Absentee Voting


Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Early Voting Period is October 24,2020 - November 1, 2020


Qualifications to Vote by Absentee Ballot (Deadlines)

  1. Absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City absent from the five boroughs, on Election Day.
  2. Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).
  3. Unable to appear because you are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
  4. A resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital.
  5. Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot (Deadlines)

You may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  • Electronically through our Absentee Ballot Application Portal:
  • By sending an email request to your local county board of elections
  • By telephoning a request to your local county board of elections
  • By sending a fax request to your local county board of elections
  • By going in-person to your local county board of elections
  • By mailing a paper application to your local county board of elections

    You can download a PDF verson of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form: Download English Form (pdf 539KB)
    Download Spanish Form (pdf 603KB)

    Upon completion, applications must be mailed to your county board no later than the seventh day before the election or delivered in person no later than the day before the election.

  • By sending a letter to your county board of elections. The letter must contain the following information:
    1. Name and date of birth of the voter
    2. the address where you are registered
    3. an address where the ballot is to be sent, and
    4. the reason for the request.

      If you apply by letter, an application form will be mailed with your ballot. The application form must be completed and returned with your ballot.

    If you cannot pick up your ballot, or will not be able to receive it through the mail, you have the right to designate someone to pick it up for you. Only that person designated on your application may pick up and deliver your ballot.

    If you are permanently ill or disabled, you have the right to receive an Absentee Ballot for each subsequent election without further application. Simply file an application with your county board of elections indicating permanent illness or physical disability.

    You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is canceled.

Accessible Absentee Ballot Application

If you are visually impaired or otherwise have a disability such that your disability requires you to use a special accessible absentee ballot that can be read by a screen reader, you have two accessible options to request such a ballot on this page, either using the Accessible Electronic Ballot Application or Application Portal linked below:

If you cannot affirm that you are visually impaired or otherwise disabled you must request a regular absentee ballot using the regular application or portal linked above.

When is it due?

You must apply online, postmark, email or fax a completed application or letter request for the General Election Absentee ballot no later than 7 days (October 27, 2020) before the election. You may apply in-person up to the day before the election (November 2, 2020). You may file an application at any time before the deadlines, but ballots will be mailed out beginning on or about September 18, 2020. (PLEASE BE AWARE THAT DESPITE THE ABOVE DEADLINES THE POST OFFICE HAS ADVISED THAT THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE TIMELY DELIVERY OF BALLOTS APPLIED FOR LESS THAN 15 DAYS BEFORE AN ELECTION.)

How to Cast an Absentee Ballot

  • Once your receive the ballot, mark the ballot according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot
  • Once you have completed marking your ballot fold it up and place it in the Security Envelope. (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
  • Sign and date the outside of the Security Envelope.
  • Seal the Security Envelope.
  • Place the Security Envelope in the Return Envelope. (This envelope will have the return address of your county Board of Elections on the outside and should have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail”)
  • Seal the Return Envelope.
  • You may return the ballot in any of the following ways:
    1. Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 3rd.
    2. Bringing it to the County Board of Elections Office no later than November 3rd by 9pm.
    3. Bringing it to an early voting poll site between October 24th and November 1st
    4. Bringing it to a poll site on November 3rd by 9pm.

Mail Time Considerations When Returning an Absentee Ballot

When mailing your completed ballot, the USPS recommends that voters allow enough time for ballots to be returned to the Board, which is generally seven days ahead of the general election. New York State requires your ballot to be both postmarked by November 3, 2020 and received by our Board by November 10, 2020. Voters who mail in their ballots on Election Day must be aware of the posted collection times on collection boxes and at the Postal Service’s retail facilities, and that ballots entered after the last posted collection time will not be postmarked until the following business day.

You Can Still Vote in Person if You Request an Absentee Ballot

Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.

Absentee Cures

There are certain errors or problems that can occur when a voter completes an absentee ballot envelope. Many of these errors or problems are curable by means of filing a cure statement with your board of elections. If your ballot envelope has a curable defect, you will receive a notice from the board of elections. The cure process is described here (pdf 141KB).