Voter Registration Basics
The League of Women Voters has long been recognized as the premiere source for nonpartisan election information.Need some assistance during election time? Whether you’re a first-time voter or just looking for some friendly reminders, the League has the information you need.
FAQs About Voting via Absentee Ballots
In NYS, you must first request an absentee ballot application and then a ballot will be mailed to you. You then complete and mail the ballot to your county Board of Elections
Voters can access an absentee ballot application from the State Board of Elections’ and New York City Board of Elections’ websites here:
Under #1 on the application, voters can select “temporary illness or physical disability” as their reason for requesting to vote by absentee ballot. Governor Cuomo’s order expanded the definition of “temporary illness” to include the risk of contracting the coronavirus. The form can be printed, completed, signed, and mailed back to your county Board of Elections. You can find contact information for your county Board of Elections here: https://www.elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html
Voters who do not have internet access or a printer can call their Board of Elections and request that they mail them a paper application.
Voters who do not have access to a printer, but do have computer access, can request an absentee ballot electronically by submitting an absentee ballot application by FAX or email. Email applications from an individual can have an application attached to it. This would allow a Board to complete the review process prior to issuing the absentee ballot to identify the voter and the reason for the ballot.
Call your county board of elections (find your county BOE phone number at: https://www.elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html) to find out their procedure for applying for an absentee ballot application electronically.
Absentee ballots will be sent to the voter’s residence address unless otherwise requested by the voter. Delivery of absentee ballots to voters still remains the same, via mail or in person. There is no change in the return methods. The ballot must still be sent back by mail or returned in person by a specific deadline (see below.)
After applying for an absentee ballot, you will receive:
Your absentee ballot materials will be sent to you at least 32 days before federal, state, county, city or town elections in which you are eligible to vote. If you applied after this date, your ballot will be sent immediately after your completed application is received and processed by your local Board of Elections. Complete the ballot, SIGN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED, and mail to your county Board of Elections. The voter’s signature on the return envelope will be used to validate the ballot.
You will need to put a stamp on the return envelope when you mail your ballot to the county Board of Elections. You must use the return envelope provided with the ballot, sign the back of the envelope and provide postage. Postage probably is more than just one stamp. Voters should check with their county Board of Elections’ website or call them to inquire as to the postage required. As more details emerge, we will share on this website.
Voters can request their ballot be sent to an alternative address on their absentee ballot application. Voters who are currently forwarding their mail to another address should contact their county Board of Elections to ensure that they are still on their voter rolls.
You may sign the absentee ballot application yourself, or you may make your mark and have your mark witnessed in the spaces provided on the bottom of the application. Please note that a power of attorney or printed name stamp is not allowed for any voting purpose. For more information about voting absentee with a disability, please contact your county Board of Elections.