New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-D-WF-Sag Harbor) has introduced legislation in the New York State Assembly that would make the law relating to military ballots applicable to school elections.
Under existing law, persons serving in the military, including spouses and dependents may register as military voters in New York State. This entitles them to receive an absentee ballot for all federal, state, local elections and New York City, and Buffalo school district elections. However, it does not include school elections outside of New York City or Buffalo. Once an eligible person is registered as a military voter, that person automatically gets an absentee ballot for 2 federal election cycles. Military voters can get their ballot by mail, fax or email. However, the ballot must be returned by postal mail.
Thiele’s bill would make military voting available for all school elections for which absentee ballots are already authorized. Each County Board of Elections would have the responsibility of getting the school election ballots to military voters.
Thiele explained, “The members of our military and their families make great sacrifices through their service to protect all of the freedoms we enjoy, including the right to vote. It is illogical that they cannot fully enjoy that right themselves. This legislation would extend military voting to very important school elections. If it can be done for New York City and Buffalo, it can be done in the rest of the State.”
The idea for this legislation came from Bill Hughes of Hampton Bays, a Vietnam veteran and member of the local American Legion and VFW.