Facts About Voting by Mail in the 2020 General Election

In response to the COVID pandemic, New York passed legislation to allow any eligible voter to vote by absentee, or “by mail.” For your request for an absentee ballot to be accepted, you must check the box for “Temporary Illness” as the reason for requesting a mail-in ballot on the application.

The definition of “Temporary Illness” was expanded to include those affected by COVID-19, including those concerned with contracting or spreading the virus while voting in-person.

This was done for the June primary, by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order.

There are several ways to request an absentee ballot. You can access online through nycabsentee.com or call 1-866-Vote-NYC.

To send your request by mail, please download and print your completed document to the address provided. You can also fax your completed form to 212-487-5349. You also have the option to email a completed .pdf of your absentee ballot application to Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc

We recommend using the online portal, which is available in multiple languages.

IMPORTANT: You must postmark, apply online, email or fax a completed application for the General Election absentee ballot by October 27. You may apply in-person by Nov 2.

Absentee ballots are mailed by late September.  You will receive your ballot; a (smaller) ballot envelope, and a (larger) mailing envelope.

Fill out and return your mail in ballot: Remember to sign and date the ballot envelope: A missing signature is the most common reason for invalidation.

  1. Fill out the ballot completely.
  2. Put the completed ballot in the ballot envelope. Sign and date the back of the ballot envelope where indicated.
  3. Put the ballot envelope into the larger mailing envelope.

You can return your ballot in several ways:

  1. By mail – Postmark your ballot by October 27..
  2. Drop off at a local New York State Board of Elections office by November 3.
  3. Drop off at any early voting or election day poll site. The Board of Elections will have drop boxes at information tables, and you may drop off ballots for other voters.

If you return your ballot by mail, please do so as early as possible. If it is close to the deadline, go to the post office and ask for a postmark.

In order for the ballot to valid, mailed absentee ballots must be received by the Board of Elections by November 10, if it is postmarked by November 3 or earlier.

Per recent legislation, the ballot can be received by November 4 if the ballot does not have a postmark.

As of now, absentee ballots are not required to have pre-paid return postage. If you choose to return your ballot by mail, you must purchase your own postage.

Due to recent legislation, voters whose absentee ballots were invalidated have an opportunity to cure:  You have seven days to cure if your absentee ballot is received before November 3, and five days if received after Nov. 3.

2020 Presidential Election

We recommend applying for and returning absentee ballots as early as possible before the following deadlines:

October 27:  Deadline to postmark absentee ballot applications for mail-in or apply by phone, email, or fax.

November 2: Deadline to apply in-person at the Board of Elections for mail-in ballots.

November 3: Submission deadline to postmark your absentee ballot. This must be received by the local Board of Elections no later than November 10. Military Voter Ballots must be received no later than Nov. 16.

November 3: Submission deadline to deliver ballot IN-PERSON to the Board of Elections or poll site.

Early Voting

There are nine days of early voting before the election. For the November 3 general election, early voting will run from Saturday, October 24 to Sunday, November 1.

Each voter is assigned to one early voting site in their borough. Find your early voting site and operating hours at nyc.pollsitelocator.com.

If you choose to vote in person, we recommend using Early Voting as Election Day lines are predicted to be long.


What if I’m not currently at the address where I am registered to vote?

You may request to have your absentee ballot sent to a location other than your home address.

Will I need to add postage when mailing in my application or absentee ballot?

Yes, as of now you must provide your own postage.

Can I still vote in person?

Yes. In-person remains available, both during the early voting period (October 24 to November 1) and on Election Day (November 3).

You can find your poll site (which may be different for early, versus Election Day voting) using the Poll Site Locator at nyc.pollsitelocator.com.

How can I find out if my registration is up to date?

The New York State Board of Elections has a useful web tool to check your voter registration status: voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.  The tool will provide your current registered address, party affiliation, and your election districts.

Can I still register to vote?

Yes, the voter registration deadline for the general election is October 9.

What happens if I send an absentee ballot and then vote in-person?

If you have already returned your absentee ballot, your in-person vote will count, and your absentee vote will be invalidated and discarded.

Leave a Reply