The Lockport district clerk said the second post card mailing district officials are sending out to correct an error on a postcard received districtwide on Saturday will cost $8,639.64.
The district sent thousands of postcards containing inaccurate voter registration information to voters on Saturday. The initial round of postcards suggested residents are not eligible to participate in the June 9 budget vote and school trustee election if they have not voted in “any school district election/vote during the past four calendar years.” According to Deborah Coder, the district clerk, the last clause should have had an "or" before it, rather than "and."
Coder said the first mailing of absentee ballots and postcards is costing the district $19,808.19. All together, the district will have spent $40,926.01 on the upcoming election, with the additional costs other than the mailings being spent on items such as 24 election inspectors, printing and mailing of the budget newsletter, legal ads and supplies.
Coder observed that with all these costs the district is still under the $46,927 budget set for the election.
"The district in the past has not had to pay postage for 100% absentee ballots. The cost of the postage has been offset by no longer needing to rent voting machines from Niagara County or paying for voting machine ballots and voting machine custodians. The requirement for four legal ads was reduced to two and the requirement for a registration day was also postponed," Coder wrote in an email.
The issue of the postcard error was brought up during a Wednesday meeting of the Lockport school board.
"I realize that 21,000 or so of these original postcards went out ... If even a small fraction of the 21,000 folks saw this original postcard and thought they couldn't vote, that would be a shame," Trustee Kyle Lambalzer said, adding that voting is a fundamental right in America.
Lambalzer asked what was being done by the district to address the error on the postcard.
Coder assured the trustees that the district's attorney gave them the right language to use on the new postcard and that it will say the postcard is a corrected notice to provide correct info.
"The top line does say there was an error on the first card," Coder added.
Coder told the trustees that the exact same mailing list was used to ensure everyone receives the second postcard.
Superintendent Michelle Bradley added, "we regret any confusion and we encourage all eligible voters to participate in the voting process this year."
Lambalzer also asked Coder when voters could expect to receive an absentee ballot, as the trustees were told they should be expected by May 23.
"I've gotten a lot of questions from people in the community why haven't I received my ballot yet," Lambalzer said.
Coder said NTS Data Services, the company the district is having send out the ballots, told district officials that they were behind on their original timeline, which had promised May 23. She added that the company told her they started mailing ballots on Wednesday, but she noted that they are doing the ballot mailings for 59 districts and that they would not tell her where Lockport was in the process.
She said the company told them the new goal was to have all ballots mailed by Friday, so she said Lockport residents should receive them by June 2.