Officials at the Fulton County Board of Elections thought they were making a good move, saving about $500 by switching vendors for the absentee ballots they distribute each year.
But this week, when they sent out about 500 of them, they discovered that the new ballot package does not contain an envelope addressed to the board.
Ralph Sammarco, of Gloversville, who filed for an absentee ballot this year because he might be out of town on Nov. 2, said he was confused enough to call the board for guidance.
Sammarco said his first instinct was to place the ballot envelope in a conventional business envelope and address it himself. But, he discovered, the absentee ballot envelope is too big to slip into a conventional envelope without being folded.
“I was afraid by folding it, it might be considered mutilated and rejected,” Sammarco said.
Deputy Commissioner Linda Madison said the board will accept a folded ballot. In fact, she said, that is the board’s recommendation to address this year’s problem.
Madison said the board has received about 30 calls from voters asking for guidance on the situation.
After learning about the missing envelopes in this year’s package, one woman told election officials she will have to apologize to her husband. She told officials she blamed him for losing it.
Madison said the board ordered 3,000 ballot packages from the new vendor, which charged $110 per 1,000. The price at the former vendor was $275 per 1,000.
“I’m quite the penny-pincher,” Madison said, acknowledging that the switch was her idea. “That’s what I get for trying to save money.”
Election Commissioner John Schermerhorn said the savings was significant enough to warrant the switch.
But election officials said it is now apparent they did not get apples for apples and they will have to switch back to the former vendor.
For many absentee voters, Schermerhorn said, the envelope problem is irrelevant because it is common for people to drop them off to save postage.
Others, he said, fill out the ballot right at the board counter and file it.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County