Questions From Residents

Q.  Pre-paid envelopes and questioning the validity of the results.  How does that impact the tallying?  
Mr. Lordi,

  1. Pre-paid envelopes were provided as a convenience.
  2. There remains plenty of time for everyone who has not voted by mail to do so.
  3. Anyone can also vote in person.
  4. We have already received more than 750 votes.
  5. There is no reasonable possibility that a vote would have been sent and not delivered.  It would either be delivered to us or returned to the sender.

I understand you are unalterably opposed to the RD and hope to frustrate the vote and the will of the majority of the community.
Hank Fishkind

Q. Residents have been refused the right to mail their ballots in your envelopes and had to pay to mail them.  I am now hearing from their friends and neighbors who are concerned that their votes have not been sent and therefore not counted.
Your claim has touched a new nadir in preposterous assertions.
(1) The District provided pre-paid envelopes as a CONVENIENCE.
(2) Had you mailed your ballot more promptly, you would have avoided the increase in postage cost.
(3) Had you not told people to delay sending in the ballot, you would not have exacerbated the problem about which  you now complain.
(4) You  have certainly Not been refused the right to mail their ballots in your envelopes.
(5) You can hardly be serious in suggesting that because you have to pay to send in the ballot that you are somehow being denied the right to vote more conveniently than coming in person on 2-7-19.
Hank Fishkind

Q.  May I scan my vote and send it in?
No.  The ballot must be delivered via mail or in person.

Q.  May I give my vote to a 3rd person to act as my proxy?

Q.  I sent my vote into the District Manager, but changed my mind.  Can I rescind my vote?

Q.  Why are the ballots being sent to University Park Recreation District in Orlando?
This is the address for University Park Recreation District.

Q.  Please explain the entire balloting process.
.  On January 14th, a letter containing the following was sent to all University Park property owners:
1.   A letter from University Park Recreation District Chairperson, Bob Wood.
2.  A ballot.
3.  A self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with the property owner’s University Park address and a control number.  The envelope is marked “Do Not Open“.

The letters were mailed to the  property owner’s official mailing address, as designated on the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website.

You marked your ballot, placed it in the SASE and mailed it.  What happens when the envelopes arrive at the District Management office?
•  The staff stamps each University Park Recreation District with the date it is received and sorts them according to the control number on the front of the envelope.  The envelope remains sealed.
•  The sealed envelopes are give to the District Accountant who record the date the envelope was received in the master mailing list.
•  The sealed envelopes are placed in a secure location, where they will remain until  February 7, 2019.
•  On February 7, 2019 the sealed envelopes will be delivered to representatives from  DiBartolomeo, McBee, Hartley & Barnes, the independent accounting firm retained to supervise the polling location (the Varsity Club), tally the votes and certify the results.
•  The accounting firm will retain the envelopes and ballots.

This process provides proof the ballot was mailed by the property  owner and ensures the sanctity of the vote is maintained.

The results of the Ballot Referendum will be announced during the University Park Recreation District Board of Supervisors’ Meeting on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in the Lakeside Room at the University Park Country Club.

Q.  Can I vote in person?
A.  Absolutely!  On February 7, 2019 you may vote between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at The Varsity Club.  We recommend you use the SASE provided to speed the process.  If you do not use the ballot sent to you in the mail, you must provide the following information to the poll worker:
1.  Proof of identification – Driver’s license or passport
2.  Proof of property ownership from the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website.  (LINK)

Q.  The cost of postage increased to .55 – will the post office deliver my ballot?
A.  Yes.

Q.  I expected the Bond Referendum Packet to include copies of the Purchase and Sales Agreement, the Engineering report and other documents.  Why were they put on the website and not mailed?  
A.  Two reasons: time and cost.
Time – it would have taken at least 3-5 days to copy all the materials before they could be mailed.
Cost – the cost to copy the materials and to mail the materials would have increased significantly.

Q.  I did not receive my ballot, can I still vote?
A.  Absolutely you can still vote!  There are two ways you can vote:
1.  You may vote in person at The Varsity Club on February 7, 2019.
2.  You may download the website ballot (LINK) and mail it to the District’s Offices.  Please follow the instructions accompanying the ballot.

Q.  My neighbor received their ballot but mine didn’t arrive for several days, why?
 There could be several reasons for this.
If you are a snowbird, it is likely the property’s primary mailing address is your permanent residence which is out of state or out of country.   Between the Martin Luther King holiday and the severe weather up North, there is a high probability it was delayed.
There are two ways you can vote:
1.  You may vote in person at The Varsity Club on February 7, 2019.
2.  You may download the website ballot (LINK) and mail it to the District’s Offices.  Please follow the instructions accompanying the ballot.

Q.  Is it important to use the SASE?  Why is there a number on the envelope?
A.  It is preferable for you to use the envelope provided with your letter.
Those envelopes are provided to the property owner, as identified by the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office.  When the ballot is returned in the envelope that is provided,  proof of property ownership and identification are not required.

Q. How are they coded?
Each property was assigned a number from 1-1202.

Legally, the vote must remain secret. We cannot mark the ballots with someone’s name or the address of their property, that is illegal. Providing a control number on the envelope ensures the rightful property owner voted and provides the sanctity of the balloting process. It also tells us who has voted.

Q. Do I understand correctly: If I use the SASE provided with my ballot, I do not have to provide proof of ownership?
A. Correct! If you use the self-addressed stamped envelop provided, you do not have to provide proof of ownership.

Q. So, who is counting the ballots?
A. An independent CPA firm has been retained by the District to open the ballots, tally the ballots, and certify the vote.

Q. When will the votes be counted?
A. All votes will be counted on February 7, 2019 by DiBartolomeo, McBee, Hartley & Barnes, the CPA firm retained to tally the votes.

Q. I recently purchased a new home in University Park. I have not received a ballot for the referendum. How can I vote?
A. There are two ways you can vote:

1.  You may vote in person at The Varsity Club on February 7, 2019.
2.  You may download the website ballot (PDF | RTF) and mail it to the District’s Offices.  Please follow the instructions accompanying the ballot.

You will need to provide identification (driver’s license or passport) and proof of ownership from the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website.

Q. As an FYI the ballot is an anonymous and could be duplicated. There is a number on the envelope but there is nothing to connect to the ballot. A suggestion would be whoever opens the ballot they should write the envelope ballot number on the ballot.
In theory, it would be easy to replicate the ballot but there are controls in place to ensure the ballot is coming from a property owner within University Park.

Q. The ballot received in the mail is the worst example of a ballot.   It does not require the signature of the voter.  Each  ballot should require a signature of the homeowner, otherwise if there is every a need to recount the ballots, i.e. should a controversy arise, it would not be possible to guarantee accuracy that every owners ballot was counted.    Shame on you and your attorneys.
A.  I regret that you are confused over our procedures and controls for the referendum voting leading you to incorrect conclusions.

  1. The ballots were sent to the legal owners of each property.  Only one vote per legal address is allowed to vote.
  2. The return envelopes are coded with the addresses thereby allowing the vote to be anonymous, as required by Florida Law, while at the same time providing for control of the vote.  Each return envelope will be recorded by address and put into the ballot box unopened.
  3. The Clerk of the election will open the ballots, retain the envelopes, record the vote, and retain the ballots.
  4. Anyone choosing to vote in person or by using a ballot from the website and thereby not using the return envelope (which is coded as discussed above), will be required to provide proof of ownership and identification.  Then the ballot will be checked to be sure it is not a duplicate.  If the ballot is verified for address and identification, then the ballot will be accepted and treated the same as other legitimate ballots.