warrant article continues on another page. It is important that you demonstrate that the signers had an opportunity to review the entire proposed warrant article at the time of signing.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions, contact the Town Clerk's Office at (978) 623-8259.