The district's proposed 2019-20 budget drew 1,826 votes on Tuesday — 1,336 in favor and 490 opposed — down 12.9 percent from the 2,120 votes that were cast in May 2018.
This year's voting was held at only three locations, compared to last year's seven, and polling places were open just six hours on Tuesday (3 to 9 p.m.), compared to last year's 15 hours (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
“The roughest thing about it was doing everything we could to get the information out to people that there were [only] three sites now and we’re starting at 3 o’clock,” said school district Su...erintendent Paul Padalino.
The school district said in March that the reduction in polling places was the result of less voting equipment being provided by the Ulster County Board of Elections than in previous years. The elections board said it couldn't supply as many machines as in the past because it needs to program them for the state's primary day, which has been been moved up from September to June.
Padalino said Wednesday that the change in polling place locations — from the district's seven elementary school to just the high school and two middle schools — caused confusion among voters.
“We need to look back at the convenience of those neighborhood [elementary] schools being part of the elections,” Padalino said. "We actually started looking today. He said getting more voting machines is "the number one thing.”
Padalino said there is no immediate plan for obtaining additional machines but that discussions about options have begun.
“We’ve already had a brief conversation with the Board of Elections,” he said. “So we’re hoping to create some plan to make it better next year.”
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