Due to COVID-19, if you would rather vote absentee, New York changed some of its laws to make it easier to vote while avoiding potential large crowds on Election Day.
Here is a guide that can help you navigate New York’s absentee voting process.
Can I vote without having to go to a poll site in person?
Yes, New Yorkers can vote absentee because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters can apply online at nycabsentee.com.
The “temporary illness” category has been expanded to cover voters affected by coronavirus or facing the potential of contracting it.
Oct. 18 is the deadline for the Board of Elections to get your absentee ballot application, by mail, by email, by fax, or online. It’s slightly earlier this year because the state legislature passed a law stipulating that local Boards of Election receive an absentee ballot application from a voter 15 days before an election. Voters previously had up to a week before Election Day.
Nov. 1 is the deadline to apply in person for an absentee ballot.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and reach the Board of Elections no later than Nov. 9 to be counted.
You can also drop off your signed absentee ballot at:
- A poll site by Nov. 2
- Your local Board of Elections office no later than Nov. 2
If you drop off your absentee ballot at a poll site or at a local Board of Elections office, it does not require postage, but the BOE recommends two stamps if you mail it to ensure it has enough postage.
What if I still want to vote in person?
Poll sites will still be open across the city.
Hours are different if you are voting early. New York’s early voting period begins Oct. 23 and lasts through Oct. 31.
If you would like to vote in person, doing so during this time allows for voter traffic to be spread out so there are fewer people at polling places on Election Day.
Workers at voting sites will take precautions to keep themselves and voters safe. They’ll be social distancing, wearing masks, and disinfecting when and where they can. If you go to vote, you should do the same.
How do I register to vote in New York state?
- You can register in person at your county Board of Elections. There is one in each borough.
- You can also apply to register to vote at a host of New York State agency offices. See a full list.
- You can request that a voter registration application form be mailed to you on the state Board of Elections website, or you can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE.
- You can submit that voter application form to your local DMV. You can also register to vote on the DMV website if you already have a DMV-issued ID, such as a driver's license.
- The state Board of Elections website makes a registration form available on its website. It can be either filled out on a computer and then printed out, or it can be printed and filled out by hand. Once filled out, it must be mailed to your county Board of Elections.
- City residents can also call 1-866-VOTE-NYC to request a mail registration application.
If you move, you should notify the Board of Elections immediately. A state law requires a New Yorker to notify the BOE within 25 days of an address change to preserve their voting rights.
For more information on registering to vote, see the BOE’s website.
To find out if you’re registered to vote, click here or here.
When is the last day I can register to vote before the election?
The New York state voter registration form should have been postmarked no later than Oct. 8. The Board of Elections must have received the form no later than Oct. 13 if you want to vote. The deadline to deliver the voter registration form in person was Oct. 8.
Once I get my absentee ballot, what do I do with it?
The security envelope will have space for your signature and the date, so once you fill out your ballot and tuck it inside, don’t forget to sign it.
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