Common absentee ballot voting questions answered
On May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s budget vote and board of election would take place exclusively by absentee ballot in June, instead of the traditional mid-May date because of concerns about the coronavirus public health crisis.
Instead of heading to the polls, voters will need to check their mailbox for an absentee ballot, fill out their ballot and return it to the school district by June 9 at 5 p.m. if they are hand delivering it or by 5 p.m. June 16 if mailed.
Below are answers to some common questions related to absentee ballot voting.
How and when will I receive my absentee ballot?
This year, the typical absentee voter qualifications and applications are being waived. On or around May 26, 2020, the General Brown Central School District sent absentee ballots with prepaid return envelopes to qualified voters on the most recent years’ poll lists, including the Board of Elections registered voters list. If you are a qualified voter and did not receive a ballot, contact District Clerk Debbie Bennett at email@example.com as soon as possible.
Am I a qualified voter?
If you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years old and have been a resident of the district for 30 days or more prior to June 9, you are a qualified voter in the 2020-21 school budget vote and board election.
I got my absentee ballot. Now what?
Once you receive your ballot, carefully read and follow the directions. Sign and date the envelope where indicated. If your envelope is unsigned, your vote can not be counted.
I made a mistake. Can I get a new ballot?
If you tear, deface or wrongly mark your ballot, contact the district clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 779-2311 immediately for instructions on how to obtain a new ballot.
When should I send my ballot back to the school district?
Fill out and return your ballot as soon as possible after you receive it. Ballots may be returned by mail by using the enclosed prepaid return envelope, or the district will accept ballots in the locked drop box outside the district office from 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through June 8 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 9. To be counted, the school district must receive ballots by hand delivery through 5 p.m. June 9 or by mail by 5 p.m. June 16.
Why do I have to sign my name on the envelope?
Just as voters are asked to sign a register when they vote in person, voters using absentee ballots are asked to provide a signature. This signature constitutes an affidavit — you are attesting to your identity as a voter who is qualified to cast a ballot in this election. This information is recorded on the district’s voter rolls — a list of names of all the people who cast ballots.
Is my vote still confidential?
Yes. While your name will be registered on the district’s voter rolls, your ballot will be separated from the envelope that bears your name, return address, or other personally identifiable information before the envelope holding your ballot is opened. Since ballots are separated from personally identifiable information before they are counted, the public counting process is anonymous. No one viewing the counting of ballots will be able to match a voter’s personally identifiable information with their specific ballot.
Is the absentee voting process different due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The district has prepared, sent out and counted absentee ballots to qualified voters for many years and will follow that same procedure this year, only on a larger scale. This year, all voting is being done via absentee ballot, whereas in previous years, most voters cast ballots in person.
When will the results of the budget vote and board election become available to the public?
Results will be available as soon as all ballots have been accounted for.
Whom do I contact if I have any additional questions?
Please contact Debbie Bennett, District Clerk, at (315) 779-2311.
Information about the 2020-21 budget proposal and board of education candidates is available on the district's Business web page.