We’ve never been big fans of off-year special elections.
Special elections disenfranchise many voters, especially those most likely to vote against whatever is on the ballot, unfairly skewing the results.
We’re especially not fans of special elections held during the middle of winter, when many older voters who are likely to vote against tax-raising propositions might be temporarily residing in warmer climates, or when many people, particularly older people, are reluctant to venture out in the cold, ice and snow to vote.
The covid crisis has made people even less likely to show up to vote in person.
But it also opened up more opportunities for people to vote, even snowbirds waiting out the winter in Florida and those reluctant to leave their homes for fear of slipping on the ice or getting covid.
The Niskayuna school board is offering up two major capital project ballot propositions on Feb. 9 that will impact the district, and its taxpayers, for years.
The first is for $62.24 million to make major renovations and upgrades to school facilities.
The second is for $16.78 million for additional improvements.
We’re not taking a position on the capital projects in this editorial. But we are encouraging residents to take advantage of the opportunity to vote now.
The district is making it as convenient as possible for citizens to vote by holding voting both in-person and by absentee.
Voters who want an absentee ballot will have to request one. It won’t automatically be sent to you.
Voters can download a request for an absentee ballot online.
All information is available on the district website: https://www.niskayunaschools.org/.
If you want an absentee ballot mailed to you, you have until Feb. 2 — seven days before the vote — to apply for one. (You can still pick up an application in person after Feb. 2.)
Don’t wait that long.
All completed absentee ballots must be received at the district by 5 p.m. on the day of the vote.
That’s fine if you’re going to drop off your absentee ballot in person. But if you’re going to mail it back, you’re pushing it by waiting.
By the time you download and submit an application to vote by absentee, receive your ballot in the mail, fill it out and mail it back, it might be too late for it to be counted.
That’s especially true if you’re living in another state right now for the winter months.
This certainly isn’t the ideal situation for holding a referendum on major capital projects.
People generally aren’t looking for something to vote on in January and February.
But if you’re reading this, you’re now aware of the special election and of the opportunity to vote in it by absentee.
Don’t give up your chance.
And don’t wait for it, either.