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Election News

August 27, 2020

Absentee Ballot and Early Voting FAQ – 2020 General Election

Protect your health, and the health of our democracy with expanded access to vote-by-mail in the upcoming 2020 General Election.

In response to these unprecedented circumstances, has partnered with the Mayor’s DemocracyNYC Initiative and the NYC Votes/Campaign Finance Board, who have convened a consortium of community-based organizations, good government groups, and advocates to get the word out about voting safely to the hardest-hit communities. Together, we developed a FAQ for the upcoming General Election on November 3, 2020:

This Fall, all New York Voters can vote by mail due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus. You must request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. We recommend requesting your ballot and mailing it back as soon as possible.

There are several ways to request an absentee ballot:

Print-at-Home Absentee Ballot Request Forms:

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What reason should I select on my ballot request form?
You can choose “Temporary illness or disability,” which includes the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Am I still eligible to vote in person if I request a ballot?
Yes! You can still vote early in person (October 24th-November 1st) or on Election Day if you request a ballot. Your early voting site may be different from your normal poll site, so make sure to check before you go. You can check your poll sites here:

If I voted by mail during the June primaries, do I still need to request a ballot?
Yes, unless you are already on the permanent absentee voter list due to a long-term disability or illness.

When will absentee ballots be mailed?
The Board of Elections will mail ballots to voters who request them on a rolling basis beginning on September 18, 2020.

I’m worried about the mail. Can I drop off my ballot after I receive it?
Yes! You can drop off your ballot at your early voting or Election Day poll site, or at your local Board of Elections office.

I am currently living abroad. Can I vote by mail?
Yes! You can find more information from the Federal Voting Assistance Program at

If you can, we encourage you to vote early or vote by mail to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep lines as small as possible on Election Day.

Guide to the Absentee Ballot Request Form

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You must submit your completed absentee ballot request to your borough’s Board of Elections by October 27, but we encourage you to request your ballot as soon as possible. Mailing addresses are on page 2 of the request form above.

You can also vote by absentee ballot if you are a registered voter and cannot make it to your polling site on Election Day because of your:

  • occupation,
  • business,
  • studies,
  • travel,
  • imprisonment (other than a convicted felon), or
  • illness, disability, hospitalization or residence in a long-term care facility.

There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot: by mail or in-person.

If you know you will need to vote by absentee ballot, you can download, complete, and submit an absentee ballot application to the BOE office in your borough at least seven days before the election.

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The BOE will mail you a ballot, which you will need to fill out and mail to your local BOE office no later than the day of the election; the BOE must receive it no later than seven days after the election.

You can also hand deliver your absentee ballot application to the BOE office in your borough (no later than the day before the election) and receive your absentee ballot immediately.

In-person absentee voting begins as soon as the ballots are available (at least 32 days before an election) and ends on Election Day. You may vote absentee at the BOE office in your borough Monday through Friday and on the weekend prior to Election Day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Election Day.

If the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail has passed and you cannot appear at your poll site on Election Day because of an accident or sudden illness, you may send a representative to your borough office with a written letter of authorization to receive an absentee ballot on your behalf. A completed application and your completed ballot must be returned to the BOE office in your borough by 9:00 p.m. on Election Day.

If you are permanently ill or disabled and cannot get to your poll site, you can vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis by getting on the New York City Board of Elections permanent absentee ballot list. Check the box marked “permanent illness or physical disability” of the absentee ballot application, and the BOE will automatically send you an absentee ballot application for each election for which you qualify to vote.

Note: Some poll sites are accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities. Voters can find out if their poll sites are accessible for the disabled by calling the voter hotline. Disabled voters whose poll sites are not accessible can request to vote at the nearest poll site in their district that is accessible.