In an executive order issued on Friday, May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election (typically held in May) will take place on June 9, exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. There will be no in-person voting this year.
The executive order establishes a timeline of actions that schools must undertake leading up to this date, including sending an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope to all qualified voters.
Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older, have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote, are registered to vote with the county or school district, and have not been disqualified by any reason set forth in NYS Election Law §5-106. Qualified voters who are already registered to vote will automatically receive an absentee ballot. BH-BL residents who meet the definition of a “qualified voter” but have not registered to vote must do so to receive an absentee ballot. A qualified voter may do so by contacting their County Board of Elections or by going to the BH-BL District Office, Hostetter Leadership Center, 88 Lakehill Road, on May 27 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Please follow proper social distancing protocol ( e.g., wear a nose and mouth covering). For questions about registering at BH-BL, please contact the Deputy District Clerk Rebecca Manson at email@example.com or 518-399-9141.
Following budget adoption on Tuesday, May 12, the district will make the proposed budget available to the public, hold a budget hearing on Tuesday, May 26 (which will take place remotely), and mail a budget newsletter and notice to all residents after the budget hearing. These procedures are no different than other years except for the budget hearing being held remotely.
Additionally, the executive order calls for districts to send each qualified voter a postcard with the date of the election, the date of the budget hearing and the definition of a qualified voter. This should appear in mailboxes the week of May 11.
Board of Education Election
The order also waived the minimum signature threshold for board of education candidates and states that candidates must meet all of the other requirements to run for the board. These include, among other things, being qualified voters and having lived in the district continuously for one year prior to the election. The order also explains that petitions are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 11. If you are interested in running for the board, please contact Tara Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org, to obtain a board candidacy packet and board petition.