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Election News

November 2, 2020

2020 General Election: Know Your Voting Rights

General Election – November 3, 2020


Voting on Election Day

Polls will be open from 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

In order to vote in the general election on November 3, you must have already fulfilled one requirement:

  • Have already registered to vote in New York by October 14, 2020.

To verify your voter registration status or to find your polling place, please go to this page to find useful links. 

  • You may also find your polling place here.

  • You may also call 1-866-VOTE-NYC to find your polling place or check your registration status

  • If you do not know your New York county, a map can be found here.

    • For New York City boroughs:

      • Manhattan – New York County

      • Brooklyn – Kings County

      • Staten Island – Richmond County

      • Queens – Queens County

      • Bronx – Bronx County

For information about what will be on your ballot, please use the tool on our home page. The following races will be on the ballot:

  • President

  • Congress

  • Queens Borough President

  • State Senate

  • State Assembly

  • NYC Council District 37

  • NYS Supreme Court

  • NYC Civil Courts


Know your Rights on Election Day


If you requested an absentee ballot but would like to vote in person

  • You can vote in person at your assigned polling place regardless of whether you’ve requested and received your absentee ballot and even if you already returned it. This is because before any absentee ballot is counted, a bi-partisan team of CBOE staff in a transparent process with representatives of candidates, political parties, and the press present, determine whether the ballot meets the requirements of NYS Election Law. One of the first things they check is whether the person voted in person. If so, the absentee ballot is put aside and not counted.

If you do not have an ID 

  • New York does not require voters to show identification when voting, except in one circumstance.  If you are voting for the first time, and you did not register to vote in-person (i.e., you registered online or via mail), you may be asked to show ID the first time you vote only.  You may use the following as ID: driver’s license or other government-issued identification card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address.


If a poll worker says your name is not on the list of registered voters

  • Your rights

    • Voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if they aren’t in the poll book.

    • After Election Day, election officials must investigate whether you are qualified to vote and registered. If you are qualified and registered, they will count your provisional ballot.

  • What to do

    • Ask the poll worker to double check for your name on the list of registered voters. Make sure to spell your name out for the poll worker.

    • If your name is not on the list, ask if there is a supplemental list of voters.

    • If the poll worker still cannot find your name, confirm that you are at the correct polling place:

    • Request that the poll workers check a statewide system (if one is available) to see if you are registered to vote at a different polling place.

    • If the poll worker does not have access to a statewide system, ask them to call the main election office.

    • If you are registered at a different location, in most instances you will have to travel to that location to cast a regular ballot.

    • If the poll worker still cannot find your name or if you cannot travel to the correct polling place, ask for a provisional ballot.

  • For more help:

    • Call the NYCLU’s Voting Team at (212) 607-3300, or the Election Protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.

  • The bottom line is: if you are at a polling site and believe you are eligible to vote, don’t leave the polling place without voting, knowing which polling place to go to, or casting a provisional ballot.


If you or someone you know feels more comfortable voting in a language other than English

If you or someone you know needs assistance marking their ballot

  • You can bring someone to assist you, you can request assistance from the poll workers, or you can use a Ballot Marking Device (“BMD”) to mark your ballot at the polling site. However, anyone who assists you cannot be your employer nor your union representative.

  • A Ballot Marking Device, also known as a BMD, is a device that can assist you in marking your paper ballot and designed to provide privacy and accessibility to voters at their polling site.

If you experience or see voter intimidation 

  • Federal law prohibits voter intimidation. This includes:

    • Disrupting voting lines;

    • Blocking the entrance to polling places;

    • Confronting voters while wearing military-style or official-looking uniforms;

    • Spreading false information about voter fraud or voting requirements;

    • Harassing voters or aggressively questioning them about their qualifications to vote.

  • If you experience or see voter intimidation:

    • If you fear imminent violence, call 9-1-1. 

    • Notify your local election official at your polling place. 

    • Document what you saw or experienced: what happened, where, and when, and whether any voters were deterred from voting. 

    • Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). Assistance is also available in Spanish at 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888- 839-8682), in Arabic at 844-YALLA-US (844-915-5187), and Asian languages at 888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683). A video American Sign Language line is available at 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683). 

  • For more information, please see this website from Georgetown Law with state-by-state information on voter intimidation and related laws.

Absentee Voting

Absentee voting: The deadline to request an absentee ballot has passed, but if you have one and would like to use it to vote, please keep in mind the following deadlines:

  • At this time we encourage you to drop your ballot off in person (you do not need to wait in line to drop it off, see below) rather than mailing it. If you do need to mail your ballot, the deadline to postmark it is Tuesday, November 3, 2020; it must be received no later than Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

  • Remember that you can drop off your ballot at any early voting site (find your early voting site here and remember, you can walk to the front of the line to drop it off), at any Board of Elections office no later than 9:00 P.M. on November 3, 2020, or at your Election Day polling site (find your Election Day polling place here) on Election Day, November 6, 2020.


Covid-19 and Voting

Polling centers will have safety precautions in place to ensure that voting is as safe as possible, no matter what the COVID rates are in your community. Take the following steps to protect yourself and others on Election Day:

  • Wear a face covering. Face coverings are required to enter all polling sites. Protect those around you and wear a face covering correctly (over your nose and mouth).  

  • Practice physical distancing. Polling sites will be set up to enforce social distancing. Follow instructions and stay at least 6 feet away from others while at your polling site.

  • Practice healthy hand hygiene. Polling sites will provide hand sanitizer, and you can also bring your own. Use hand sanitizer before and after touching any shared surfaces and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you get home. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.


If you have questions about voting in next week’s general election or are having trouble finding information, please contact our Program Assistant Seth Borden at