School board president Greg Meyer at a community forum Oct. 16. File photo: Maria Piedrabuena

Questions about the conduct of the upcoming school budget vote and trustee election were addressed by school board president Greg Meyer during today’s school board meeting, which was conducted via video conference and live-streamed on YouTube due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

State Education Law Section 2018-A requires the envelopes in which absentee ballots are mailed to have the name and address of the voter on them, Meyer said. The school election is governed by the Education Law, not the Election Law. He said the district referred this question to its legal counsel for advice.

Absentee ballots, whether mailed or hand-delivered to a special drop box at the district office, will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 9, Meyer said.
“At 5:01 p.m., five teams of four inspectors at the high school gymnasium will open the envelopes. The ballots will be shuffled to preserve voter privacy. The process will be livestreamed to the internet,” Meyer said. “All inspectors have been trained by the board of elections. They will count until 9 p.m. If the count is not completed, the gym will be locked and we will return at 9 a.m. on June 10 to finish the count.”

At today’s meeting, the board voted to appoint 24 election inspectors and two district-wide co-chairpersons.

All ballots were mailed on Thursday, Meyer said. The district used a voter list supplied by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

There have been reports by residents on social media of ballots arriving at addresses that are addressed to residents who have moved away or died.

In response to a question by former school board member Kathleen Berezny, Meyer said if registered voters move from the address at which they are registered to vote, it is their responsibility to notify the board of elections.

The list is provided to the district by the county board of elections at no cost to the district, he said. The district partners with Bold Systems to conduct elections. Bold provides an election management system for school districts and is available to the district through a BOCES contract, Meyer said.

The district spent $4,048 to mail the ballots to registered voters, Meyer said, again in response to a question submitted by Berezny. The district does not yet know the cost it will incur for return postage, he said.

After the conclusion of the election, ballots are retained by the district in accordance with document retention laws and regulations, Meyer said.

Berezny asked in her email if she would be able to review the ballots after the election. Meyer said anyone looking to review the documents should file a Freedom of Information Law request and it would be reviewed and determined at that time.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.