It all comes down to money as some call for pre-paid postage for absentee ballots

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 12:53 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Get ready to peel off a postage stamp if you plan on voting absentee this year.

However, advocacy groups though are calling on Governor Cuomo to mandate those ballots have pre-paid postage on them. That’ll cost money - something the state is short on.

In a statement to 7 News, a state budget spokesperson said, “The state is facing a $62 billion revenue decline over four years and the funds initially provided by Congress that supported pre-paid envelopes for New York’s primary in June have largely been spent, highlighting the need for the federal government to deliver necessary funding to states.”

Jefferson County Board of Elections is expecting double the number of absentee ballots this year when compared to 2016. That’s a total of 8,000.

“That’s $4,000 worth of postage that we certainly didn’t budget for and then whatever the envelopes would cost, which would be another grand,” said Republican Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour.

It isn’t just about the funding. Seymour says for every county in the state to offer pre-paid postage, there would need to be more time.

“It’s not just Jefferson County that would need to change its envelope design to accommodate pre-paid postage and then order a bunch of new envelopes and that’s a lot to ask our print vendors at a time where we’re asking them to send absentee ballots,” he said.

But if you’re not keen on the idea of putting on the postage stamp, you can still get your vote counted.

“The one thing we haven’t pushed that much was - anyone can drop off your absentee ballot for you. Anyone can drop it off and we can collect it. We are basically the U.S. Postal Service that day. We have 43 drop boxes,” said Seymour.

People who wish to vote by absentee ballot must have their application received by their county’s board of elections no later than October 14.

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