Legislative assembly of a U.S. town in which all or some voters are empowered to conduct the community's affairs. Town meetings first took place in New England in the colonial era and are still largely a New England phenomenon, partly because the region's towns tend to hold powers that are granted to counties elsewhere. The meetings are normally held annually. Executive authority is usually held by a three- or five-member board. Open town meetings, which are widely regarded as an exceptionally pure form of democracy, allow all registered voters to vote on articles listed on the agenda, or warrant; representative town meetings allow only elected members to vote.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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