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Absentee Ballot Q&A

How to vote by absentee ballot in New York State

Will absentee ballots be mailed to all registered voters? 

No. Absentee ballots will not be mailed to all registered voters as they were for last year’s unprecedented school budget vote. Qualified voters who would need to vote by absentee ballot must submit an application. 

Who can request an absentee ballot? 

Qualified voters (US citizen, at least 18 and a resident for 30 days immediately prior to May 18, 2021) can request an absentee ballot if they will not be able to vote in person due to being outside of the county of residence on the day of the vote, permanent or temporary illness or disability, hospitalization, incarceration (unless incarcerated for a felony). Fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus is a legitimate reason for requesting an absentee ballot under “temporary illness or disability.”

How and when can I request my absentee ballot? 

To vote by absentee ballot, you must fill out and file an Absentee Ballot application to request the actual ballot. You may download the application from our website or pick one up at the Administration Building. 

When should I submit my absentee ballot application?

Applications may not be submitted more than 30 days prior to the election (April 18, 2021).

If you would like your absentee ballot mailed to you, you must submit your application at least 7 days before the vote (by May 11, 2021). If you want to pick your ballot up from the district, you must submit your application no later than one day before the vote (by May 17, 2021). You can designate another person to pick up your ballot on the application for absentee ballot.

Voters who wish to vote in the May 18, 2021 school budget vote and board election via absentee ballot are encouraged to submit their application as soon as they have filled it out. 

I received my absentee ballot. Now what? 

Once you receive your ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions. Cast your vote on the budget, candidates for the Board of Education and any proposition, if applicable on the absentee ballot. Fold the complete absentee ballot and place the folded ballot in the oath envelope.

Fill in the necessary information on the oath envelope and be sure to sign and date the Statement of Absentee Voter. If you don’t sign the Statement of Absentee Voter, your vote cannot and will not be counted.

Then place your completed absentee ballot in the signed oath envelope, seal the envelope and place it in the return envelope. Be sure to put the proper postage on the envelope and mail it in any mailbox or at a post office.  If you prefer, it can be dropped off in person between the hours of 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., at the WCSD Administration Building, 52 West Main Street, Washingtonville, NY, where a locked ballot box will be available.

I made a mistake. Can I get a new ballot? 

If you tear, deface or wrongly mark your ballot, contact the district clerk at 845-497-4000 Ext. 27042 or tsilverman@ws.k12.ny.us immediately for instructions on how to obtain a new ballot.

How and 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 using the enclosed return envelope or deposited in the locked drop-box at the WCSD Administration Building, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. If your ballot does not arrive at the district by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, it will not be counted.

What happens when the district receives my ballot? 

The district will collect and hold onto all the ballots until the day of the vote. After the 5 p.m. deadline has passed on May 18, 2021, the ballots will be brought to the polling place. After the close of the polls, the election inspectors will verify the signature on the oath envelope and check to make sure that the voter has not voted in person. The names will be added to the poll list. The envelopes will be opened and the ballots counted.

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 and poll list — a list of names of all the people who voted.   

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. Your ballot will remain folded and placed in a ballot box.   

How can my vote be confidential if the count is open to the public?  

Since ballots are separated from personally identifiable information before they are counted, and the ballots remain folded, 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. 

When will the results of the budget vote and board election become available to the public?

The counting of the ballots is done in public.  The Washingtonville Central School District will begin the counting process on May 18, 2021 when the polls close at 9 p.m., or when the last voter who was in line at 9 pm has voted. The 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 the District Clerk, Teresa M. Silverman, at 845-497-4000 Ext. 27042 or at tsilverman@ws.k12.ny.us with any questions.