Check our poll list to ensure you will receive an absentee ballot.
Note: Voters approved the 2020-21 budget by a vote of 241-46 on June 16.
How – and why – is this year’s budget vote changing?
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.
UPDATE: On June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order extending the deadline for school districts to receive school budget ballots. Completed ballots must be mailed and received by the district no later than 5 p.m. on June 16.
There will be no in-person voting. The vote will be held by absentee ballot only. Voters will need to check their mailbox for an absentee ballot, fill out their ballot and return it to the school district by June 16 at 5 p.m. Ballots must be received (not postmarked) by the district by that date in order to be counted.
What are residents voting on?
Residents of the Fort Plain Central School District will vote on a proposed district budget for the 2020-21 school year and will elect three members of the Board of Education.
The executive order also prompted several changes to the budget development and Board of Education election calendar. Important dates are as follows:
- Wednesday, May 20, 2020: The Board of Education adopted a proposed school district budget for 2020-21.
- Wednesday, May 27, 2020: Annual Budget Hearing. The hearing was conducted in a videoconference and livestreamed for community members.
- Tuesday, June 16, 2020: Annual Budget Vote and Board of Education Candidate Election (by absentee ballot)
The district sent each qualified voter a postcard with the date of the election, the date of the budget hearing and the definition of a qualified voter.
How and when will I receive my absentee ballot?
This year, the typical absentee voter qualifications and applications are being waived. The Fort Plain Central School District will send absentee ballots with prepaid return envelopes to those residents who have voted in the past 4 years on or around May 29, 2020.
To receive an absentee ballot by mail, you MUST be on the district poll list before the vote takes place. If you have voted on the school budget in the past, you may already be on the list.
Check our poll list. This list includes names and addresses of voters from the most recent years of school district voting. All residents on this list will automatically be included in the absentee ballot mailing.
If you are a qualified voter and do not receive a ballot, contact District Clerk, Rebecca J. Smith 518-993-4000 ext #1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 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 518-993-4000 ext. # 1000 or email@example.com 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. If your ballot does not arrive at the district by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 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 June 16 deadline. The results will be posted to the school’s website on or around June 17, 2020.
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.
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.
Is the process open to the public?
The annual school budget vote is an official public meeting of the district, and as such, it is open to the public. The opening of the ballots will be live streamed on Google Meet. To view please follow the instructions below:
- Join with Google Meet by going to https://meet.google.com/hit-jtdu-sui
- Join by phone +1 857-245-5300 PIN: 145 381 305#
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, 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 Fort Plain Central School District will begin the counting process on June 16, 2020. The results will be available as soon as all ballots have been accounted for, but no later than 5 p.m. on June 17.
Whom do I contact if I have any additional questions?
Please contact District Clerk Rebecca J. Smith at 518-993-4000 ext. #1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should I return my ballot?
All absentee ballots will include a prepaid return envelope so residents can mail their ballots. Completed ballots must be received by the district by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
You must certify your eligibility to cast your ballot. This requires that you sign the outer postage-paid return envelope (your ballot will be sealed in a separate inner envelope). There is a designated area for signature on the back of the return envelope. The envelope must be signed for the vote to be counted.
Can I drop off my ballot in person?
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, no one will be able to accept ballots in person. Completed ballots must be received by the district by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
What if I was expecting an absentee ballot but do not receive it before the election?
Please email District Clerk Becky Smith at Becky.email@example.com or call 518-993-4000 #1000.
How will I know what I am voting on or who I am voting for?
Information on the proposed 2020-21 Budget Vote and Board of Education Candidate Election can be found here: https://www.fortplain.org/proposed-budget-continues-programs-stays-within-the-tax-levy-cap/.