HUDSON–Along with the transition to optical scan voting machines, the Columbia County Board of Elections has issued a reminder to voters that they will also see a change this fall in the look of absentee ballots look and how they are used to cast votes.
Absentee ballots are now 11″-by-17″ in size, just like the paper ballots that voters will vote on at their poll sites this year using the new optical scanning system. The ballots feature ovals for every candidate on the ballot. The ovals may be filled in completely to register a vote. Alternatively, on absentee ballots, the ovals may be checked or marked with an “X.” Any of the three styles of marking represents a valid vote on an absentee ballot.
Additionally, the Board of Elections is helping to ensure voter privacy by providing an optional mailing envelope into which the voter may insert the absentee-ballot envelope if desired. After marking the ballot, the voter must fold the ballot into the absentee-ballot envelope, seal the envelope, and date and sign it on the signature line provided on the back of the envelope. Dating the absentee-ballot envelope and signing the affidavit on that envelope are required for the vote to be counted. Use of the larger mailing envelope is optional; if desired, the absentee-ballot envelope itself can be posted and mailed.
Applications for absentee ballots may be completed at the Board of Elections, 401 State Street, Hudson, and ballots then can be voted in person up until Monday, September 13 for the September 14 primary. Office hours are ordinarily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the board will be open additional hours for absentee voting: Thursday, September 9 until 7 p.m.; Saturday, September 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, and Monday, September 13 until 5 p.m. Ballots also may be postmarked back to the Board no later than Monday, September 13.
For the Primary Election, Tuesday, September 14, polls are open from noon until 9 p.m. There are statewide primaries for enrolled members of the Democratic, Republican, and Conservative parties. There also are primaries for the Independence Party in the 108th Assembly District (Stuyvesant, Kinderhook, Chatham, and New Lebanon), for State Committee, and in the Town of Copake, for assessor.
Questions may be addressed to the Board of Elections at 518 828-3115.
In its release announcing the changes and the hours, the Board of Elections expressed gratitude to the public for its patience during this year of transition to the new voting technology.