WNY News Now File Image.MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Board of Elections has received a record number of applications for absentee ballots.Democratic Election Commissioner Norman Green said nearly 7,000 absentee ballot requests have been received with Election Day still eight weeks from this coming Tuesday.No past presidential cycle has found much more than 4,000 absentee ballot applications for the county, out of its current 77,758 registered active voter total. Commissioners expect that 70 percent of county voters (55,000) will turnout this year.The board, which is one of just five of sixty-two counties statewide that prints its ballots in-house, will be mailing absentee ballots starting Friday Sept. 18t, and every business day thereafter when a timely application is received before Election Day. “It is an extremely complicated process to send out absentee ballots and that is why the board ordered 60,000 printed envelopes, since each ballot needs three envelopes when it goes out: a labeled envelope for the mailing of the ballot, an envelope to return the voted ballot and the actual security envelope holding the ballot,” Green said in a released statement.With the record number of absentee requests already received and the totals expected to increase, Republican Election Commissioner Brian C. Abram are expecting workers will be at the board six days a week processing returned absentee ballots.“We have brought on extra staff and our regular workers are kicking it up a notch to ensure that the absentee ballots get out the door on time,” said Abram.“No voter will be denied the opportunity to vote by mail, as long as they apply now and return their ballots as soon as they are received,” concluded Green.Voters can apply in a one stop on-line request portal that can be located at votechautauqua.com Also voter can call the elections office at 716-753-4580 daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The elector could also send via mail or fax a hard copy absentee application.This year voters will find a Chautauqua County unique tracking tool that will allow county citizens to determine their personal voting status and track the application, mailing and receipt of their voted absentee ballot.“Chris Burt in our office developed the ballot tracking software,” said Green. “The tracking application was developed by Chris during his workday and at no additional cost to the taxpayers.” Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
As of last week, the rate dropped even further to 1%.“Since the introduction of QE, the cost of pensions has risen by 10%, or 1% of the salary on average,” Van Ek said.He warned that, in the coming decades, fixed income returns could structurally fall short of the interest rates that had been factored into liabilities.Mark van de Velde, senior client consultant at Aon Hewitt, noted that the initial effect of the interest-rate drop would be limited to approximately 2% for pension funds that apply a cushioned contribution for a 10-year period.He calculated an effect of 6-7% if contributions are cushioned and drawn from assumptions for returns.However, Van de Velde stressed that the predictions were based on the current UFR of 4.2% that must be used to discount liabilities.“If the Cabinet were to reduce the UFR as expected before 1 July, contributions must increase by an additional 5%,” he said.Towers Watson, meanwhile, underlined the contradiction that the new financial assessment framework (nFTK) dictates that pension funds must establish their premium policy before 1 July, but that the actual contribution must be drawn from market rates during the fourth quarter.Wichert Hoekert, senior consultant for retirement solutions, said: “This could lead to undesired effects if interest rates change after the social partners have agreed on a policy.”He suggested it would be more “practical” if the interest level at the moment of the policy decision could also be the criterion for the new contribution.Commenting on the developments, Jobert Koomans, executive board member of the €4bn pension fund for care insurers (SBZ), said its premium needed to be increased by 2 percentage points to 26% of the pensionable salary to achieve target accrual.The €43bn metal scheme PME, which fixed its contribution at 24.1% for the next five years, said it would draw on an equalisation fund to stabilise premiums.However, PME’s spokeswoman said the drop in interest rates had increased the chances that this financial reserve may turn out to be insufficient.The Pensions Federation said it was “very worried” about the low interest rates and that it feared “disastrous consequences” for pensions.In its opinion, Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for Social Affairs, has underestimated the problem.However, a spokeswoman for the state secretary told IPE Klijnsma recognised the consequences of continually low interest rates, and that she was willing to discuss the issue with Dutch companies and unions.She added that the state secretary was also exploring options for easing investment restrictions for pension funds, as the Federation had called for earlier. Consultancies have warned that interest rates have fallen so far this year that Dutch pension funds may be forced to increase contributions or cut costs on pension arrangements.Dennis van Ek, an actuary at Mercer, estimated that pension funds would need to increase their premiums for 2016 by at least 10% to achieve their targets.As a consequence, defined benefit (DB) plans and collective defined contribution (DC) schemes that base their contributions on the market rate plus the ultimate forward rate (UFR) could see annual pensions accrual – usually 1.875% – fall by 0.2 percentage points, he said.Mercer noted that the 30-year swap rate had fallen from 1.5% to 1.2% at the time when the European Central Bank (ECB) launched its quantitative easing (QE) programme.
Media Release SayNopeToDope NZ 13 July 2020The Say Nope To Dope campaign is slamming the government for its voting pack on the cannabis referendum, and is seeking legal advice.“We’ve been contacted by a number of families who believe that the government pamphlet is putting their own spin on the proposed change to our cannabis laws through propaganda,” says Aaron Ironside, spokesperson for the Say Nope To Dope campaign.“The government tries to argue in the pamphlet that “The bill’s purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities” – but that is a highly subjective statement. That is purely the view of those proposing change. Those against the legislation are arguing that legalisation will lead to more harm to people and communities. Why has that opinion not been included?”“The government should be remaining completely independent on this referendum and the information they’re providing to voters, but they are showing their true colours. They have already hinted at this by not asking the simple question in the referendum “Do you want cannabis legalised for recreational use?” which is what the referendum should really be about. Instead they have loaded the question with putting the wording of a proposed bill which includes words like ‘control’ – also a highly dubious claim.”“The government should be impartial, but this pamphlet has confirmed their pro-cannabis legalisation stance.” The Say Nope To Dope campaign is now seeking legal advice, and will be also making an official complaint to the Electoral Commission.ENDS
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