Absentee Ballots and Voter Privacy

Pursuant to Executive Order 202.26 issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 1, 2020, voting for the June 9, 2020 budget vote and board election will take place exclusively by absentee ballot. Several residents have expressed curiosity as to how the privacy of their vote will be protected, given that they must return the absentee ballot in an envelope that bears their name, address and signature.

In compliance with NYS Education Law, at  5:00 p.m. on June 9, the district clerk will deliver all received ballot envelopes to the election inspectors/poll workers, still sealed.

The election inspectors will be located at our high school. Working in groups of three, they will count the number of envelopes received and write down the total. One individual in the group will then read the voter’s name and address from the front of an envelope and check the reverse side for the appropriate signature, while a second individual will verify the voter’s name and street address in the registration book. If all is in order, the envelope will be opened by the first individual and the folded ballot will be withdrawn and deposited into a ballot box, still folded, without being looked at. If the envelope is not signed, or does not contain a name and street address, it will be set aside as void. The third individual will observe this process and assure these steps are properly followed.

After all envelopes have been opened and all folded ballots deposited in the ballot box, the envelopes will be shuffled and then the ballot box will be opened and the folded ballots inside will also be shuffled. This helps to assure no one knows which envelope and ballot originally belonged together.

Folded ballots will then be removed from the ballot box and counted to verify that the number of ballots equals the number of envelopes received. If there are more ballots than envelopes, a folded ballot will be randomly withdrawn and excluded. The remaining ballots are then unfolded and, still working in groups of three, one individual will read the ballot, a second individual will enter the results on a tally sheet and the third individual will observe the first two to verify the accuracy of the counting process. Any defaced ballots discovered by inspectors/poll workers during the counting process will be voided and excluded from final tallies.