Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter two of the charter of the town of Swampscott which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by striking out section 5 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 5. A town meeting member may resign by filing a written resignation with the town clerk, and such resignation shall take effect on the date of such filing. A town meeting member who removes from the town shall cease to be a town meeting member and a town meeting member who removes to another precinct may serve only until the next annual town meeting.
Any vacancy in the town meeting membership from any precinct shall be filled by the election commissioners or board of registrars of voters for the unexpired term of office as follows:
The person who, although not elected, in the most recent election received the largest amount of votes in the precinct shall be offered town meeting membership. If there is more than one next highest vote getting person, the membership shall be awarded to the winner of a lottery from among such persons. If the person who is selected declines to accept such membership, it shall be offered to the next highest vote getting person or another lottery shall be conducted until the vacancy is filled. If a vacancy exists and there is no list of next highest vote getting persons, the vacancy shall be filled by the precinct caucus, by ballot, by a majority vote of those present and voting, for the unexpired term. The person selected to fill the vacancy shall be subject to all rights, responsibilities and privileges of town meeting members as if originally elected, and such person shall be eligible to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
SECTION 2. This act shall be submitted to the voters of the town of Swampscott at the next annual or special town election in the form of the following question which shall be placed upon the official ballot to be used at said election:
"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 1998, entitled 'An Act relative to the filling of vacancies in the town meeting membership in the town of Swampscott', be accepted?" If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, then this act shall thereupon take full effect, but not otherwise.