Absentee Ballot Q&A

Q: How – and why – is this year’s budget vote changing?
A: On May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s budget and board of election vote 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 Tuesday, June 9 at 5 p.m. Ballots must be received (not postmarked) by the district by that date in order to be counted.

Q: How and when will I receive my absentee ballot?
A:
This year, the typical absentee voter qualifications and applications are being waived. MWCSD will send absentee ballots with prepaid return envelopes to registered voters. If you are a qualified voter, and registered with the district and do not receive a ballot, contact District Clerk Donna Vitucci at [email protected].

6/2/20 – UPDATE – Monroe-Woodbury Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez has spoken directly with an executive of NTS Data, the company responsible for the printing and mailing of the Monroe-Woodbury ballots, who has reassured us that the district’s ballots will be mailed by the June 3, 2020, deadline, as mandated in the recent Executive Order by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Unfortunately, this is only one piece of a multi-step process. These ballots will then be delivered to the U. S. Post Office, who will sort and mail to residents. Our hope is that M-W residents will begin to receive ballots in their mailboxes by the end of the week.

In an effort to facilitate the voting process, the district will have locked ballot boxes available for ballot drop-off from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5; Monday, June 8; and Tuesday, June 9. These boxes will be located at Central Valley Elementary School, 45 Route 32, Central Valley; the Education Center, 278 Route 32, Central Valley; and Pine Tree Elementary School, 156 Pine Tree Road, Monroe.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

5/30/20 – UPDATE REGARDING ABSENTEE BALLOT MAILING: Due to a statewide supply shortage of envelopes, there has been a delay in the mailing of MWCSD absentee ballots. On Friday, May 29, the school district was made aware of the delay by NTS Data, the company responsible for the printing and mailing of the ballots. On Saturday, May 30, NTS Data notified the school district that envelopes had been delivered and that they anticipate M-W ballots will be mailed on Monday, June 1. The legal deadline to mail ballots is June 3, so we are hopeful that the district will meet this deadline. School districts throughout the state have been having similar issues due to supply shortages.

The district will be making arrangements to allow for physical drop-off of ballots at various locations throughout the district prior to the statewide deadline at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9. Additional information on that process will be forthcoming.

Q: Am I a qualified voter?
A: 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.

Q: I got my absentee ballot. Now what?
A:
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 cannot be counted.

Q: I made a mistake. Can I get a new ballot?
A: If you tear, deface or wrongly mark your ballot, contact Donna Vitucci, district clerk at 845-460, 6200, ext. 6203 immediately for instructions on how to obtain a new ballot.

Q: When should I send my ballot back to the school district?
A:
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 ballot boxes located at the Education Center, 278 Route 32, Central Valley; Central Valley Elementary School, 45 Route 32, Central Valley; and Pine Tree Elementary School, 156 Pine Tree Road, Monroe. If your ballot does not arrive at the district by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, it will not be counted.

Q: What happens when the district receives my ballot?
A:
The district will collect and hold onto all the ballots until the June 9 deadline. The results will be posted to the school’s website during the evening of June 10.

Q: Why do I have to sign my name on the envelope?
A:
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.

Q: Is my vote still confidential?
A: Yes. While your name will be registered on the district’s voter rolls, your folded ballot will be removed from the envelope that bears your name, return address, or other personally identifiable information, and kept separate. Folded ballots will then be counted by an individual other than the person that removed the ballot.

Q: Is the absentee voting process different due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: 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. Residents did not need to apply for an absentee ballot this year, which differs from previous years.

Q: Is the process open to the public?
A: The annual school budget vote is an official public meeting of the district, and as such, it is open to the public.

Q: How can my vote be confidential if the count is open to the public?
A: 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.

Q: When will the results of the budget vote and board election become available to the public?
A: M-W will begin the counting process at 5:00 p.m. on June 9. The results will be available as soon as all ballots have been accounted for, but no later than 5 p.m. on June 10 (24 hours following the deadline for ballots to be received by the district).

Q: Whom do I contact if I have any additional questions?
A: Please contact District Clerk Donna Vitucci at 845-460-6200, ext. 6203 or email [email protected]