It’s time to finalize your voting plan

By Sarah Mason

Special to the Observer

With less than two weeks until election day, it is time to make sure you have received a ballot and made plans for its return. 

There are three options when it comes to returning a ballot. After you have signed and sealed the “Voted Ballot” envelope, you can simply put it back in the red postage paid envelope and walk it back to your mailbox. Mail is staying within Williston, so I should have it the next day, perhaps two at the most.

A second option is to bring your voted ballot to Town Hall. There is a new ballot drop-box in the back of the parking lot. Enter via the Police Department entrance, stay to the right and pull directly up to it on your driver-side window. You don’t even have to get out of the car.

This option has proven to be incredibly popular, with people using it all day and even overnight. During the work day, I empty it constantly so I can keep up with entering who has already returned their ballot.  I am also here on Saturday and Sunday as well, so nothing sits in there any more than one overnight. If you really feel better handing your voted ballot to me, call when you arrive at the back or front door between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 878-5121.   

The third option is to return your ballot at our polling location — the National Guard armory next to Town Hall on Williston Road — on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. The ballot you were mailed is your ballot and you will need to bring it with you to the polls. You can fill it out at home prior to arriving, or you can stand in a booth to fill it out. If you do not bring your ballot, you will need to fill in an affidavit swearing that you chose not to use it.  

A few reminders about voting in person on election day: Masks are required. Please wear one of your own, but we will have disposable ones if you forget. Please bring your own black pen. Again, if you forget, we will have others that are disinfected throughout the day. 

Enter at the front of the armory and leave out the back so there is no two-way traffic. The amount of people allowed in the armory at any one time — voters and election staff — is limited. Please leave children and dogs at home. 

There will be some police traffic control in place on election day. Be ready to wait and to be patient and careful when trying to enter the parking lot. Parking is very limited at the town hall and armory area. There is no school on election day, so overflow parking at Williston Central School will be available. Traffic in the village is always bad between 7-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. If you live close by, walking would certainly be a good idea.  

Voting from home has been very beneficial for many people for many reasons this year. There is COVID in our community and surrounding areas as noted in numerous recent news stories. It is very important to me to keep our community and neighbors safe during these strange times we find ourselves in. I plan to do whatever I can to limit exposure for myself and others. I’ll be at the armory for 16 hours on election day, and even I’ve already voted. 

Like many of you, I’ve always gone to the polls to vote. I, too, like seeing the poll workers and chatting with my neighbors. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the time or place for it this year. And there will be no bake sales or Girl Scout cookies. 

I would like to thank everyone for the amount of support, kind words and outreach of volunteers over the last month or so. It has been very heartwarming. There is no way I could even begin to use the number of people who have asked to volunteer in some way. Please don’t be too disappointed. There will be future elections that will need to be staffed. It is certainly ironic in clerk-world to have too many volunteers, for once, and just not enough space to safely use them all.   

“We’re in control of this and we just can’t take this lightly,” Gov. Phil Scott said recently. “We are impacting other people’s lives. Adhere to the guidelines and we’ll be okay.” 

Sarah Mason is Williston town clerk.