Minnesota’s 1,781 townships will hold their annual town meeting this Tuesday (March 10).

Known as Township Day, these annual meetings are held every year on the second Tuesday in March.

Residents of the townships will meet to voice their opinions about local issues with other township residents and also vote directly on their annual tax levy – direct democracy in action.

Citizens attending annual meetings also often discuss and vote on other local issues.

In addition, many of the state’s townships will hold their township officer elections during Tuesday’s Township Day. 

“Township Day gives a direct voice to residents of townships. The annual meeting is an opportunity to participate in local government. Residents meet and discuss issues with their town board and vote on the proposed tax levy,” said David Hann, Minnesota Association of Townships executive director. “If you live in a township, please participate in your township’s annual meeting on Tuesday, March 10. You can find the location and time by checking the published notice in the local newspaper or by contacting the township clerk."

Township communities come together to shape their government from the grassroots up. Whether they are electing new local officers or voting on the annual tax levy, these annual meetings are important to the direct democracy of townships.

"On behalf of the Minnesota Association of Townships, I encourage every township resident to attend their annual meeting,” said Hann.

• Information on Minnesota’s townships – There are approximately 914,174 township residents in 1,781 townships in Minnesota. Townships exist in every area of the state, including the metropolitan area. Some, with populations of more than 1,000, function in much the same way as a small city. While many townships remain rural agricultural centers, other host a variety of residential, light commercial and industrial development.

• The tradition of Township Day: The tradition of a town meeting has roots in colonial America. New England town meetings gave citizens a way to exercise local authority. Those meetings were especially important in the development of democracy, because it emphasized problem-solving through group efforts.

• Background on townships: Townships were the original form of local government in Minnesota, and this form of government was established in the 1800s when Congress ordered a survey that divided the Minnesota territory into 36 square mile tracts of land. Today, the term “township” generally refers to public corporations governed by a local board of supervisors and created to provide services to residents.