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Communication Regarding the May 17 Budget Vote and School Board Election

The Ithaca City School District wishes to thank our community for their continued support of our budget and participation in the election process. The District also would like to clarify certain information regarding yesterday’s school board election and budget vote. 

Each ballot correctly directed voters to choose “up to four candidates.” However, due to a clerical error at some polling locations, signage incorrectly stated to choose “up to three candidates.” Approximately one hour after the polls opened, the District became aware of these signs and called all Poll Site Managers to correct or remove them.

Additionally, on the evening before the election, the District learned that Benjamin Mumford-Zisk was not an eligible Board of Education candidate because he did not meet the continuous, uninterrupted one year residency requirement as required by New York state law. The District is required to follow state election laws and thus all information regarding candidacy requirements was posted on the district website and in a packet of information given to each candidate.

The District Board Clerk confirmed with Mr. Mumford-Zisk that he failed to meet the residency requirement and was ineligible to serve on the Board of Education. Having this confirmation, the District recognized that it was very important for voters to be informed of his ineligibility, so that one of their four votes for Board Candidates would not be discounted.

The District’s legal counsel then also reconfirmed with Mr. Mumford-Zisk his ineligibility. Mr. Mumford-Zisk represented that he would withdraw and was apprised of the Board Clerk’s email address to submit his withdrawal.

Signs were then placed at all polling places to advise voters that Benjamin Mumford-Zisk had withdrawn. Later in the afternoon, the District received a communication from the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) legal team that Benjamin Mumford-Zisk had decided not to withdraw. The original signs were removed and replaced with signs that stated that Benjamin Mumford-Zisk was ineligible to serve on the school board due to not meeting the one-year residency requirement.
 
The Board of Education does not have the authority to change, recount, or alter the results of a school board election.