How To Request And Cast Your Absentee Ballot For The November Election

Perhaps you’ve heard there’s a big election coming up this November. And it’s always better when more people take part in our sacred democratic ritual of voting (and more often than just every four years, of course!). So, with the pandemic still rolling on, all New Yorkers will now get the chance to vote by mail this year if they want. 

Last week Governor Cuomo signed a bill allowing voters to request absentee ballots if they are worried about the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 in public. 

You can always of course still vote in person on Election Day, or at early-voting sites in New York State from October 24 through November 1. But with deadlines fast approaching, here’s what you need to know to obtain your ballot and cast your vote from the safety of your home. 

How To Request An Absentee Ballot

Request an absentee ballot online here

October 27 is the deadline to request a ballot online, by email or fax, or to postmark your paper application for a ballot. Do not wait until the last minute because they’re gonna be busy: The New York State Board of Elections is already warning people that the post office has said it can’t guarantee timely delivery of ballots applied for fewer than 15 days before Election Day. 

If you are requesting a ballot for pandemic-related reasons, check the box for “Temporary Illness” on the application. That’s been expanded to cover COVID-19 reasons. 

You can apply in-person for an absentee ballot at the local Board of Elections office at 200 Varick Street, 10th floor, through November 2, the day before the election. 

Ballots will be mailed out to voters around September 18. 

How To Vote With An Absentee Ballot 

Once you have the ballot, fill it out completely. 

Place the ballot in the security envelope. This is super-important: Sign and date the outside of the security envelope! A lot of people miss this part! 

Put the security envelope correctly inside the return envelope. 

Make sure you put it in the mail so it receives a postmark no later than November 3. You can also bring it to the New York State Board of Elections office no later than November 3, bring it to an early-polling site October 24–November 1 or bring it to a regular polling site on Election Day (November 3). 

Find more information, read the New York State Board of Elections Absentee Voting page

photo: iStock