New York Voters : Absentee Ballot Request

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Absentee Ballots in New York

New York was one of the states hit hardest by Covid-19. Unfortunately, it is also one of the states with the most rigid voting laws, which is causing confusion for the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In New York, if you want to vote through the mail using an absentee ballot, you normally need a valid excuse to qualify. Because of Covid-19, state officials passed an executive order waiving the excuse to get an absentee ballot. While this helps, you must still go through the necessary application process and meet the deadlines to apply for an absentee ballot.

Applying for Absentee Voting in New York

While you no longer need a valid excuse to qualify for an absentee ballot, you must still complete the initial application. Applying for an absentee ballot is a necessary security measure. Creating a record of the application lets voter inspectors know you are voting through the mail, preventing you from casting both an absentee ballot and an in-person ballot. It also prevents another voter from requesting a ballot on your behalf.

As of writing, the first question on the absentee ballot application has to do with the reason you are requesting the ballot. Because of the executive order, all voters are allowed to mark temporary illness or physical disability. The most important part of the application is the final section, which asks for your signature. This is another security measure. Your signature must match the signature on file with your voter registration information.

The last day you can apply for an absentee ballot is October 27th. There are several ways to get an absentee ballot application. As of writing, state officials are attempting to send out applications to all registered voters. In the presidential primary, many voters did not receive the application. This may be due having out of date voter registration or other mail related errors. Because of this, you are encouraged to get your own application by either:

  • Downloading a copy from the Board of Elections website.
  • Requesting the application by mail or over the phone from your county board of elections office.
  • Completing the application in-person at the county board of elections office.

Casting a Vote with an Absentee Ballot in New York

If your application is accepted, you will receive your absentee ballot in the mail, along with a list of instructions on how to complete the ballot. If you do not want to wait for the ballot to arrive in the mail, you can request to pick it up in-person at the county board of elections office. When the ballots become available depends on your county. The latest absentee ballots are sent out is 32 days before an election. If you apply after this deadline, your ballot is sent out the moment your application is processed. If you have not received your absentee ballot by the deadline, contact your county board of elections office as soon as possible.

Normally, you must get your absentee ballot in by a set deadline before the election takes place. Because of Covid-19, state officials passed an executive order, extending the usual deadline. You now have until the day of the election to send in your ballot. You can either mail your ballot using the return envelope and associated address you receive with the ballot, or you may deposit the ballot at a polling station in a deposit box.

Military and Overseas Voting

If you are living overseas or serving in the military, the application process for an absentee ballot is slightly different. Instead of using a traditional application, you must use a Federal Post Card Application. This application provides you with a generic ballot. If your application is accepted, you are enrolled as an absentee voter in New York for the next two general election cycles. You have additional options for receiving your ballot, including by fax or email.

If you have not previously registered for an absentee ballot, the last day you can submit an application is October 24th. Otherwise, you have until the 27th. Because of Covid-19, both overseas and military voters are also allowed to submit absentee ballots up until the day of the election.

How New York is Preparing for the 2020 Presidential Election

The biggest change election officials are making for the 2020 election is encouraging voters to apply for absentee ballots. Because so many more voters are registering for absentee ballots, the state is training new employees to help process mail in votes, which normally make up a small percentage of the total votes received in an election.

The state is also looking to expand the number of polling stations to reduce long lines and crowds on election day. Volunteers and poll workers will practice social distancing. Each station is also being supplied with protective masks and disinfectant. Stricter cleaning policies are also going into effect.